Monday, September 12, 2022

[Herpetology • 2022] Cnemaspis umashaankeri • A New Species of rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Biligirirangan Hills of Southern India

Cnemaspis umashaankeri
Narayanan & NA, 2022

We describe a new species of small-sized (SVL 24.6–28.8 mm) rupicolous Cnemaspis from the Biligirirangan Hills (BR Hills), Karnataka based on morphology and molecular (mitochondrial 16S and ND2) data. The new species is nested within the monticolamysoriensis and gracilis clades, where it is basal to monticola and gracilis clades in the Maximum Likelihood analysis and is basal to the monticola clade in the Bayesian phylogenetic analysis.

Keywords: Endemic, gecko, molecular, morphology, taxonomy

Live images of Cnemaspis umashaankeri sp. nov.;
 A Holotype (ZSI-R-28301), B Live uncollected female.

Cnemaspis umashaankeri sp. nov.

Diagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis, SVL up to 29 mm (n=4). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; moderately keeled, granular scales in the vertebral and paravertebral region irregularly arranged, weakly keeled tubercles on each side of flank, tubercles in lowest row largest, spine-like; 6–8 rows of dorsal tubercles; ventral scales smooth, imbricate, 20 or 21 scales across the belly, 90–96 longitudinal scales from mental to cloacal opening, subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; 6–9 lamellae under digit I of manus and eight lamellae under digit I of pes, 15–17 and 12–15 lamellae under digit IV of pes and manus, respectively; males with 4 or 5 femoral pores on each thigh separated on either side by 4 or 5 poreless scales from a series of 6–8 precloacal pores; tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles forming whorls; median row of subcaudals smooth, slightly enlarged; subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched.

Etymology: The specific epithet is a patronym honouring Dr R. Uma Shaanker, Retired Professor of Plant Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore and Founder of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore. He has contributed immensely to understanding plant and animal evolution, ecology, and conservation biology.

Suggested common name: Umashaanker’s Dwarf Gecko.

 Surya Narayanan and Aravind NA. 2022. A New Species of rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Biligirirangan Hills of Southern India. Vertebrate Zoology. 72: 823-837. DOI 10.3897/vz.72.e89324