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Cnemaspis agayagangai AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR, 2022

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Agaya Gangai dwarf gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis agayagangai AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR 2022: 1151 
DistributionIndia (Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: near Agaya Gangai waterfalls (11.2640°N, 78.3925°E; ca. 860 m asl.), Kolli hills, Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu state, India.  
TypesHolotype. NRC-AA-1213 (AK 699), adult male; collected by Akshay Khandekar, Swapnil Pawar, and Tejas Thackeray on 29th May 2019.
Paratypes. NRC-AA-1215 (AK 267), NRC-AA-1214 (AK 268), adult males, same collection data as holotype; NRC-AA-1216 (AK 269), NRC-AA-1217 (AK 270) adult males, NRC-AA-1218 (AK 700), adult female, from near Arappaleeswarar temple (11.2645°N, 78.3906°E; ca. 940 m asl.); and NRC-AA-1220 (AK 702), adult male, NRC-AA-1219 (AK 701), NRC-AA-1221 (AK 703) adult females, from near Agaya Gangai waterfalls (11.2656°N, 78.3943°E; ca. 780 m asl.), collected by Akshay Khandekar, Ishan Agarwal, Nikhil Gaitonde on 20th December 2018. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length up to 31.8 mm (n = 9). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled granular scales intermixed with a fairly regularly arranged rows of enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; last one or two rows of enlarged tubercles on flank weakly keeled, spine-like; 10–12 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body, 14–18 tubercles in paravertebral rows; ventral scales smooth, subcircular, subimbricate, subequal from chest to vent, 28–34 scales across belly at mid-body, 106–120 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca; subdigital scansors smooth, unpaired, unnotched; 9–11 lamellae under digit I of manus and 9–12 lamellae under digit I of pes; 14–16 lamellae under digit IV of manus and 17–20 lamellae under digit IV of pes; males (n = 6/9) with four or five femoral pores on each thigh separated by 8–10 poreless scales from series of two precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by single (rarely 2, n = 1/6) poreless scales; tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, pointed, and spine-like tubercles forming whorls; median row of subcaudals smooth, roughly rectangular, and distinctly enlarged. Dorsum orange, mottled with numerous small light grey spots and fine black spots, light grey vertebral blotches sometimes distinct; a single central black dorsal ocellus each on neck and occiput separated by a light grey blotch, ocellus on neck flanked anteriorly on each side by a slightly larger ocellus, ocellus on occiput sometimes flanked on each side by smaller, indistinct ocellus; venter off-white with black speckles, two indistinct pairs of streaks on throat; original tail in males with about 8–10 alternating dark and light grey bands, regenerated tail orange-brown. (Agarwal et al. 2022)

Comparison with members of C. gracilis clade. Cnemaspis agayagangai sp. nov. is a member of the gracilis clade and can be easily distinguished from all members of the clade by a combination of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: small-sized Cnemaspis with maximum SVL 32 mm (versus medium-sized Cnemaspis, SVL up to 41 mm in C. thackerayi, and C. salimalii sp. nov.); 14–18 tubercles in paravertebral rows (versus only a few irregularly arranged tubercles in paravertebral region in C. mundanthuraiensis, 10–14 in C. gracilis; 11 or 12 in C. jackieii); 10–12 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body (versus eight or nine rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. jackieii, 6–8 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. mundanthuraiensis); spine-like tubercles present on flanks (versus spine-like tubercles absent on flanks in C. agarwali, C. jackieii, C. shevaroyensis, and C. thackerayi); 28–34 ventral scales across belly at mid-body (versus 24–26 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. agarwali, 21–24 in C. shevaroyensis, and 22–25 in C. thackerayi); a single central dorsal ocellus each on occiput and neck, ocellus on neck flanked anteriorly on each side by a slightly larger ocellus (versus a single central dorsal ocellus each on occiput and neck in C. gracilis, C. mundanthuraiensis, C. thackerayi; single dorsal ocellus on occiput absent, single dorsal ocellus on neck present in C. salimalii sp. nov.; a single dorsal ocellus each on occiput and neck, a smaller pair on either side just anterior to forelimb insertion in C. jackieii; a single dorsal ocellus each on occiput and neck, two pairs on either side just anterior and posterior to forelimb insertions in C. shevaroyensis). Cnemaspis agayagangai sp. nov. is diagnosed against Cnemaspis fantastica sp. nov., Cnemaspis pachaimalaiensis sp. nov., and Cnemaspis rudhira sp. nov. as part of their respective descriptions below. (Agarwal et al. 2022)

