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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common NamesSinhala: Nilgala diva-sari huna
Tamil: Nilgala pahal-palli
E: Nilgala day gecko 
DistributionSri Lanka (Uva)

Type locality: rock cave in Serawa, Bibila, Monaragala District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka (7.264075° N, 81.356997° E, elevation 260 m a.s.l. WGS1984+-)  
ReproductionOviparous. From July to September (2016), hatchlings, juveniles and gravid females carrying one or two eggs were observed. Older and newly laid eggs were observed on granite rock crevices, typically laid in pairs. The eggs were pure white in color almost spherical in shape (mean diameter 5.16 ±0.02 mm (n=26)), with a slightly flattened side attached to the rocky substrate. 
TypesHolotype: NMSL 2018.07.01.NH, Adult male, 32.9 mm SVL (Figure 2), collected on 6 November 2002 by Aaron M. Bauer & Anslem de Silva. Paratypes. NMSL 2018.06.01.NH, Adult female, 31.5 mm SVL, collected from rockcave in Pitakumbura, Bibila, Monaragala District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka (7.264069 N, 81.359025 E, elevation 275 m a.s.l.WGS1984+-), collected on 6 November 2002 by Aaron M. Bauer & Anslem de Silva; 2018.06.02.NH, Adult male, 31.1 mm SVL (Figure 3) and 2018.06.03.NH, Adult male, 31.7 mm SVL, collected from rockcave in Yakunhela, Bibila, Monaragala District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka (7.200950 N, 81.329731 E, elevation 282 m a.s.l.), collected on 25 June 2018 by Suranjan Karunarathna. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Cnemaspis nilgala sp. nov., can be readily distinguished from its peninsular Indian and Sri Lankan congeners by a combination of the following morphological and meristic characteristics and color pattern: maximum SVL 32.9 mm; dorsum with homogeneous, unkeeled granular scales; internasal present; ventral scales smooth, venter subimbricate; two enlarged postmentals including median chin scale; each postmental bounded by 6–7 posterior postmental scales including medial chin scale; chin, throat, gular, pectoral and abdominal scales smooth; 17–19 ventral scales across midbody; 4 very weakly developed tubercles on posterior flank; 179–187 paravertebral granules linearly arranged; precloacal pores absent in males, 7–9 femoral pores on each side separated by 14–15 unporedfemoro-precloacal scales, 5–6 enlarged femoral scales; 122–129 ventral scales; subcaudals smooth, median row enlarged, in an irregular series of subhexagonal scales, subequal in width; 7–8 supralabials; 6–7infralabials; 17–18 subdigital lamellae on fourth digit of pes.
The new species most closely resembles Sri Lankan congeners in the C. podihuna clade (Agarwal et al., 2017): C. alwisi, C. gemunu Bauer, de Silva, Greenbaum & Jackman, C. kandambyi Batuwita & Udugampala, C. molligodai Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, C. phillipsi Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. podihuna, C. punctata Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. rajakarunai, C. rammalensis Vidanapathirana, Rajeev, Wickramasinghe, Fernando & Wickramasinghe, and C. scalpensis Ferguson (systematic position confirmed based on presence of enlarged subcaudals, and hexagonal or subhexagonal-shaped scales on the tail). Of these similar species, the new species differs from C. kandambyi, C. molligodai and C. podihuna from the absence (versus presence) of precloacal pores. It can be diagnosed from C. alwisi, C. punctata and C. rajakarunai, respectively, by the presence of 122–129 (versus 146–152, 131–135 and146–186) ventral scales, by having fewer unpored femoro-precloacal scales ranging from 14–15 (versus 18–19, 24–26 and 20–22), by the presence of 7–8 (versus 8–10, 7–10 and 9–11) supralabials, body relatively short, relatively smaller SVL of 31.5–32.9 mm (versus 37.8–39.9 mm, 35.2–37.1 and 36.2–40.1) (Table 3). The new species also differs from C. gemunu, C. phillipsi, C. rammalensis and C. scalpensis, respectively, by the presence of fewer femoral pores ranging from 7–9 (versus 11– 14, 15–16, 15 and 13–15). The new species further differs from C. phillipsi, C. rammalensis and C. scalpensis, respectively, by the presence of 17–19 (versus 21–25, 28 and 21–23) fewer belly scales across the ventral at midbody and from C. gemunu by the presence of 17–19 (versus 13–16) more ventral scales across the mid body.
The new species further differs from the following species in having unkeeled gular, pectoral, and abdominal scales (versus keeled): Cnemaspis amith Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis clivicola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis kallima Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis kandiana (Kelaart), Cnemaspis kumarasinghei Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, Cnemaspis latha Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis menikay Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis pava Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis pulchra Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis retigalensis Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, Cnemaspis samanalensis Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, Cnemaspis silvula Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, Cnemaspis tropidogaster (Boulenger), and Cnemaspis upendrai Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda. The new species further differs from C. clivicola, C. kallima, C. kandiana, C. menikay, C. pava, C. pulchra, C. retigalensis, C. samanalensis, C. silvula, C. tropidogaster, and C. upendrai by having homogeneous dorsal scales (versus heterogeneous). The new species can be separated from Cnemaspis amith, C. kumarasinghei, and C. latha, by absence of (versus 3–5) precloacal pores. 
CommentSimilar species: The records of Cnemaspis alwisi from Nilgala forest and vicinity (7.133333–7.233333 N and 81.266667–81.335400 E) by Karunarathna & Amarasinghe (2011) refer to Cnemaspis nilgala sp. nov.

Sympatry: Calodactylodes illingworthorum, Cnemaspis sp., Cyrtodactylus sp., Hemidactylus depressus, H. frenatus, H. hunae, H. triedrus, H. parvimaculatus. 
EtymologyThe species name is an eponym (nilgala) for the region it inhabits, the Nilgala savannah forest in Sri Lanka (7.133333–7.233333 N and 81.266667–81.335400 E), formed here as a noun in apposition. 
  • Karunarathna, Suranjan D. M. S. and A. A. Thasun Amarasinghe 2011. A PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF THE REPTILE FAUNA IN NILGALA FOREST AND ITS VICINITY, MONARAGALA DISTRICT, SRI LANKA. Taprobanica 3 (02): 69-76
  • KARUNARATHNA, SURANJAN; AARON M. BAUER, ANSLEM DE SILVA, THILINA SURASINGHE, LANKANI SOMARATNA, MAJINTHA MADAWALA, DINESH GABADAGE, MADHAVA BOTEJUE, SUJAN HENKANATHTHEGEDARA, KANISHKA D.B. UKUWELA 2019. Description of a new species of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Nilgala Savannah forest, Uva Province of Sri Lanka. Zootaxa 4545 (3): 389–407 - get paper here
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