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Blaesodactylus victori INEICH, GLAW & VENCES, 2016

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Victor’s Madagascar Velvet gecko
French: Gecko malgache velouté de Victor 
SynonymBlaesodactylus victori INEICH, GLAW & VENCES 2016 
DistributionNW Madagascar (Mahajanga)

Type locality: Namoroka National Park, Mahajanga Province, northwestern Madagascar (16°28’7”S, 45°20’56”E, ca. 130 m above sea level),  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 2013.1038 (field number 1839 I), adult female (Fig. 2); collected by I. Ineich, on 10 September 2012 at night (21h00); Paratypes: None. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large-sized (SVL 127 mm), robust-bodied Blaesodactylus with regenerated tail (129 mm) about same length as SVL (Fig. 2). Snout elongate, gular granules small and regular (but granules touching gulars are slightly enlarged), internarial depression present (Fig. 3). 150 scale rows around midbody, no regular longitudinal rows of enlarged tubercles on dorsum but only some scattered unkeeled dorsal scales which are enlarged and nearly circular, flat and not elevated in the midbody area and slightly elevated anteriorly in the neck area and on flanks. Inside of naris deep black. Fourth digit of pes with 14 undivided subdigital lamellae. No tubercles on the whole tail, including its base, but only regular small flattened scales disposed in regular unverticillated longitudinal rows. Midventral subcaudal plates transversely enlarged, about 2/3rd width of tail. Back washed dark grey or greyish with darker vermiculation and several large, whitish, nearly circular spots (sometimes covering more than 50 dorsal scales) which are regularly placed in transverse curved rows on the back and flanks on several large opened U shapes (Fig. 2A), the open part of the U being anteriorly oriented. About 5 such U shaped assemblages of 6–8 white spots, more-or-less well-developed and regular in shape, can be seen from neck to posterior limbs. Whitish ventral regular scales larger than long, with numerous dark to greyish pale small melanin dots on about half of their anterior part all over the throat and venter.
Blaesodactylus victori sp. nov. may be differentiated from B. boivini by its lack of dorsal keeled tubercles (Fig. 4), and absence of caudal tubercles (versus presence). It differs from B. sakalava by its enlarged flattened unkeeled tubercles (versus dorsal keeled tubercles), elongated snout not rounded (Fig. 2) with internarial depression (Fig. 3) (versus convex internarial region), absence of caudal tubercles (Fig. 5) (versus keeled caudal tubercles), wider midventral subcaudal plates, black naris, and presence of dorsal whitish circular spots. It is distinguished from B. antongilensis by its black naris (versus purple reddish) and the lack of keeled elevated dorsal tubercles on back (versus up to 24 transversally at midbody) and tail. It is distinguished from B. ambonihazo by its black naris, homogeneous gular scales (except anteriormost row; Fig. 6), lack of dorsal keeled tubercle rows, absence of caudal tubercles, and wider enlarged subcaudal plates. It is moreover distinguished from B. microtuberculatus by its lower number of scale rows around midbody (150 versus 162), and lower number of fourth digit of pes lamellae (14 versus 21). 
CommentKnown only from the holotype.

Abundance: only known from the type specimen (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym honoring the memory of Ivan Ineich’s son Victor Ineich (10 November 1989–30 January 2013). Victor died tragically when 23 years old in an avalanche while climbing with his friend Camille Duhé in the French Alps (Massif du Taillefer, village of Chantelouve, Parc National des Écrins) in the course of his training to be a mountain guide. He spent several weeks in Madagascar in the area of Mahajanga (14 February to 10 March 2011) and had great times in the country. The name is a masculine substantive formed in the genitive case. 
  • Ineich, I.; FRANK GLAW, MIGUEL VENCES 2016. A new species of Blaesodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Tsingy limestone outcrops in Namoroka National Park, north-western Madagascar. Zootaxa 4109 (5): 523–541 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
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