Description of the holotype. Adult male in good state of preservation except regenerated portion of the tail tip slightly bent towards right, small skin injury left of sternum, and claw on 2nd digit of left foot missing (Fig. 9A– E). SVL 31.2 mm, head short (HL/SVL 0.25), wide (HW/ HL 0.67), not strongly depressed (HD/HL 0.47), distinct from neck. Loreal region marginally inflated, canthus rostralis not distinct. Snout half of head length (ES/HL 0.50), almost 2.5 times eye diameter (ES/ED 2.35); scales on snout and canthus rostralis subcircular, subequal, smooth anteriorly, becoming weakly keeled, and conical posteriorly; and much larger than those on forehead and interorbital region; scales on forehead similar to those on snout and canthus rostralis except smaller, elongated, and weakly conical; scales on interorbital region even smaller, granular and weakly keeled; scales on occipital and temporal region heterogeneous, slightly enlarged, weakly keeled, conical tubercles intermixed with smaller, weakly keeled and weakly conical granular scales (Fig. 10A). Eye small (ED/HL 0.21) with round pupil; supraciliaries short, larger anteriorly; six interorbital scale rows across narrowest point of frontal bone; 27 or 28 scale rows between left and right supraciliaries at mid-orbit (Fig. 10A, C). Ear-opening deep, oval, small (EL/HL 0.05); eye to ear distance greater than diameter of eye (EE/ED 1.41) (Fig. 10C). Rostral 2× wider (1.60 mm) than high (0.80 mm), incompletely divided dorsally by a strongly developed rostral groove and internasal scale for more than half of its height; a single enlarged supranasal on each side, slightly larger than postnasals, separated from each other by a much smaller, elongated internasal scale and still smaller scale on snout; two postnasals, upper postnasal marginally larger than lower; rostral in contact with supralabial I, nostril, supranasal, and lower postnasal on either side; nostrils oval, surrounded by two postnasals, supranasal, and rostral on either side; two rows of scales separate orbit from supralabials (Fig. 10C). Mental enlarged, subtriangular, slightly wider (1.90 mm) than high (1.52 mm); two pairs of postmentals, inner pair roughly pentagonal, much shorter (0.80 mm) than mental, separated from each other below mental by a single enlarged median chin shield; inner pair bordered by mental, infralabial I, outer postmental, enlarged median chin shield and an enlarged chin shield on either side; outer postmentals roughly rectangular, even smaller (0.62 mm) than inner pair, bordered by inner postmentals, infralabial I and II, and three enlarged chin shields on either side; three enlarged gular scales between left and right outer postmentals; all chin scales bordering postmentals flat, subcircular, smooth, and smaller than outermost postmentals; scales on rest of throat, small, subequal, and smooth (Fig. 10B). Infralabials bordered below by a row or two of slightly enlarged, much elongated scales, decreasing in size posteriorly. Ten supralabials up to angle of jaw and six at midorbital position on either side; supralabial I largest, rest of the series gradually decreasing in size posteriorly; nine infralabials up to angle of jaw on left and 10 on right, five at midorbital position on either side; infralabial I largest, gradually decreasing in size posteriorly (Fig. 10C). Body relatively slender (BW/AGL 0.51), trunk less than half of SVL (AGL/SVL 0.40) without ventrolateral folds; spine-like scales on flank present (Fig. 11A–C). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled granular scales intermixed with a fairly regularly arranged row of enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; tubercles
in approximately 10 longitudinal rows at mid-body including spine-like scales at lower flank; 15 (left) and 14 (right) tubercles in paravertebral row from above forelimb insertion to the hind limb insertion (Fig. 11A, C). Ventral scales much larger than granular scales on dorsum smooth, subcircular, subimbricate, subequal from chest to vent; mid-body scale rows across belly 32; 110 scales from mental to anterior border of cloaca (Fig. 11B). Scales on base of neck similar to those on belly, marginally smaller; gular region with still smaller, subequal, smooth, flattened scales, those bordering postmentals enlarged, smooth, subcircular, and flattened (Fig. 10B). Five femoral pores on either thigh, separated by eight poreless on either side from two precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by two poreless scales (Fig. 10D).
Scales on palms and soles granular, smooth, rounded, and flattened; scales on dorsal aspects of limbs heterogeneous in shape and size; mixture of small granular, weakly keeled, imbricate scales which are twice the size of granules on the body dorsum, largest on anterolateral aspect of the hands and feet; posterolateral aspect of limbs with small weakly keeled to smooth granular scales; ventral aspect of forelimbs with small, smooth, subimbricate scales, larger on lower arm than upper arm; ventral aspect of hindlimb with enlarged, smooth, flattened, subimbricate scales, slightly larger than body ventrals (Fig. 9A, B). Forelimbs and hindlimbs moderately long, slender (LAL/SVL 0.15; CL/SVL 0.17); digits long, with strong, recurved claw, distinctly inflected, distal portions laterally compressed conspicuously. Digits with unpaired lamellae, separated into a basal and narrower distal series by single enlarged lamella at inflection; basal lamellae series: (1-3-3-4-3 right manus, 2-4-4-7-5 right pes), (1-3-3-4-3 left manus, Fig. 10E; 2-4-5-7-5 left pes, Fig. 10F); distal lamellae series: (8-9-10-11-9 right manus, 8-10-12-12-11 right pes), (8-10-11-10-9 left manus, Fig. 10E; 8-8*-12-12-12 left pes, Fig. 10F). Relative length of digits (measurements in mm in parentheses): IV (2.8) = III (2.8) > II (2.6) > V (2.3) > I (1.8) (left manus); IV (3.6) > V (3.1) > III (3.0) > II (2.3*) > I (1.9) (left pes).
Tail original except tip (3.1 mm) which is regenerated, entire, subcylindrical, slender, marginally longer than snout-vent length (TL/SVL 1.18; Fig. 9C–E). Dorsal scales on tail base weakly keeled, granular, similar in size and shape to granular scales on mid-body dorsum, gradually becoming larger, flattened, imbricate posteriorly, intermixed with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles; enlarged tubercles on the tail forming whorls; six tubercles each on first six whorls, four in 7–11th whorls, rest of the tail with only paravertebral tubercles (Fig. 9C, E). Scales on ventral aspect of tail much larger than those on dorsal aspect, subimbricate, smooth; median series distinctly larger than rest, roughly rectangular; scales on tail base slightly smaller than those on mid-body ventrals, smooth, imbricate; a single enlarged, weakly keeled and conical postcloacal spur on each side (Fig. 9D). (Agarwal et al. 2022)

