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Acanthosaura murphyi NGUYEN, DO, HOANG, NGUYEN, MCCORMACK, NGUYEN, ORLOV, NGUYEN & NGUYEN, 2018

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAcanthosaura murphyi NGUYEN, DO, HOANG, NGUYEN, MCCORMACK, NGUYEN, ORLOV, NGUYEN & NGUYEN 2018 
DistributionVietnam (Khanh Hoa)

Type locality: Hon Ba NR, Khanh Hoa Province (ca. 12°07.308’ N 108°57.896’ E, 1061 m a.s.l.)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. ITBCZ 3533, adult male collected on 31 March 2016 by Luan T. Nguyen, Sang N. Nguyen, and Vu D. H. Nguyen. Paratypes. Nine specimens: ITBCZ 4636, subadult male, collected on 31 January 2016 (ca. 12°51.174’ N 109°15.090’ E, 420 m a.s.l.) from Ca forest, Hoa Thinh Commune, Tay Hoa District, Phu Yen Province, Vietnam by Ha V. Hoang, Luan T. Nguyen, and Thang T. Nguyen. PYU 147, PYU 149, 2 adult males, and PYU 148, adult female, collected on 27 March 2015 (ca. 12.869° N 109.23647°E, 250 m a.s.l.); IEBR A.2018.4 (PYU 223), adult male, and IEBR A.2018.5-6 (PYU 224-225), 2 subadult females, collected on 15 April 2015 (ca. 12.85511° N 109.22086° E, 350 m a.s.l.); and PYU 442 adult male, collected on 14 July 2015 (ca. 12.88808° N 109.21483° E, 600 m a.s.l.) from Ca forest, Hoa Thinh Commune, Tay Hoa District, Phu Yen Province, Vietnam by Dang T. Do. ITBCZ 3532, subadult female, collected on 30 March 2016 (ca. 12°06.662’ N 108°58.255’ E, 867 m a.s.l.) by Luan T. Nguyen, Sang N. Nguyen, and Vu D. H. Nguyen. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large-sized species of the genus Acanthosaura (SVL = 103.7 – 127.3 mm in 5 adult males, 123.0 mm in 1 adult female). Tail much longer than body (TaLGSVL = 1.48 – 1.56 in both adult males and the female). Cylindrical spine above posterior margin of eye present; spine on occiput between tympanum and nuchal crest absent; tympanum oval, large, scale on tympanum present; gular pouch developed in males and females; 2 scale rows between rostral scute and nostril; small slightly keeled scales on flank randomly intermixed with keeled medium and large scales; nuchal crests strongly developed; dorsal crests developed and separated from nuchal crest by a diastema, continuous till tail and decreasing in size. Coloration in life ranges from gray in adult to brown or emerald green in subadult, ventral skin brown to whitish gray. Tail brown or greenish, light bands indistinct.

