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Cnemaspis mahabali SAYYED, PYRON & DILEEPKUMAR, 2018

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesMahabal’s Day Gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis mahabali SAYYED, PYRON & DILEEPKUMAR 2018: 19 
DistributionIndia (”widely distributed in W Maharashtra”)

Type locality: Bhira, near Tamhini (18.454N, 73.222E; 558 m asl), Pune district, Maharashtra, India  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: BNHS 2449 (adult male) collected on 21 De- cember 2016. Paratypes: BNHS 2502 and BNHS 2450 (adult male), BNHS 2451 and BNHS 2503 (adult female), have same collection data as holotype on the tree trunk. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized, robust Cnemaspis with maximum snout-vent length of 32.25 mm; dorsal scales heterogeneous consisting of granular small scales inter- mixed with few large feebly keeled scales; conical and spine-like tubercles absent on the flank; scales on neck not keeled; ventral part of neck feebly carinate; gular smooth; ventral scales of body smooth, imbricate, larger than dorsal; 26 midbody scales across the belly; dorsal scales of forelimb and hindlimb strongly keeled; ventral scales of both limbs smooth; scales on snout, canthus ros- tralis, and forehead granular, feebly keeled and those on interorbital and occipital smaller, granular; rostrum with partially dividing median groove, rostral in contact with first supralabial; nares separated from each other by two supranasals and a small internasal scale; nostrils not in contact with supralabial I; nasals bordered posteriorly by three post nasals; mental scale sub-triangular, longer than wider, posteriorly not pointed; two pairs of postmentals, primary postmentals separated by large median scales, primary postmentals larger than secondary, secondary postmentals in contact with first and second infralabial; supralabials 8–9; infralabials 7–8; three femoral pores on each side; 10–11 lamellae on digit IV of manus and 11–12 on digit IV of pes; extremely small post-anal spur along each side; sub-caudal smooth, imbricate, median row weakly enlarged; small keeled pointed tubercles present with small, keeled scales on dorsal tail.

Remarks: Cnemaspis mahabali is distinguished from C. girii, C. flaviventralis, and C. ajijae by several mor- phological characters. C. mahabali can easily be distin- guished from C. girii and C. flaviventralis by lacking conical tubercles on the flanks; low count of midventrals 19–22; scales on ventral part of neck carinate; and from C. ajijae by having few large weakly keeled scales on the dorsal body; carinate scales on ventral part of neck; two pairs of postmentals (Table 6).

Comparison: Cnemaspis mahabali may be distin- guished from all other peninsular Indian congeners on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: dorsal scales on trunk heterogeneous (vs. dor- sal scales homogenous in C. adii, C. boiei, C. indraneil- dasii, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kolhapurensis, C. littora- lis, C. mysoriensis, C. nilagirica, C. sisparensis, and C. wynadensis); conical and spine-like tubercles absent on the flank (vs. spine-like tubercles present on flank in C. assamensis, C. indraneildasii, C. jerdonii, C. littoralis, C. monticola, C. mysoriensis, C. nilagirica, and C. tropi- dogaster, conical tubercles present on flanks in C. kotti- yoorensis and C. flaviventralis); males with three femoral pores on each side (vs. males with six femoral pores in C. heteropholis, five in C. indica, 5–15 in C. jerdonii, 15–18 in C. littoralis, 7–8 in C. sisparensis, 4–6 in C. wynadensis; males with pre-anal as well as femoral pores in C. andersonii, C. australis, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. mysoriensis, C. otai, and C. yercaudensis; femoral pores absent whereas pre-anal pores present in C. beddomei, C. nairi, and C. ornata; pores absent in both sexes of C. assamensis and C. boiei; continuous series of 24–28 pre-anal femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis); two pairs of postmentals (vs. three pairs of postmentals in C. aji- jae sp. nov. and C. anaikattiensis); gulars scales smooth; scales on ventral part of neck feebly carinate (vs. gulars scales carinate in C. andersonii, scales on ventral part of neck smooth in C. kolhapurensis and C. flaviventralis); differs from Cnemaspis amboliensis sp. nov. by conical and spine-like tubercles absent on flank; 26 midventrals; dorsal scales on forelimb and hindlimbs strongly keeled; three femoral pores (vs. conical and spine-like tubercles on flank; 19–22 midventrals; dorsal scales on forelimb and hindlimb tricarinate; males with three or four pre- anal pores and 3–4 femoral pores).
This new species is similar in size and general appear- ance to Cnemaspis girii, C. ajijae, and C. limayei, but differs from these by having large feebly keeled scales on dorsal part of body; conical tubercles absent on flank; 26 midventrals; scales on ventral part of neck feebly cari- nate; two pairs of postmentals; dorsal scales on forelimb and hindlimb strongly keeled; inner surface of forelimb and hindlimb smooth; three femoral pores on each side; pre-anal scales same as ventral scales of the body; small keeled pointed tubercles present on dorsal tail (vs. large smooth scales on dorsal aspect; conical tubercles pres- ent; part of neck smooth; inner surface of forelimb and hindlimb keeled; large pointed tubercles present on the dorsal tail in C. girii; dorsal granular, keeled scales in- termixed with large keeled depressed scales; part of neck smooth; 29–30 midventrals; three pairs of postmentals in C. ajijae sp. nov.; dorsal scales feebly keeled; intermixed with large keeled depressed scales; part of neck smooth; pre-anal scales large than ventral; males with 4–5 femo- ral pores on each side in C. limayei (Table 6). 
CommentBehavior: Nocturnal. All specimens in the type series were collected at night on tree trunks and on branches. This species was not observed to be active in the day time during the study period.

Sympatry: Hemidactylus sp., H. cf. maculates, Macropisthodon plumbicolor, Duttaphrynus melanostictus, Raorchestes ghatei, and Polypedates maculates. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym, honoring Mr. Anil Mahabal, retired scientist of Zoological Survey of India, Pune, Maharashtra, for his immense contribu- tion to Indian natural history. 
References
  • Sayyed A, Pyron RA, Dileepkumar R. 2018. Four new species of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from the northern Western Ghats, India. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 12(2) [General Section]: 1–29 (e157) - get paper here
 
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