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Ancylodactylus alantika (BAUER, CHIRIO, INEICH & LEBRETON, 2006)

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis alantika BAUER, CHIRIO, INEICH & LEBRETON 2006
Ancylodactylus alantika — MALONZA & BAUER 2022 
DistributionN Cameroon (North Province, Monts Alantika)

Type locality: Cameroon, North Province, Monts Alantika, 8°36’18’’N, 12°36’47’’E, elevation 1650 m  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 2006.0296 (by original designation), adult male; paratypes: MNHN-RA 2003.1100, MNHN-RA 2006.0295 and MNHN-RA 2006.0297 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderate-sized Cnemaspis (to at least 47.5 mm SVL), C. alantika may be distinguished from all other African congeners by the following combination of features: phalangeal number in digit IV of the manus and pes reduced (four instead of five); no enlarged metatarsal scale; a single, enlarged scale beneath the penultimate interphalangeal joint of all digits; 10–12 rows of conical to weakly keeled dorsal tubercles in regular rows; a single small tubercle on side of neck, no tubercles on crown or beneath ear (Figs. 2–3); precloacal pores in a single row of 11 (based on two male specimens); each tail segment with a transverse row of six enlarged, partially erect, keeled tubercles; three cloacal spurs on each side of tail base. Cnemaspis alantika may be easily distinguished from most other West African con- geners by the presence of a single enlarged scale beneath the penultimate interphalangeal joint of digit IV of pes (Fig. 4; vs. 2–7 enlarged scales beneath the penultimate interphalangeal joint and proximal phalanges of digit IV of pes; in Cnemaspis dilepis: 2, C. koehleri: 4–7, C. gigas: 4–6, and Cnemaspis occidentalis: 3). It shares this digital condition with Cnemaspis petrodroma and C. spinicollis. It may be distinguished from the former species by its smaller size (maximum SVL 47.5 vs. 64 mm; Perret 1986), larger, more well-developed dorsal trunk and caudal tubercles, multiple precloacal spurs (vs. a single spur on each side of tail base), absence of an enlarged, flattened preaxial metatarsal scale, and more diffuse dorsal pattern (compare photo of C. petrodroma, Perret, 1986:fig. 25 top). Cnemaspis alantika is most similar to C. spinicollis, with which it shares most features of scalation. It may be differentiated from this species by its absence of tubercles on the crown and beneath the ear (vs. scattered occipital and crown tubercles and one to three tubercles at the ventral margin of the ear opening), larger, more erect, regularly aligned trunk and caudal tubercles, lower number of ventral scale rows (24 vs. 26–28), higher average number of precloacal pores (11 vs. typically 8–10, exceptionally 6–7 or 11; Perret, 1986); and by its coloration. Cnemaspis spinicollis is typically relatively darkly colored, with pale dorsal markings often coalescing, sometimes forming a vertebral stripe, whereas C. alantika is much paler in overall coloration, with little contrast between background color and whitish dorsal markings, and these markings are separated from one another. In the latter species the throat markings are also much less bold than in the former (Fig. 5). Cnemaspis alantika also lacks an enlarged, flattened preaxial metatarsal scale, which is present in most C. spinicollis (Perret, 1986; however, this scale is not enlarged in specimens from the Takamanda area or Atolo Mountain, both in the Southwest Province of Cameroon).  
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • BAUER, AARON M.; LAURENT CHIRIO; IVAN INEICH AND MATTHEW LEBRETON 2006. New Species of Cnemaspis (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Northern Cameroon, a Neglected Biodiversity Hotspot. Journal of Herpetology 40 (4): 510-519 - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • MALONZA, P. K., & BAUER, A. M. 2022. Resurrection of the African gecko genus Ancylodactylus Müller, 1907 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) and description of six new species from Kenya. Zootaxa 5141 (2): 101-139 - get paper here
  • Perret, J. L. 1963. Les Gekkonidae du Cameroun, avec la description de deux sous—espèces nouvelles. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 70: 47—60 - get paper here
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