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Cnemaspis hitihami KARUNARATHNA, POYARKOV, DE SILVA, MADAWALA, BOTEJUE, GORIN, SURASINGHE, GABADAGE, UKUWELA & BAUER, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Hitihamis’ day gecko
Sinhala: Hitihamige diva-seri hoona 
SynonymCnemaspis hitihami KARUNARATHNA, POYARKOV, DE SILVA, MADAWALA, BOTEJUE, GORIN, SURASINGHE, GABADAGE, UKUWELA & BAUER 2019 
DistributionSri Lanka (Monaragala District)

Type locality: granite cave in Kumaradola, Maragalakanda,
Monaragala District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka (6.875428° N,
81.357289° E, WGS1984; elevation 421 m  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. NMSL.2019.06.01, adult male, 41.7 mm SVL (Fig. 13),
collected around 16.00 hrs) on 18 September 2018 by Suranjan Karunarathna and Anslem de Silva.
Paratypes. NMSL.2019.06.02, adult male, 38.8 mm SVL, and
NMSL.2019.06.03, adult female, 39.5 mm SVL, collected from a
granite cave in Kumaradola, Maragalakanda, Monaragala District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka (6.879725° N, 81.364986° E, WGS1984; elevation 437 m; around 17.00 hrs) on 18 September 2018 by Suranjan Karunarathna and Anslem de Silva. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Cnemaspis hitihami sp. nov., can be readily distinguished from its Sri Lankan congeners by a combination of the following morphological and meristic characteristics and color pattern: maximum SVL 41.7 mm; dorsum with homogeneous, smooth granular scales; 2/2 supranasals, 1 internasal and 1/1 postnasal present; 3 enlarged postmentals; postmentals bounded by 5 chin scales; chin and gular scales smooth. granular, juxtaposed; pectoral and abdominal scales smooth, subimbricate; 21 belly scales across the venter; 4 – 5 well developed tubercles on posterior flank; 143 – 149 paravertebral granules linearly arranged; precloacal pores absent in males, 5 – 10 femoral pores in males on each side separated by 24 – 26 unpored femoro-precloacal scales, 5 – 7 unpored posterior femoral scales; 132 – 135 ventral scales; 96 – 99 midbody scales; enlarged subcaudals smooth, subequal, subhexagonal, arranged in a regular median row; 8 – 9 supralabials; 7 – 9 infralabials; 18 – 19 total lamellae on digit IV IV of manus, and 21 – 22 total lamellae on digit IV of pes.

Comparisons with other species. The new species, C. hitihami sp. nov. differs from all members of the C. podihuna clade sensu Agarwal et al. (2017): from C. kandambyi, C. molligodai and C. podihuna it differs by the absence (versus presence) of precloacal pores. The new species differs from C. godagedarai, C. phillipsi, C. rammalensis and C. scalpensis in having fewer femoral pores (5 – 10 versus 12 – 13, 15 – 16, 15 and 13 – 15, respectively). It also differs from C. godagedarai by its greater number of paravertebral granules (143 – 149 versus 101 – 106), from C. phillipsi by its greater number of total lamellae on digit IV of the pes (21 – 22 versus 17 – 19), from C. rammalensis by fewer belly scales (21 versus 25 – 28) across the midbody, and from C. scalpensis by the presence of more belly scales (21 versus 17 – 19). It can be diagnosed from C. alwisi and C. rajakarunai by lower number of ventral scales (132 – 135 versus 145 – 153 and 146 – 186, resperctively), and by its greater number of unpored femoroprecloacal scales (24 – 26 versus 18 – 19 and 20 – 22, respectively). It can be differentiated from C. gemunu and C. nilgala by its greater number of belly scales (21 versus 13 – 16 and 17 – 19) and by a greater number total lamellae on digit IV of pes (21 – 22 versus 18 – 19 and 17 – 18, respectively). The new species also differs from C. punctata by in having more midbody scales (96 – 99 versus 71 – 78), by greater number of paravertebral granules (143 – 149 versus 83 – 91), and by fewer well developed tubercles on posterior flank (4 – 5 versus 11 – 13). It can be diagnosed from C. kohukumburai sp. nov. by a lower number of interorbital scales (30 – 33 versus 37 – 39), and by more total lamellae on digit IV of pes (21 – 22 versus 18 – 19). The new species clearly differs from C. amith, C. gotaimbarai sp. nov., C. ingerorum, C. kallima, C. kandiana, C. kumarasinghei, C. latha, C. menikay, C. nandimithrai sp. nov., C. pava, C. pulchra, C. retigalensis, C. samanalensis, C. silvula, C. tropidogaster and C. upendrai, members of the C. kandiana clade sensu Agarwal et al. (2017), by the absence of precloacal pores and the presence of clearly enlarged, hexagonal or subhexagonal subcaudal scales. 
CommentSympatry: Calodactylodes illingworthorum and Hemidactylus hunae) and generalist gecko species (Cnemaspis kumarasinghei, C. podihuna, Gehyra mutilata, Hemidactylus depressus, H. frenatus, H. leschenaultii, H. parvimaculatus and H. triedrus). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an eponym Latinized (hitihami) in the masculine genitive singular, honouring the Sri Lankan warrior ‘Meegahapitiye Walauwe Hitihami. 
References
  • Karunarathna, Suranjan; Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Anslem de Silva, Majintha Madawala, Madhava Botejue, Vladislav A. Gorin, Thilina Surasinghe, Dinesh Gabadage, Kanishka D.B. Ukuwela & Aaron M. Bauer 2019. Integrative taxonomy reveals six new species of day geckos of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from geographically-isolated hill forests in Sri Lanka. Vertebrate Zoology 69 (3): 247–298 - get paper here
 
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