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Cnemaspis graniticola AGARWAL, THACKERAY, PAL & KHANDEKAR, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Granite dwarf gecko or Horsley dwarf gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis graniticola AGARWAL, THACKERAY, PAL & KHANDEKAR 2020: 16 
DistributionIndia (Andhra Pradesh)

Type locality: Horsley Hills (13.645 N, 78.403 E; ca. 1,140 m asl.), Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India.  
TypesHolotype: BNHS 2588 (CESL 838) SVL 40.4 mm, adult malefrom Horsley Hills (13.645 N, 78.403 E; ca. 1,140 m asl.), Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India, collected by Ishan Agarwal and Saunak Pal on 23 June 2013.
Paratypes: BNHS 2590 (CESL 840) SVL 41.3 mm, BNHS 2592 (CESL 843) SVL 39.4 mm, adult males, BNHS 2591 (CESL 841) SVL 27.6 mm, subadult male, BNHS 2589 (CESL 839) SVL 38 mm, adult female, same data as holotype.
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized Cnemaspis, snout–vent length up to 41 mm. Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, weakly keeled, granular scales intermixed with large, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; seven or eight longitudinal rows of dorsal tubercles, 12–15 tubercles in paravertebral rows; spine-like scales absent on flank. Ventral scales on belly smooth, imbricate, 22–24 scales across the belly, 115–121 longitudinal scales between mental to anterior border of cloaca. Subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; lamellae under digit IV of pes 23–25. Males with three femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by eight or nine poreless scales from continuous series of four precloacal pores. Median row of subcaudals smooth, enlarged. Single central black ocellus on nape, tail tip pale orange in juveniles, gular region with pair of dark streaks.

Comparison with members of the C. bangara clade: Cnemaspis graniticola sp. nov. closely resembles C. bangara sp. nov. However, it can be easily distinguished from it by having three femoral pores separated on either side by eight or nine poreless scales from four precloacal pores (versus two femoral pores separated on either side by 11 poreless scales from two precloacal pores); 12–15 tubercles in paravertebral rows (versus 7–9 tubercles in paravertebral rows); 20 scales across the belly (versus 22–24 scales across the belly). Additionally, C. graniticola sp. nov. is 9.0% divergent from C. bangara sp. nov. in ND2 sequence data (Table 2). Diagnoses against Cnemaspis yelagiriensis sp. nov. are provided after its description.

Coloration in life: Dorsal ground color of head, body, limbs and tail mottled grayish-brown, brille gray (Figure 10a). Orange preorbital streak with some black markings runs from nostril to orbit; upper labials dull white with dark blotches. Two orange-black postorbital streaks, upper one merging with its counterpart from the other orbit to form an indistinct W-shaped zig-zag band on occiput; lower one continuing until axilla and terminating in an indistinct black ocellus ringed by orange. A single large central black ocellus anterior to forelimb insertions; four dark indistinct bands from axilla to tail base formed by a prominent vertebral spot and indistinct blotches toward the flanks; flanks dark gray with cream colored thick reticulations. Dorsum of forelimbs and hindlimbs with dark blotches and bands, digits with alternating dark and light bands; dorsum of original tail with four alternating brown and light gray bands, regenerated portion and the tail tip brown. Ventral surfaces dull white, with scattered dark brown fine speckles, gular region with a pair of dark streaks, running along lower labials from below 3rd labial up to below ear opening on either side. underside of tail marbled with gray. Pupil black, iris golden.
CommentHabitat: The new species was encountered only on large granite boulders in a partially shaded patch of hill forest (Figure 11b), with activity going down by about 1,130–1,200 as it got warmer. By midafternoon only one or two animals were just visible, deep inside crevices.

Sympatry: Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis, Hemidactylus frenatus, Eutropis carinata, Ophisops leschenaultii and Calotes versicolor. 
EtymologyThe species is named for the granite rock formations upon which it lives. 
  • Agarwal I, Thackeray T, Pal S, Khandekar A. 2020. Granite boulders act as deep-time climate refugia: A Miocene divergent clade of rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Mysore Plateau, India, with descriptions of three new species. J Zool Syst Evol Res. 00:1–28 - get paper here
  • AGARWAL, ISHAN; TEJAS THACKERAY, AKSHAY KHANDEKAR 2021. A new medium-sized rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) of the C. bangara clade from granite boulder habitats in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India. Zootaxa 4969: 351–366 - get paper here
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