Saturday, August 20, 2022

[Herpetology • 2022] Cyrtodactylus aravindi • A New Species of Cyrtodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from the southern Western Ghats of India


Cyrtodactylus aravindi  
Narayanan, Das, Balan, Tom, Divakar, Kp, Hopeland & Deepak, 2022

A new species of Cyrtodactylus is described from the southern Western Ghats of India. It is distinguished from all species of the ­Cyrtodactylus collegalensis species complex in colour pattern and resembles the Srilankan endemic C. yakhuna in overall colouration. Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial ND2 DNA sequences indicates that the new species is most closely related to species in the C. collegalensis complex and differs from them by an uncorrected pairwise genetic distance of 10.5–12.9%.

Keywords: Colour pattern, Cyrtodactylus, phylogeny, Tamil Nadu, Western Ghats

Live images of Cyrtodactylus aravindi sp. nov.
A Holotype (ZSI-R 28275), B Paratype (ZSI-R 28280),
C uncollected juvenile female from the type locality.

Cyrtodactylus aravindi sp. nov.

Diagnosis: A small-sized Cyrtodactylus, SVL less than 45 mm (n=6); body moderately stout, limbs and digits short, slender; dorsal pholidosis on trunk homogeneous with smooth and granular scales; 16–20 dorsal midbody scale rows across trunk contained within one eye diameter; 33–36 ventral scales across belly; precloacal groove, enlarged precloacal and femoral scales, precloacal or femoral pores absent in both the sexes. Tail without a series of enlarged median subcaudal scales. Subdigital scansors smooth, entire (except one or two on some digits divided), unnotched; 5 or 7 basal 7 or 8 distal on digit IV of the manus. Dorsal pattern with a single thick band medially between the fore and hind limb insertions and a single moderatly sized spot posterior to the band. Post-occipital collar complete extending from the posterior margin of one orbit to the other, no regular spots on the flanks. Venter tan brown with irregular dark mottling.

Etymology: The specific epithet is a patronym honouring Dr N. A. Aravind, Senior Fellow at ATREE, Bengaluru, India for his support towards herpetological research. Aravind is a malacologist who has also contributed to amphibian systematics and his lab support has been instrumental in our research for the past few years. We suggest a common name for the new species as Aravind’s ground gecko.

  Surya Narayanan, Sandeep Das, Amirtha Balan, Roshin Tom, Nitin Divakar, Rajkumar Kp, P. Hopeland and V. Deepak. 2022. A New Species of Cyrtodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from the southern Western Ghats of India.  Vertebrate Zoology. 72: 729-743.  DOI: 10.3897/vz.72.e89660