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Cnemaspis rajgadensis SAYYED, CYRIAC, PARDESHI & SULAKHE, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis rajgadensis SAYYED, CYRIAC, PARDESHI & SULAKHE 2021 
DistributionIndia (Maharashtra)

Type locality: Rajgad fort, Pune District, Maharashtra, India  
TypesHolotype: Holotype: India • ♂, adult; Rajgad fort, Pune District, Maharashtra State; 18°14'46N, 73°40'55E; 1324 m a.s.l.; 27 Sept. 2020; Amit Sayyed leg.; BNHS 3100.
Paratypes: India • 2 ♀, adults; same data as for holotype; Abhijit Nale, Kiran Ahire and Mahesh Bandgar leg.; BNHS 3101, 3102 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis with adult SVL <27 mm,; 7–7 supralabials; 6–7 infralabials; dorsal scales heterogeneous with small, granular, weakly keeled scales, intermixed with randomly arranged, weakly keeled, slightly larger tubercles; conical and spine-like tubercles absent on either side of the flanks; dorsal paravertebral scales 80–92; mid-dorsal scales 62–67; ventral surface of neck, pectoral, abdominal region, under limbs, and tail weakly keeled; mid-ventral scales 123–141; ventral scales across mid-body 28–29;subdigital lamellae under fourth digit of manus 15, under fourth digit of pes 18; males with 3 femoral pores and absence of pre-cloacal pores; dorsal scales of tail granular, weakly keeled, roughly same in size and shape to those on mid-body dorsum, gradually becoming larger, flattened, blunt, subimbricate posteriorly, intermixed with whorls of slightly enlarged, strongly keeled tubercles; scales on ventral aspect of original tail imbricate, weakly keeled, without a series of enlarged sub-caudal scales, roughly same in size of those on dorsal tail; a single enlarged postcloacal spur on each side (Sayyed et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Cnemaspis rajgadensis sp. nov., differs from all other Indian species of Cnemaspis by having the following characters: dorsal scales heterogeneous (vs. homogeneous in C. adii Srinivasulu, Kumar, and Srinivasulu, C. assamensis, C. boiei (Gray),C. indica (Gray),C. jerdonii (Theobald), C. kolhapurensis Giri, Bauer & Gaikwad, C. littoralis (Jerdon), C. mysoriensis (Jerdon), C. nilagirica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. palakkadensis Sayyed, Cyriac & Dileepkumar, C. zacharyi Cyriac, Palot, Deuti& Umesh); conical and spine-like tubercles absent on flanks (vs. conical or spine-like tubercles on the flanks in C. amboliensis Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. anandani Murthy, Nitesh, Sengupta & Deepak, C. assamensis Das & Sengupta, C. flaviventralis Sayyed, Pyron & Dahanukar, C. goaensis Sharma, C. gracilis, C. jerdoni, C. koynaensis Khandekar, Thackery& Agarwal, C. littoralis, C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. mysoriensis, C. nilagirica, C. otai, C. rishivalleyensis Agarwal, Thackery & Khandekar, C. stellapulvis Khandekar, Thackery & Agarwal); presence of only femoral pores (vs. presence of femoral and precloacal pores in C. adii, C. agarwali Khandekar, C. amboliensis, C. andersonii (Annandale), C. australis Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. bangara Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal, Khandekar, C. goaensis, C. gracilis (Beddome), C. graniticola Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal, Khandekar, C. monticola, C. otai Das & Bauer, C. rishivalleyensis, C. shevaroyensis Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, C. wicksii (Stoliczka), C. yelagiriensis Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal, Khandekar, C. yercaudensis Das & Bauer; presence of only precloacal pores in C. aaronbaueri Sayyed, Grismer, Campbell & Dileepkumar, C. avasabinae Agarwal, Bauer & Khandekar, C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot, C. beddomei (Theobald), C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot, C. nairi Inger, Marx & Koshy, C. ornata (Beddome); no femoral or precloacalpores in C. assamensis and C. boiei; a continuous series of precloacal femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis);SVL less than 27 mm (vs. ≥ 40 inC. aaronbaueri, C. anamudiensis, C. anandani, C. bangara, C. beddomei (Theobald), C. chengodumalaensis Cyriac, Palot, Deuti & Umesh, C. graniticola, C. heteropholis Bauer, C. kolhapurensis, C. kottiyoorensis Cyriac & Umesh, C. maculicollis, C. magnifica Khandekar, Thackeray, Pal & Agarwal, C. nairi Inger, Marx & Koshy, C. nilagirica, C. ornata (Beddome), C. sisparensis (Theobald), C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, C. wynadensis (Beddome), C. yelagiriensis, C. zacharyi).
