Asaccus margaritae CARRANZA, SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, JAYASINGHE, WILMS & ELS, 2016
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|Higher Taxa||Phyllodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Margarita’s Leaf-toed Gecko|
|Synonym||Asaccus margaritae CARRANZA, SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, JAYASINGHE, WILMS & ELS 2016|
|Distribution||United Arab Emirates (Wadi Al Helo), Oman|
Type locality: Wadi Al Helo (UAE), 25.00768° N 56.21518° E WGS84, elevation 373 m elevation
|Types||Holotype: BMNH 2008.989, adult male, collected by J. Els, S. Jayasinghe, S. Carranza and M. Metallinou on the 24th of April 2013 between 21:00–23:00, tissue code CN3966. Paratypes. BMNH2008.988 and ONHM4222, two females and IBECN9012, IBECN9023 and IBECN8708, three adult males, all five specimens with same data as Holotype, tissue codes CN3967, CN3908, CN9012, CN9023 and CN8708, respectively; IBECN10419, IBECN10420, IBECN10421, three adult males and IBECN10422, an adult female, all four specimens from Wadi Al Helo (UAE), 25,006861N 56,215556E WGS84, elevation 374 m a.s.l., collected by J. Els, S. Jayasinghe and T. Wilms on the 27th of July 2010 between 21:30–23.00, tissue codes TW1017, TW1031, TW1032 and TW1033, respectively.|
Other material examined. Sixteen specimens used only for genetic analyses (no voucher available, juvenile or damaged specimens) and three specimens used for genetic and morphological analyses; all listed in Table S1 in Carranza et al. 2016.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A new species of Asaccus from Oman and UAE characterized by the combination of the following characters: (1) medium size (up to 58.7 mm from snout to vent); (2) relatively short limbs; (3) two pairs of postmentals, first in contact; (4) scales across supraorbital region fine with sparse scattered pointed tubercles; (5) keeled trihedral moderate-sized dorsal tubercles (12-16 longitudinal rows at mid-body); (6) large pointed tubercles on occiput, neck and sides of head; (7) keeled tubercles present on forearms and hind limbs but absent on upper arms; (8) paired terminal scansors on digits extending well beyond claws; (9) cloacal tubercles small; (10) subcaudal series of expanded scales reaching vent area anteriorly; (11) tail tip laterally compressed and feebly vertically expanded (Fig. 4C); (12) dorsum with a pattern of approximately 5 orange-brown transverse bars (one on neck, three on body and one on sacrum; Fig. 4C); (13) tail colour not sexually dimorphic; (14) adults with whitish-ivory tails (whiter distally) with 5–7 wide orange-dark crossbands (last 2–3 crossbands black and extending ventrally) (Fig. 4C); (15) juveniles with very conspicuous orange-coppery tails with 6–8 dark-brown crossbands not extending ventrally (Fig. 5A); (16) tail can be coiled and waved.|
Differential diagnosis. See Carranza et al. 2016: 24.
|Comment||Habitat: rocky sides of wadis, stony substrates and on larger boulders in the wadi.|
Behavior: Strictly nocturnal, all specimens were captured during the night and avoided the beam of the flashlight, running into crevices, holes and fleeing across rocks with ease but with much less agility and speed than both Asaccus gardneri sp. nov. and Asaccus caudivolvulus, both larger, with relatively thinner bodies and longer limbs, adapted for high speed climbing, jumping and running.
Distribution: See map in Burriel-Carranza et al. 2019 for map in UAE.
|Etymology||The species epithet ‘‘margaritae’’ is a genitive Latin noun to honor the Greek scientist Dr. Margarita Metallinou whose career was tragically cut short by a wildlife accident while doing fieldwork in Africa on the 2nd of July 2015. This new species is a special tribute to her memory from all the authors of this manuscript, with whom she shared many unforgettable moments both in Arabia and in Barcelona. It is also a recognition of her enthusiasm, passion and dedication to herpetology and especially for her work on Arabian geckos, including the genus Asaccus (Carranza & Bauer, 2016).|
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