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Calotes nemoricola JERDON, 1853

IUCN Red List - Calotes nemoricola - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesNilgiri Forest Lizard 
SynonymCalotes nemoricola JERDON 1853: 471
Calotes nemoricola — BOULENGER 1885: 326
Calotes nemoricola — SMITH 1935: 199
Calotes nemoricola — WERMUTH 1967: 40
Calotes nemoricola — MANTHEY & SCHUSTER 1999: 37 
DistributionS India (Nilgiri Hills, S Western Ghats, Kerala)

Type locality: Foot of Coonoor Ghat, Nilgherries.  
TypesHolotype: ZSI 6560 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and comparison. A large sized Calotes (SVL up to 134.8 mm) characterized by the posterodorsal orientation of lateral scales; antehumeral fold absent; 36–43 midbody scale rows; nuchal crest well developed composed of long spines, dorsal crest reduced, almost indistinct behind the midbody; row of 3–4 compressed supratympanic spines; postorbital spine absent; a crescent-shaped patch of granular scales in front of the shoulder present; dorsal and lateral scales large, mostly smooth, weakly keeled towards the flanks, ventral scales strongly keeled, mucronate; paired postmentals, first pair separated by 1–2 median scales; 21–23 subdigital lamellae under fourth finger, 25–31 subdigital lamellae under fourth toe; 10–12 supralabials and 10–11 infralabials; green to brownish above, uniform, often with a dark streak from eye to above tympanum, ventral white to pale grey.
C. nemoricola can be distinguished from members of Smith’s C. versicolor group by a combination of the following characters: larger body size: mean adult SVL 125.8 mm, n=7 (vs. C. versicolor, adult SVL 73.8–99.4 mm, n=9 and C. calotes, adult SVL 73.6–96.8 mm, n=3); 36–43 midbody scale rows (30–35 in C. calotes, n=3, 38– 44 in C. versicolor; 58–63 in C. maria; 45–57 in C. jerdoni; 49–65 in C. emma; 48–58 in C. mystaceus and 48–60 in C. minor); nuchal crest well developed with longer spines, dorsal crest reduced (vs. nuchal and dorsal crest well developed, composed of almost equal spines in C. versicolor and C. mystaceus); row of 3–4 compressed supratympanic spines (vs. two well separated supratympanic spines in C. versicolor, 8–9 compressed spines in C. calotes, two parallel rows of compressed supratympanic scales in C. maria and C. jerdoni; single well developed postorbital spine in C. emma); presence of a crescent-shaped patch of granular scales in front of the shoulder (vs. absent in C. versicolor, C. calotes and C. maria) and lateral scales much larger than ventrals (vs. almost equal to the ventrals in C. calotes).
Morphologically, it is mostly similar to the closely related C. grandisquamis but can be distinguished based on higher number of midbody scale rows (36–43 vs. 27–35); smaller scales between eye and tympanum, much smaller than tympanum (vs. much larger scales, almost equal to the tympanum); scales on the cheek smaller, weakly keeled (vs. larger, smooth); gular scales keeled, smaller than mental (vs. gular scales smooth, equal to or slightly larger than the mental) and dorsal crest reduced, not extending beyond mid body (dorsal crest well developed, till above the base of tail). Even though these two large bodied species show the above-mentioned morphological differences, there has been some confusion in their correct identification in the recent past. To clarify this, a detailed comparison to distinguish these two species was provided by Ganesh & Chandramouli (2013). (from Pal et la. 2018: 425) 
CommentDistribution: Has been erroneously reported from Sri Lanka, but not present there (SOMAWEERA & SOMAWEERA 2009). 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S. R.; S. R. Chandramouli 2013. Identification of Two Similar Indian Agamid Lizards Calotes nemoricola Jerdon, 1853 and C. grandisquamis Günther, 1875. Russ. J. Herpetol. 20 (1): 33-35 - get paper here
  • Inger, Robert F.;Shaffer, H. Bradley;Koshy, Mammen;Bakde, Ramesh 1984. A report on a collection of amphibians and reptiles from the Ponmudi, Kerala, South India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 81 (3): 551-570 - get paper here
  • Jerdon,T.C. 1854. Catalogue of the Reptiles inhabiting the Peninsula of India. Part 1. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal xxii [1853]: 462-479 - get paper here
  • Karthikeyan, S.;Athreya, R. M.;Prasad, J. N. 1993. A range extension of Calotes nemoricola from the Anaimalais, Western Ghats. Hamadryad 18: 45-46
  • Manthey U 2008. Agamid lizards of Southern Asia, Draconinae 1. Terralog 7, 160 pp.
  • Manthey,U. & SCHUSTER,N. 1999. Agamen, 2. Aufl. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 120 pp. - get paper here
  • PAL, SAUNAK; S.P. VIJAYAKUMAR, KARTIK SHANKER, ADITI JAYARAJAN & V. DEEPAK 2018. A systematic revision of Calotes Cuvier, 1817 (Squamata: Agamidae) from the Western Ghats adds two genera and reveals two new species. Zootaxa 4482 (3): 401–450 - get paper here
  • Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
  • Smith,M.A. 1935. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptiles and Amphibia, Vol. II. Sauria. Taylor and Francis, London, 440 pp.
  • Venugopal, P.D. 2010. An updated and annotated list of Indian lizards (Reptilia: Sauria) based on a review of distribution records and checklists of Indian reptiles. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (3): 725-738. - get paper here
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