Comparisons. By lacking a spine on the occiput between the tympanum and nuchal crest, Acanthosaura murphyi sp. nov. is distinctly distinguished from A. armata, A. bintangensis, A. brachypoda, A. cardamomensis, A. coronata, A. crucigera, A. lepidogaster, A. phuketensis, and A. titiwangsaensis.
The new species most resembles A. capra and A. nataliae due to the absence of spine on the occiput between the tympanum and nuchal crest, but it can be separated from both species by the following morphological characters:
Acanthosaura murphyi sp. nov. can be easy separated from A. capra by having (1) small weakly keeled scales intermixed with large keeled scales on the lateral and dorsal surface of the body (scales on the dorsal and side relatively uniform in A. capra) and (2) more scale rows between the nasal and the rostral (2, N = 12 vs. 1, N = 2, our data) (Fig. 5). In addition, the new species differs from A. capra by having a relative longer tail in males (max 195 mm, TALGSVL 1.48 – 1.54; mean 1.52 ± 0.02, N=4vs.max175mm,TALGSVL1.29–1.46N=4,Orlov et al., 2005) and females (TALGSVL = 1.50 – 1.56 [N=4] vs. 1.33–1.48 [N=2, our data] and 1.19–1.34 [N = 4, Orlov et al., 2005]); a longer maximum length of spine on dorsal crest in males (7.0 – 14.9 mm, mean 11.0±2.9 [N=4] vs. 4.2–10mm, median 9.1, N=3, Orlov et al., 2005); a shorter maximum length of postorbital spine in males (PS 5.7 – 11.8 mm, mean 7.7 ± 2.6; PSGHL0.16–0.34[N=4]vs.5.2–9.6mm,median8 [N = 4, Orlov et al., 2005]) and females (PSGHL 0.15 – 0.16[N=2,ourdata]vs.PSGHL0.27–0.29[N=2,our data]); a shorter diastema distance between dorsal and nuchal crest in males (2.6 – 4.8 mm, mean 3.7 ± 1.0 [N = =4,our data] vs. 2–6.7mm, median 4.3 [N=4,Orlov et al., 2005]); fewer scales from the firth canthal to the firth supralabial in females (7 – 9 vs. 10 – 14 [N = 2, our data]); and more scales between nasal and rostral in males and females (3–4, N=12 vs. 2 N=2, our data) (Tables 4 and 5).
Acanthosaura murphyi sp. nov. is similar to A. nataliae by having small weakly keeled scales intermixed with large keeled scales on the lateral and dorsal surface of body but it can be separated from A. nataliae by having a shorter body length in males (SVL 103.7– 127.3 mm, mean 119.0 ± 9.9 vs. 127.0 – 135.0 mm, mean131.0±5.7,N=5,and115–153.8mm,132.2± ± 14.6, N = 12, Orlov et al., 2005) and female (SVL 123.0 mm vs. 117.5 – 135.4 mm, mean 126.4 ± 9.9 [N = = 2, our data], and 106.7 – 158 mm, 137.7 ± 10.5 [N = = 17, Ovlov et al., 2005]); a shorter tail length (159.3 – 195.8 mm, mean 180.6 ± 15.3, TaLGSVL 1.48 – 1.54 vs. 127.0 – 135.0 mm, mean 131.0 ± 5.7, TaLGSVL 2.00 – 2.12 [N = 5, our data] and 171 – 277 mm, mean 247.2 ± ± 24.7, TaLGSVL 1.63 – 1.92 [N = 17, Orlov et al., 2005]); a shorter maximum length of postorbital spine length in males (5.7 – 11.8 mm, mean 7.7 ± 2.6, PSGHL 0.16 – 0.34 vs. 14.0 – 15.9 mm, mean 15.0 ± 1.3, PSGHL 0.39 – 0.42, mean 0.40 ± 0.02 [N = 5, our data] and 7.8 – 17.8 mm, mean 13.7 ± 2.39 [N = 17, Orlov et al., 2005]) and females (PSGHL 7.8 – 17.8 [N = 4] vs. 0.24 – 0.32 [N = 2, our data]); a shorter maximum length of nuchal crest spine in males (7.0 – 14.9 mm, 11.0 ± 2.9, NSLGHL 0.24 – 0.43 [N = 5] vs. 19.9 – 22.9 mm, mean 21.4 ± 2.1, NSLGHL 0.55 – 0.60 [N = 2, our data] and 11.5 – 23.8 mm, mean 19.2 ± 4.2 [N = 17, Orlov et al., 2005]); a shorter diastema distance between nuchal and dorsal crest in males (2.6 – 4.8 mm, mean 3.7 ± 1.0 vs. 4.8 – 7.3mm, mean 6.1±1.8 [N=2,our data] and 2.5– 8.1 mm, mean 4.7 ± 1.1 [N = 17, Orlov et al., 2005]) with fewer scales on diastema (4 – 8, mean 6.2 ± 1.8 [N = 5] vs. 8 – 14, 11.0 ± 4.2 [N = 2, our data]); fewer subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe in males (21–23, mean 22.2±0.8 [N=5] vs. 25.0–26.0, mean 25.5±0.7 [N= =2,our data] and 20–27, 24.9±1.4 [N=17, Orlov et al., 2005]). The new species also differs from A. nataliae by having more spine on the nuchal crest (8 – 9 [N = = 12] vs. 5 – 6 [N = 4, our data]); more scales between the nasal and the rostral (3 – 4 [N = 12] vs. 1 – 2 [N = 4, our data]); and more scale rows between the nasals and the rostrals (2 [N = 12] vs. 1 [N = 4, our data]). In addition, A. murphyi sp. nov. has indistinct light bands on the tail (formed from 1 – 2 scale rows) compared to light bands on the tail distinct (formed from 4 – 7 scale rows) in both males and females in A. nataliae (Fig. 5, Tables 4 and 5).
In summary, some key characters can be used to distinguish the three species in the A. capra species complex from each other include (1) scalation on the dorsal and lateral side (small slightly keeled scales on the flank randomly intermixed with keeled medium and large scales in A. nataliae and A. murphyi sp. nov. vs. almost uniform in size in A. capra), (2) number of scale rows between the nasal and the rostral (2 in the new species vs. 1 in A. capra and A. nataliae), (3) number of scales between the nasal and the rostral (2 – 4 in the new species vs. 1 – 2 in A. capra and A. nataliae), and (4) light bands on the tail (distinct in A. nataliae vs. indistinct in A. capra and A. murphyi sp. nov., also see photos of A. capra and A. nataliae in Orlov et al., 2005).
In terms of genetic divergence, the new species is distinct from both A. capra and A. nataliae by substantial p-distances in COI (p = 6.5 and 23.4%, respectively). 
CommentHabitat: The holotype was found at 20:40 while sleeping on a small tree, approximately 1.5 m above the ground, in an evergreen forest nearby the road to the top of Mount Hon Ba. The paratypes were found between 19:00 and 23:00 while sleeping on small trees and shrubs, 1 – 2 m above the ground in evergreen forest at elevations between 84 and 1061 m a.s.l.

Conservation: The new species is highly threatened with extinction due to intensive local hunting for both international and domestic trade. Further, the habitat of the new species in Phu Yen Province is degraded by activities of local people as well as logging and Acacia plantations. 
EtymologyThe specific name is a patronym honoring Robert W. Murphy, Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto, Canada, who contributed many studies on herpetofauna in Vietnam since the 1990s. 
References
  • Nguyen, Luan Thanh;Dang Trong Do,Ha Van Hoang,Thang Tai Nguyen,Timothy E. M. McCormack,Truong Quang Nguyen,Nikolai L. Orlov,Vu Dang Hoang Nguyen, Sang Ngoc Nguyen 2018. A New Species of the Genus Acanthosaura Gray, 1831 (Reptilia: Agamidae) from Central Vietnam Russ. J. Herpetol. 25 (4): 259-274 - get paper here
 
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