Cnemaspis chengodumalaensis CYRIAC, PALOT, DEUTI & UMESH, 2020
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|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Synonym||Cnemaspis chengodumalaensis CYRIAC, PALOT, DEUTI & UMESH 2020|
|Distribution||India (Kerala: Kozhikode district)|
Type locality: rock crevice in Chengodumala (11°30′19.08′′N; 75°48′26.28′′E ) at an elevation of 215 m ASL in Kozhikode district of Kerala.
|Types||Holotype. BNHS 2740, adult male of SVL 48.1 mm, collected on 18 June 2014 by P.K. Umesh.|
Paratypes. BNHS 2741, adult female of SVL 47.2 mm; BNHS 2742, adult male of SVL 39.3 mm; ZSI/WRC/R/1091, adult male of SVL 39.8 mm; ZSI/WRC/R/1092, adult female of SVL 44.8 mm; ZSI/WRC/R/1093, adult female of SVL 37.2 mm; all of which were collected on the same date and locality as that of the holotype. ZSI/WRC/R/1094, adult male of SVL 49.4 mm; BNHS 2743, an adult female of SVL 49.1 mm and BNHS 2744, an adult male of SVL 45.7 mm, collected from the walls of an abandoned building in Thuruthamala, Balussery (11°30′22.62′′N; 75°50′22.41′′E), of Ko- zhikode district in Kerala at an elevation of 579 m ASL on 10 April 2013 by Vivek Philip Cyriac.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A medium-sized Cnemaspis with a maximum snout-vent length 49.4 mm. Mid-dorsal scales are heterogeneous, becoming more heterogeneous towards the flanks. Spine-like tubercles absent on flanks. Ventral scales of neck, pectoral and abdominal region smooth. Mid-ventral scales arranged in 19–23 rows. Supralabials to the angle of jaw 6–7, infralabials 6–8. Subdigital lamellae under manus IV ranges from 20 – 24; under pes IV from 21–26. Dorsal scales of tail homogenous and sub-imbricate without whorls of enlarged tubercles. Subcaudals smooth, enlarged and irregularly arranged. Post-cloacal spur absent on either side of the tail. Males have 6 – 8 femoral pores, no pre-cloacal pores and 14 – 16 poreless scales between femoral pores.|
Cnemaspis chengodumalaensis sp. nov. differs from all other congeners by the following characters: mid-dorsal scales heterogenous (vs. dorsal scales homogenous in C. adii, C. assamensis, C. boiei, C. indica, C. indraneil dasii, C. jerdonii, C. littoralis, C. mysoriensis and C. ni lagirica); the absence of spine-like tubercles on flanks (vs. presence of spine-like tubercles on the flanks in C. anan dani, C. andersonii, C. amboliensis, C. assamensis, C. fla viventralis, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. indraneildasii, C. jerdonii, C. littoralis, C. monticola, C. mysoriensis, C. nilagirica, C. otai and C. wicksii); presence of only 6 – 8 femoral pores and absence of pre-cloacal pores in males (vs. presence of ≤ 5 femoral pores in C. aji jae, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. indica, C. limayei and C. mahabali; presence of both femoral and pre-cloacal pores in C. adii, C. agarwali, C. andersonii, C. ambolien sis, C. australis, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. mysoriensis, C. otai, C. shevaroyensis, C. thackerayi, C. wicksii and C. yercaudensis; presence of only pre-cloacal pores in C. aaronbaueri, C. anamudiensis, C. beddomei, C. macu licollis, C. nairi and C. ornata; absence of both femoral and pre-cloacal pores in C. boiei and C. assamensis); ventral scales smooth (vs. keeled ventrals in C. anandani, C. nilagirica, C. australis and C. monticola); median row of subcaudals enlarged (vs. median subcaudal scales not enlarged in C. adii, C. ajijae, C. andersonii, C. australis, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. gracilis and C. limayei).
Cnemaspis chengodumalaensis sp. nov. closely resembles other members of the wynadensis clade. It can be differentiated from C. wynadensis, C. kottiyoorensis and C. kolhapurensis by its larger adult size (37 – 49 mm) (vs. small to medium adult size ranging from ca 30 – 42 mm in all three species) and its highly heterogenous middorsal scales (vs. homogenous in C. wynadensis and C. kolhapurensis). C. chengodumalaensis sp. nov. can be differentiated from C. heteropholis and C. zacharyi sp. nov. by its smaller adult size ranging from 37 – 49 mm (vs. larger adult size in C.heteropholis (47–57mm) and C. zacharyi sp. nov. (46 – 65 mm)), its heterogenous mid-dorsal scales (vs. mid-dorsal scales homogenous in C. zacharyi sp. nov.) and in the smaller number of subdigital lamellae ranging from 20–24 on manus IV and 21–26 on pes IV (vs. 24–26 on manus IV and 22–28 on pes IV in C. heteropholis and 23 – 26 on manus IV and 23 – 27 on pes IV in C. zacharyi sp. nov.). C. chengodu malaensis sp. nov. most closely resembles C. sisparensis (see Fig. 9), but can be differentiated by its longer head length (HL 28.0±0.01 % of SVL vs. HL 17.1±0.01 % of SVL in C. sisparensis) and the smaller number of midventral scale rows across the belly ranging from 19–23 (vs. 25 – 27 in C. sisparensis) (Table 4).
Colouration in life (Fig. 8). Head greyish brown mottled with lighter brown patches along with several irregularly shaped dark brown to black spots. Two thick dark brown to black lines extend from the posterior of the eye to the lateral sides of the head. The iris of the eye is orangishred surrounded by yellowish brown superciliary scales. Labials with dark and light bands. Gular scales are whitish with dark grey to brown mottling. Nape with three to four dark brown to black spots. Mid-dorsum region light to dark brown sparsely speckled with yellowish spots and a vertebral series of six to seven black elongated spots, some of which are irregularly shaped. Paravertebral region dark brown sparsely speckled with yellowish spots along with a series of five to six large elongated brown spots, some of which appear as irregularly shaped blotches. Lateral sides and flanks are dark brown mottled with several yellowish-white spots. Dorsal side of forelimbs and hindlimbs are brown with darker markings. Fingers and toes with alternating light and dark bands. Ventral side of the body, forelimbs and hindlimbs are greyish. Dorsal side of tail is cross-barred with dark and light brown irregular transverse bands; ventral side is greyish white.
|Comment||Habitat: primarily terrestrial and saxicolous and found in low to mid-elevation forested patches and agricultural plantations harbouring rocky outcrops. Most individuals of this species were observed within rock crevices of boulders.|
Activity: active during the night between 19 – 23 hrs suggesting nocturnal habits.
Sympatry: C. littoralis, another unidentified small-sized Cnemaspis species and Hemidactylus frenatus, a ground-dwelling Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) sp. and saxicolous species such as Hemidactylus prashadi, and Hemidactylus murrayi.
|Etymology||The species name chengodumalaensis is a toponym referring to Chengodumala, the type locality and area where this species was found in great abundance. Chengodumala, is a midland hillock with several rocky outcrops located ca. 8 km from Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary and falls outside the Protected Area network. Chengodumala is currently threatened by extensive illegal granite quarrying|
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