Colouration in life (Fig. 6B). Dorsum of head, body, and tail base orange, limbs brown. Head with numerous light grey blotches and some black spots, light grey and dark bands on labials. Two dark postorbital streaks flanked by slightly broader light grey streaks terminating anterior to forelimb insertion. A single central black dorsal ocellus on neck and one on occiput separated by a larger light grey blotch, ocellus on neck flanked anteriorly on each side by a slightly larger ocellus, ocellus on occiput flanked one each side by a smaller ocellus; all ocelli with a fine orange margin. Dorsum with six light grey vertebral blotches from forelimb insertions to tail base, interspersed with smaller light-grey spots (sometimes forming streaks) and fine black spots on rest of dorsum and flank. Dorsum of limbs more muted than back, digits with alternating dark and light bands. Tail with seven or eight alternating light grey and black bands with an orange regenerated tip. Venter off-white with black speckles, two indistinct pairs of streaks on throat. (Agarwal et al. 2022)

Variation and additional information from type series. Mensural, meristic and additional character state data for the type series is given in Tables 6–8 respectively. There are five adult male and three adult female specimens ranging in size from 29.3–31.8 mm (Fig. 7B). All paratypes resemble holotype except as follows: internasals absent, supranasals in strong contact with each other on snout in NRC-AA-1215, NRC-AA-1216, and NRC-AA-1220. Upper postmentals in contact with each other below mental in NRC-AA-1215, NRC-AA-1214, NRC-AA-1216, NRC-AA-1220, and NRC-AA-1221; upper postmentals bordered by mental, infralabial I, outer postmental, median chin shield, and by a single large chin scale on left side in NRC-AA-1219. Outer postmental bordered by inner postmental, infralabials I & II in all types, additionally, four chin scales on either side in NRC-AA-1216, four chin scales on left side in NRC-AA-1217, NRC-AA-1219, four chin scales on right side in NRC-AA-1218, NRC-AA-1220, and four chin scales on left and five on right side in NRC-AA-1221; outer postmental separated from each other medially by two enlarged chin scales in NRC-AA-1219. Three paratypes — NRC-AA-1217, NRC-AA-1218, and NRC-AA-1220 with original and complete tails, slightly longer than body (TL/SVL 1.16, 1.22, and 1.30 respectively); rest of the paratypes with original but incomplete tails. Original tail distinctly banded in all male paratypes and faintly banded in female paratypes, vertebral blotches not always distinct (Fig. 7B). (Agarwal et al. 2022) 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is for the type locality of the new species, the Agaya Gangai Waterfalls, and is used as a noun in apposition 
  • Agarwal I, Thackeray T, Khandekar A 2022. A multitude of spots! Five new microendemic species of the Cnemaspis gracilis group (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from massifs in the Shevaroy landscape, Tamil Nadu, India. Vertebrate Zoology 72: 1137-1186 - get paper here
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