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Cnemaspis nicobaricus CHANDRAMOULI, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis nicobaricus CHANDRAMOULI 2020
Cnemaspis kandiana – BISWAS & SANYAL 1977 (non KELAAART 1852)
Cnemaspis kandiana – BISWAS & SANYAL 1980 (non KELAAART 1852)
Cnemaspis kandiana – DAS 1999 (non KELAAART 1852) 
DistributionIndia (Great Nicobar Island)

Type locality: Campbell Bay (7.019N, 93.923E, 12 m elevation), Great Nicobar Island  
TypesHolotype: ZSI/ANRC/T/10928, collected from human habitation on 20 July 2017.
Paratopotypes: DOSMB05106 and DOSMB05107, adult females collected from human habitation from the same locality on 18 and 22 July 2017. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Cnemaspis restricted to Great and Little Nicobar Islands in the Nicobar archipelago, characterized by: small body size (27.64 – 31.08 mm SVL); presence of four enlarged conical tubercles on the flanks; 2 post-mentals separated from each other by a single scale; presence of 2-3 internasals; presence of 6-7 supralabials; 8 infralabials; 16-18 subdigital lamellae under toe IV; smooth pectoral, abdominal and femoral scales; presence of 3 femoral pores on each thigh; absence of precloacal pores and irregularly shaped, small sized subcaudal scales (Chandramouli 2020).

Colouration in life: Overall dorsal colouration uniform dark brown with small feeble darker spots on the dorsum with a pale yellow linear vertebral stripe extending from the neck till the anterior portion of the tail. Pearly white coloured ventrally. A dark stripe along the canthal region; continuing as post-ocular stripes, passing through the tympana on to the dorso-lateral regions along the trunk, where they converge at some points to form 4 – 5 ‘X’ shaped markings (Chandramouli 2020).

Comparisons: The new species described here is compared with members of the C. kandiana group from the Andaman Islands (C. andersonii Annandale, 1905 and C. wicksi (Stoliczka, 1873)), Isthmus of Kra region and the Mentawai archipelago. C. nicobaricus sp. nov. differs from C. andersonii, C. wicksi, C. tanintharyi Lee, Miller, Zug and Mulcahy, 2019, C. thayawthadangyi Lee, Miller, Zug and Mulcahy, 2019, C. dezwaani Das, 2005, C. modiglianii Das, 2005, C. whittenorum Das, 2005, C. andalas Iskander McGurie and Amarasinghe, 2017, C. minang Iskander McGurie and Amarasinghe, 2017, C. pagai Iskander McGurie and Amarasinghe, 2017 and C. tapanuli Iskander McGurie and Amarasinghe, 2017 in lacking precloacal pores (vs. present in all of the above species); presence of three femoral pores on each thigh (vs. absent in C. phuketensis Das and Leong, 2004 and C. jacobsoni Das, 2005; 4 in C. thayawthadangyi, 4-5 in C. tanintharyi, 6 in C. whittenorum); in having four keeled spinular tubercles on the lateral body (vs. 6) it differs from C. aceh and C. andalas of the Mentawai Islands. Ventrals smooth in C. nicobaricus sp. nov. vs. keeled gular, pectoral and abdominal scales in C. andersonii, C. wicksi, C. aceh, C. dezwaani, C. tanintharyi, C. jacobsoni, C. modiglianii, C. whittenorum and C. pagai. Subcaudals not elongate horizontally in C. nicobaricus sp. nov. vs. elongated in C. aceh, C. andalas, C. minang, C. pagai and C. tapanuli; enlarged in C. dezwaani, C. jacobsoni C. tanintharyi, C. thayawthadangyi and C. whittenorum (Das, 2005; Manamendra-Arachchi et al., 2007; Iskander et al., 2017; Lee et al., 2019). In addition, from C. kandiana of Sri Lanka, the new species can be distinguished by the absence of precloacal pores (vs. present in C. kandiana); four spiny tubercles on the flanks (vs.6 in C. kandiana) (Chandramouli 2020). 
CommentDistribution: see map in Chandramouli 2020: 10 (Fig. 7). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet nicobaricus is a toponym referring to the geographic distribution of the new species. 
  • Biswas, S., & Sanyal, D.P. 1980. A report on the Reptilia fauna of Andaman and Nicobars Islands in the collection of Zoological Survey of India. Records Zool. Survey India 77: 255-292. - get paper here
  • Biswas,S. & SANYAL,D.P. 1977. Notes on the Reptilia collection from the Great Nicobar during the Great Nicobar Expedition in 1966. Records Zool. Survey India 72: 107-12 - get paper here
  • Chandramouli, S.R. 2020. A new species of dwarf gecko of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae) from the Nicobar archipelago with an expanded description of Cnemaspis andersonii (Annandale 1905) of the Andaman Islands. Asian Journal of Conservation Biology, July 2020. Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 3-10 - get paper here
  • Das, I. 1999. Biogeography of the amphibians and reptiles of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. In: Ota,H. (ed) Tropical Island herpetofauna..., Elsevier, pp. 43-77
  • Mohan, Ashwini Venkatanarayana 2020. An update to species distribution records of geckos (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bay of Bengal. Herpetology Notes 13: 631-637 - get paper here
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