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Cnemaspis aaronbaueri SAYYED, GRISMER, CAMPBELL & DILEEPKUMAR, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis aaronbaueri SAYYED, GRISMER, CAMPBELL & DILEEPKUMAR 2019 
DistributionIndia (Kerala)

Type locality: one meter above ground on a stone compound wall of a tea estate in Thenmala, (8.959972°N, 77.07517°E), elevation about 218 m, in the Kollam District of Kerala State.  
TypesHolotype. BNHS 2607, an adult male, 34.57 mm SVL, collected on 01 February 2017 by Amit Sayyed and Abhijit Nale. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Cnemaspis aaronbaueri sp. nov. differs from all other Indian species of Cnemaspis by having the following characters: adult males reaching 34.57 mm SVL, adult females reaching 32.85 mm SVL; 6–7 supralabials; 6–7 infralabials; dorsal scales heterogeneous with small raised granules intermixed with randomly arranged weakly carinate, large tubercles; scales on lower flank slightly smaller than dorsum; 113–120 paravertebral tubercles; 71–85 mid-dorsal scales; spine-like tubercles absent on flanks; ventral scales smooth, imbricate; 135–140 midventral scales; 31–33 transverse scales across belly; subdigital lamellae under fourth digit of manus 23–25, under fourth digit of pes 24–25; males with 7–8 precloacal pores; Tail cylindrical, single small post-anal spur on each; dorsal scales on tail small, juxtaposed granules, intermixed with slightly enlarged, carinate tubercles; subcaudals on median row enlarged, smooth, series of two large scales alternating with one divided scale. Dorsal colour of head and neck brownish-yellow consistently in adult males; females with orange coloured head and neck.

Comparisons. Cnemaspis aaronbaueri sp. nov. differs from all other Indian congeners by the following characters: mid-dorsal scales heterogeneous (versus homogenous in C. adii Srinivasulu, Kumar & Srinivasulu, C. boiei (Gray), C. indica (Gray), C. jerdonii (Theobald), C. kolhapurensis Giri, Bauer & Gaikwad, C. littoralis (Jerdon), C. mysoriensis (Jerdon), C. nilagirica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. sisparensis (Theobald), C. wynadensis (Beddome)). The new species is distinguished from the following species by lacking spine-like tubercles on flanks (versus spine-like tubercles present on flanks): C. assamensis Das & Sengupta, C. andersonii (Annandale), C. amboliensis Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. gracilis (Beddome), C. goaensis Sharma, C. indraneildasii Bauer, C. jerdonii, C. littoralis, C. mysoriensis, C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. nilagirica, C. otai Das & Bauer and C. wicksii (Stoliczka). Cnemaspis aaronbaueri sp. nov. has 7–8 precloacal pores and lacks femoral pores which differentiates it from the following species: by presence of precloacal and femoral pores: C. adii, C. amboliensis, C. andersonii, C. australis Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. gracilis, C. goaensis, C. indraneildasii, C. mysoriensis, C. otai, C. shevaroyensis Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, C. wicksii (Stoliczka), C. yercaudensis Das & Bauer; and from the following species by presence of only femoral pores in C. agarwali Khandekar, C. ajijae Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. anaikattiensis Mukherjee, Bhupathy & Nixon, C. flaviventralis Sayyed, Pyron & Dahanukar, C. girii Mirza, Pal, Bhosale & Sanap, C. heteropholis Bauer, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kotiyoorensis Cyriac & Umesh, C. limayei Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. littoralis, C. mahabali Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. sisparensis (Theobald), C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, and C. wynadensis (Beddome). The new species is differentiated from the following species by having 7–8 precloacal pores: two precloacal pores in C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot, presence of a continuous series of 24–28 precloacal and femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis Giri, Bauer & Gaikwad, absence of both femoral and precloacal pores in C. assamensis. The new species differs from C. beddomei (Theobald) and C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot by having SVL less than 35 mm (versus 50.6 mm in C. beddomei and 43 mm in C. maculicollis). The new species can be easily confused with C. nairi but can be distinguished by having a shorter SVL 34.57 mm (versus SVL 41.0 mm); 6–7 supralabials, 6–7 infralabials (versus 8 supralabials, 7–9 infralabials); dorsal scales small, granular, raised, intermixed with slightly carinate, randomly arranged tubercles (versus SVL 41.0 mm back with small conical scales, intermixed with larger conical or rounded tubercles, arranged in 12 rows); ventral scales of the body smooth, imbricate (versus ventrals smooth, rounded); dorsal ground colour of tail grey, un-patterned, bearing white and black small spots (versus tail ringed with black and olive yellow).
Cnemaspis aaronbaueri sp. nov. closely resembles C. ornata (Beddome) and C. agarwali Khandekar. However, it can be distinguished from both species by the presence of 6–7 supralabials (versus 6–9 in C. ornata; 5–9 C. agarwali); 6–7 infralabials (versus 6–9 in C. ornata; 7–9 in C. agarwali); SVL 35.0 mm (versus SVL 42.0 mm in C. ornata; 33.0 mm in C. agarwali); absence of femoral pores (versus presence of femoral and precloacal pores in C. agarwali); two pairs of postmentals, five large scales posteriorly surrounded to middle chin shield (versus three pairs of postmentals, small scales posteriorly surrounded to middle chin shield in C. ornata; absence of middle chin shield in C. agarwali); dorsal scales arranged in 12 longitudinal rows (versus 16 longitudinal rows in C. ornata; 12–17 in C. agarwali); paravertebral scales 113–120 (versus 110 in C. ornata; 107 in C. agarwali); ventral scales of the body smooth, imbricate (versus smooth, rounded in C. ornata; smooth, subimbricate, slightly rounded in C. agarwali); midventral scales 135–140 (versus 151 in C. ornata; 105 in C. agarwali); tail covered above with small, juxtaposed granules, intermixed with slightly enlarged, carinate tubercles (versus small, subimbricate and series of large pointed tubercles in C. ornata; larger, flatter, subimbricate posteriorly, intermixed with slightly enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles forming whorls in C. agarwali). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym, honouring Professor Dr. Aaron M. Bauer of Villanova University, USA for his contributions to herpetology. 
  • SAYYED, AMIT; L. LEE GRISMER, PATRICK D CAMPBELL, RAVEENDRAN DILEEPKUMAR 2019. Description of a cryptic new species of Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Western Ghats of Kerala State of India. Zootaxa 4656 (3): 501–514 - get paper here
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