C. rajgadensis sp. nov. closely resembles members of the girii and flaviventralis clade, all of which are small-sized species (SVL < 40 mm), have heterogeneous mid-dorsal scales, 2–5 femoral pores in males and having median subcaudals not enlarged. However, the new species can be differentiated from members of the girii clade by its higher number of ventral scales (28–29) across mid-body (vs. 22–24 in C. amba, 26–28 in C. girii, 20–26 in C. koynaensis, 26–27 in C. limayei and 26 in C. mahabali) and by the weakly keeled ventral scales (vs. smooth in all members of the girii clade). The new species can be differentiated from C. ajijae Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar and C. flaviventralis by its adult size (< 27 mm SVL vs. > 30 mm in C. ajijae and C. flaviventralis); short and wider than long head [HL 16.6 % of SVL, HW 110.6% of HL] (vs. elongated in C. flaviventralis [HL22 % of SVL, HW 81.8% of HL]); small eyes [ED 11.4% of HL] (vs. larger eyes in C. flaviventralis [ED 18.9% of HL] and C. ajijae [ED 21.6% of HL]); short snout [ES 68.7 % of HL] (vs. long snout in C. ajijae [ES 82.4 % of HL]); short and broad trunk [TW 61.5 % of TRL](vs. slender in C. ajijae [TW 50.8 % of TRL]). C. rajgadensis sp. nov. can also be differentiated by the weakly keeled ventral scales as opposed to the smooth scales in C. ajijae and C. flaviventralis (Sayyed et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal ground colour of head, body, limbs, and tail light brown to greyish-brown; head with dark-brown marking, supralabials yellow, infralabials brown, supraciliaries brownish-yellow, brilledusty-orange, iris orange coloured, pupil black; dark brown patch between orbit and nostril, dark-brown markings on temporal and occiput; dark-brown triangular mark surrounded by brown dorsally between the forelimb insertion; dorsum with fivebrownand white diffused vertebral blotches, from forelimb insertion to hind-limb insertion along with yellowscattered dark small blotches on lateral sides of the body; dorsum of forelimb and hind-limb with alternating dark-brown bands with some yellowish blotches; digits with alternating dark-brown and yellow markings;dorsum of original portion of tail with alternating dark-brown and whitish markings; postcloacal spur yellow; ventral surface of body, limbs, and tail off-white, surrounded with mottled brown.Females are dull in overall colouration on dorsal body, ventral surface of body, limbs, and tail white (Sayyed et al. 2021). 
CommentSympatry: Geckoella deccanensis (Günther), Hemidactylus maculatus Dumeril & Bibron and Hemidactylus cf. murrayi Gleadow. 
EtymologyThe species epithet is derived from the Rajgad fort of Pune District, Maharashtra, India, from where the type series was collected. Rajgad is a hill fort and historical place, which was the capital of the Maratha Empire under the rule of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj for almost 26 years during the 17th century. Previously known as Murumdev, Rajgad fort is located around 60 km to the south-west of Pune and about 15 km west of Nasrapur village in the range of northern Western Ghats. 
  • Sayyed, A., Cyriac, V. P., Pardeshi, A., & Sulakhe, S. 2021. Dwarfs of the fortress: A new cryptic species of dwarf gecko of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata, Gekkonidae) from Rajgad fort in the northern Western Ghats of Maharashtra, India. Evolutionary Systematics, 5: 25 - get paper here
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