Thursday, June 20, 2024

[Herpetology • 2024] Cnemaspis puterisantubongae • A New sandstone-dwelling Species of Genus Cnemaspis (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Gunung Santubong National Park, southwestern Sarawak, Malaysia

Cnemaspis puterisantubongae Kurita & Nishikawa, 

in Kurita, Nishikawa, Hossman, Mizuno, Sato et Gumal, 2024
A newly discovered sandstone-dwelling species of the rock gecko, genus Cnemaspis, is described from Santubong National Park, 25 km north of Kuching, southwestern Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Molecular phylogenetic analysis confirmed that Cnemaspis puterisantubongae sp. nov. is closely related to other Cnemaspis species in southwestern Sarawak, except for C. kendallii, although these relationships remain unclear. The new species differs from closely related species in having a moderate snout–vent length of up to 66.7 mm; 10–14 precloacal pores in males; 9–14 obviously-convex precloacal pore-bearing scales in females; enlarged, smooth, flat median subcaudal scales; sharp-edged, broad black markings on the trunk dorsum; and a black–gray banding pattern on the posterior part of the original tail, with white median subcaudal scales in males. This discovery of this new species from Santubong National Park, which is highly accessible due to its proximity to Kuching, highlights the need for extensive inventory surveys throughout the national parks of Sarawak.
Borneo, Cnemaspis nigridia group, saxicolous, Puteri Santubong, PUBS, SATREPS

 The type localities of the nigridia group of the Bornean Cnemaspis (thus not shown for C. lagang and C. kendallii) and phylogenetic relationship of its members. The map is tilted 45° counterclockwise. Igneous and sedimentary bases within Sarawak were shown in light and dark gray, respectively. Support of the internal branches of the maximum likelihood tree was evaluated by ultrafast bootstrap/SH-aLRT values, and asterisks indicate those higher than 95/95. The black, brown, and gray bands under the tips of the tree indicate granite, sandstone, and limestone dwelling species, respectively.

Cnemaspis puterisantubongae sp. nov.
 The holotype (SFC-GRB-00517; temporal field number KUHE Swk23-186).
The lateral (upper), dorsal (lower left), and ventral views (lower right) were provided before fixation, with close-up pictures of some discriminant characters after fixation. The label KUHE Swk23-186 is a temporal field number.

Cnemaspis puterisantubongae sp. nov. Kurita & Nishikawa
English: Santubong rock gecko
Malay: Cicak puteri Santubong

Etymology. The generic name is feminine in gender. The specific epithet puterisantubongae is derived from Puteri (= princess) Santubong, who is one of two princesses appearing in a local myth. These princesses are said to have descended from the celestial realm to a human village; their remarkable beauty and weaving skills are represented in the species by yellow ocher body colouration, distinct bold black marks, and pale/faint yellow spots in both sexes. Santubong is also the name of the promontory for which the Santubong National Park is named.  

 The habitat (sandstone boulders) of Cnemaspis puterisantubongae sp. nov. in Santubong National Park (upper).
The microhabitat preferences of C. puterisantubongae (lower left; inner surface of boulders) and co-occurring C. kendallii (lower right; both of inner and outer surfaces) are shown, with arrows pointing the positions of geckos.

Takaki Kurita, Kanto Nishikawa, Mohamad Yazid Hossman, Takafumi Mizuno, Hirotoshi Sato, Melvin Gumal. 2024. Description of A New sandstone-dwelling Species of Genus Cnemaspis (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Gunung Santubong National Park, southwestern Sarawak, Malaysia.  Zootaxa. 5468(2); 361-378. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.5468.2.7