Monday, November 7, 2022

[Herpetology • 2022] Kolekanos spinicaudus • A New Species of Feather-tailed Leaf-toed Gecko, Kolekanos (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the poorly explored Savannah of western Angola

 Kolekanos spinicaudus
 Lobón-Rovira, Conradie, Baptista & Vaz Pinto, 2022

We here describe a new species of feather-tailed leaf-toed gecko, Kolekanos, from southern Benguela Province, Angola, based on morphological and osteological evidence, supported by phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial data. The new species adds to the rapidly growing and newly-recognised endemic biodiversity of Angola, doubling the number of Kolekanos species, breaking the pattern observed within other closely-related African members of a clade of circum-Indian Ocean leaf-toed geckos – Ramigekko, Cryptactites and Afrogecko – all of which are presently monotypic. The new species is easily distinguished from K. plumicaudus, based on spine-like (as opposed to feather-like) scales on the margins of the original tail. Phylogenetic analyses also recovered the new taxon as monophyletic, with a well-supported sister relationship to K. plumicaudus, from which it differs by a substantial 24.1% NADH-dehydrogenase subunit 2 mitochondrial gene uncorrected p-distance.

Keywords: Biodiversity, ct-scan, herpetology, osteology, Reptilia, taxonomy

A dorsal view in life of  Kolekanos spinicaudus sp. nov. from Carivo
and B K. plumicaudus from Omahua.
Photos Javier Lobón-Rovira.

 Kolekanos spinicaudus sp. nov.

Diagnosis: Kolekanos can be easily differentiated from other circum-Indian leaf-toed and African leaf-toed geckos, based on its ornamented tail (versus non-ornamented tail in the remaining genera). The new species differs from K. plumicaudus, based on the following characters: different ornamentation of the tail, being composed by modified scales on the margins of the original tail which resemble white lateral spines (versus feathered-like tail in K. plumicaudus); broader head (minimum HW = 7.95 mm versus maximum HW = 7.35 mm in K. plumicaudus); more robust body, with shorter forelimbs (versus thinner and more slender body in K. plumicaudus, Fig. 5); proportionally larger snout to eye distance (SE mean 4.48 mm ± 0.34 s.e. versus 3.99 mm ± 0.22 s.e. in K. plumicaudus) and interorbital distance (IO mean 4.14 mm ± 0.34 s.e. versus 3.33 mm ± 0.28 s.e. in K. plumicaudus); and dorsal pattern is less contrasted, based on zig-zag black patches surrounded by lighter patches (versus dark blocks well contrasted, not surrounded by lighter patches in K. plumicaudus). The new species can also be differentiated from K. plumicaudus by the following osteological characteristics: 1) larger jugal bone (versus reduced jugal); 2) more prominent lateral process of the postorbitofrontal (versus less prominent lateral process of postorbitofrontal); 3) more compressed premaxilla and maxilla bone on its dorsoventral profile and wider in the lateral profile of the bones; 4) ascending process of the premaxilla shorter (versus more elongated); 5) braincase compressed dorsoventrally (versus more rounded in K. plumicaudus); 6) palatine length and width equal (versus unequal); 7) postero-lateral process of parietal rounded and slightly curved (versus flat postero-lateral process of parietal broad and flat that curves downwards posteriorly); 8) anterolateral process of the coronoid markedly enlarged (versus more reduced anterolateral process). Kolekanos spinicaudus sp. nov. also differs from K. plumicaudus by circa 24% (uncorrected p-distance) ND2 mitochondrial DNA.

Etymology: The name “spinicaudus” is derived from the combination of the Latin words “spina” and “cauda”, that refers to the spiny appearance of the tail of the new species. The species epithet is used as a singular nominative adjective “-us”.

Javier Lobón-Rovira, Werner Conradie, Ninda L. Baptista and Pedro Vaz Pinto. 2022. A New Species of Feather-tailed Leaf-toed Gecko, Kolekanos Heinicke, Daza, Greenbaum, Jackman, Bauer, 2014 (Squamata, Gekkonidae) from the poorly explored Savannah of western Angola. ZooKeys. 1127: 91-116. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.1127.84942