Wednesday, May 24, 2023

[Herpetology • 2023] Hemidactylus pakkamalaiensis • A New Species of Rock-dwelling Hemidactylus Goldfuss, 1820 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the southern Eastern Ghats, India

Hemidactylus pakkamalaiensis  Narayanan, Christopher, Raman, Mukherjee, Vimalraj & Deepak,

in Narayanan, Christopher, Raman, Mukherjee, Prabhu, Lenin, Vimalraj & Deepak, 2023
Pakkamalai Rock Gecko | பாக்கமைல பாைறப்பல்லி 
A new large-bodied (SVL 101–109 mm) gecko of the genus Hemidactylus is described from the Gingee Hills in the Eastern Ghats of India. The new species is closely related to H. graniticolus and the recently described H. easai, from which it can be distinguished by its lower femoral pores count. The new species described here was previously identified as H. cf. graniticolus based only on the molecular data, pending its formal description. Our findings were consistent with the results from the molecular DNA analyses, showing that this population is morphologically distinct from other closely related species. As a result, we formally describe this lineage as a new species, providing a comprehensive description of its morphological characteristics based on a type series of five specimens and compare it with its congenerics.

Keywords: Femoral pores, gecko, Gingee, ND2 phylogeny, species complex, taxonomy

Hemidactylus pakkamalaiensis sp. nov. in life from Pakkamalai Hill, Tamil Nadu, India. 
Dorsolateral view of the A holotype (BNHS 2907) and B one of the paratypes (BNHS 2911).

Hemidactylus pakkamalaiensis 
Narayanan, Christopher, Raman, Mukherjee, Vimalraj, Deepak, sp. nov.

Diagnosis: A large-sized gecko of the genus Hemidactylus, snout–vent length up to a maximum SVL of 109 mm (n = 5). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, composed of roughly circular, granular scales intermixed with much enlarged, fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of 19–22 striated subtrihedral tubercles at midbody. Enlarged tubercles on the two most medial parasagittal rows are small, subconical, strongly keeled and rounded, gradually increasing in size and becoming conical towards flanks, last two to three rows on flanks smaller, conical. Two well-developed pairs of postmentals, the inner pair longer than the outer pair and mental, and in broad contact behind the mental. Paravertebral rows with 21–24 tubercles; 34–38 transverse ventral scale rows at mid-body. Digits with enlarged scansors, lamellae in straight transverse series; two or three undivided basal lamellae beneath first finger and two or three beneath first toe; one or two undivided basal lamellae beneath fourth toe; ten or 11 lamellae (including undivided and divided) beneath first finger and nine or ten beneath first toe; 12 or 13 lamellae (including undivided and divided) beneath fourth finger and 12–14 beneath fourth toe; males with series of 19–21 femoral pores on each side separated by four or five pore-less scales. Original tail depressed, oval in transverse section with a median dorsal furrow; scales on the tail slightly larger than dorsals, striated, with longitudinal series of 4–8 large, keeled, striated, posteriorly pointed tubercles. Dorsal colouration dull-brown with a series of four or five transverse pale saddles from occiput to sacrum, tail with distinct alternating light and dark bands.
Etymology: The specific epithet is a toponym named after its type locality Pakkamalai Hill. We suggest an English name Pakkamalai Rock Gecko and a Tamil name பாக்கமைல பாைறப்பல்லி.

Habitat at the type locality (Pakkamalai Hill, Tamil Nadu, India) of Hemidactylus pakkamalaiensis sp. nov.

 Surya Narayanan, Peter Christopher, Kothandapani Raman, Nilanjan Mukherjee, Ponmudi Prabhu, Maniezhilan Lenin, Sivangnanaboopathidoss Vimalraj and V. Deepak. 2023. A New Species of Rock-dwelling Hemidactylus Goldfuss, 1820 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the southern Eastern Ghats, India. Vertebrate Zoology. 73: 499-512. DOI: 10.3897/vz.73.e104494