Cnemaspis salimalii AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR, 2022
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Cnemaspis salimalii?
|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Salim Ali’s dwarf gecko|
|Synonym||Cnemaspis salimalii AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR 2022: 1142|
|Distribution||India (Tamil Nadu)|
Type locality: vicinity of Nallathambi resort, (11.2865°N, 78.3381°E; ca. 1150 m asl.), Semmedu, Kolli hills, Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu state, India.
|Types||Holotype. NRC-AA-1204 (AK 683), adult male; collected by Akshay Khandekar, Swapnil Pawar and Tejas Thackeray on 28th May 2019.|
Paratypes. NRC-AA-1205 (AK 257), NRC-AA-1206 (AK 258), subadult males, NRC-AA-1207 (AK 259), NRC-AA-1208 (AK 261), NRC-AA-1209 (AK 263), adult males, NRC-AA-1210 (AK 265), adult female, same locality as holotype except collected by Akshay Khandekar, Ishan Agarwal, Nikhil Gaitonde, Varad Giri, Chaitanya R, and Aniruddha Dutta-Roy on 20th December 2018; NRC-AA-1212 (AK690), adult male, NRC-AA-1211 (AK 689), adult female, same data as holotype.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: A medium-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length up to 41.3 mm (n = 9). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled granular scales intermixed with irregularly arranged rows of enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; last one or two rows of enlarged tubercles on flank weakly keeled, short and spine-like; 11–13 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body, 16–18 tubercles in paravertebral rows, paravertebral rows rarely irregular (n = 1/7); ventral scales smooth, subcircular, subimbricate, subequal from chest to vent, 30–33 scales across belly at mid-body, 109–128 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca; subdigital scansors smooth, unpaired, unnotched; 10–12 lamellae under digit I of manus and pes, 15–18 lamellae under digit IV of manus and 20–24 lamellae under digit IV of pes; males with 3–5 femoral pores on each thigh separated by 5–7 poreless scales from series of 2–4 precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by three or four poreless scales (n = 7/9); tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, pointed, and spine-like tubercles forming whorls; median row of subcaudals smooth, roughly pentagonal, and distinctly enlarged. Dorsum with diffuse light tan blotches including some in a vertebral row and numerous smaller orange blotches; a single black dorsal ocellus on neck, venter off-white with black speckles; original tail in males with eight or nine faint bands, regenerated tail brown. (Agarwal et al. 2022)|
Comparison with members of C. gracilis clade. Cnemaspis salimalii sp. nov. is a member of the gracilis clade and can be easily distinguished from all six members of the clade by a combination of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: medium sized Cnemaspis, SVL up to 41 mm (versus small Cnemaspis SVL < 35 mm in C. agarwali, C. gracilis, C. jackieii, C. mundanthuraiensis, and C. shevaroyensis); 16–18 tubercles in paravertebral rows (versus only a few irregularly arranged tubercles in paravertebral region in C. mundanthuraiensis, 10–14 in C. gracilis; 11 or 12 in C. jackieii, 12–14 in C. thackerayi); 11–13 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body (versus eight or nine rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. jackieii, 6–8 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. mundanthuraiensis); short spine-like tubercles present on flanks (versus spine-like tubercles absent on flanks in C. agarwali, C. jackieii, C. shevaroyensis, and C. thackerayi); 30–33 ventral scales across belly at mid-body (versus 24–26 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. agarwali, 26–29 (rarely 30) in
C. gracilis, 21–24 in C. shevaroyensis, and 22–25 in C. thackerayi); single dorsal ocellus on occiput absent, single dorsal ocellus on neck present (versus a single dorsal ocellus each on occiput and neck, two pairs on either side of neck and just posterior to forelimb insertions in C. shevaroyensis; a single dorsal ocellus present on occiput and neck, two pairs on either side just anterior and sometimes posterior to forelimb insertions in C. agarwali). Cnemaspis salimalii sp. nov. is diagnosed against Cnemaspis agayagangai sp. nov., Cnemaspis fantastica sp. nov., Cnemaspis pachaimalaiensis sp. nov., and Cnemaspis rudhira sp. nov. as part of their respective descriptions below. (Agarwal et al. 2022)
Description of the holotype. Adult male in good state of preservation except regenerated portion of tail tip slightly bent towards right (Fig. 3A–E). SVL 35.0 mm, head short (HL/SVL 0.25), wide (HW/HL 0.67), not strongly depressed (HD/HL 0.41), distinct from neck. Loreal region marginally inflated, canthus rostralis not distinct. Snout almost half of head length (ES/HL 0.47), nearly 2.5 times eye diameter (ES/ED 2.33); scales on snout and canthus rostralis subcircular, subequal, smooth anteriorly, becoming weakly keeled, and conical posteriorly; much larger than those on forehead and interorbital region; scales on forehead similar to those on snout and canthus rostralis except smaller and weakly conical; scales on interorbital region even smaller, granular and smooth to weakly keeled; scales on occipital and temporal region heterogeneous, slightly enlarged, weakly keeled, conical tubercles intermixed with smaller, weakly keeled and weakly conical granular scales (Fig. 4A). Eye small (ED/ HL 0.20) with round pupil; supraciliaries short, larger anteriorly; seven interorbital scale rows across narrowest point of frontal bone; 30–32 scale rows between left and right supraciliaries at mid-orbit (Fig. 4A, C). Ear-opening deep, oval, small (EL/HL 0.06); eye to ear distance greater than diameter of eye (EE/ED 1.50) (Fig. 4C). Rostral more than 2× wider (1.86 mm) than high (0.80 mm), incompletely divided dorsally by a strongly developed rostral groove and internasal scale for more than half of its height; a single enlarged supranasal on each side, marginally larger than postnasals, separated from each other by a much smaller, elongated internasal scale; two postnasals, upper postnasal marginally larger than lower; rostral in contact with supralabial I, nostril, supranasal, and lower postnasal on either side; nostrils oval, surrounded by two postnasals, supranasal, and rostral on either side; two rows of scales separate orbit from supralabials (Fig. 4C). Mental enlarged, subtriangular, slightly wider (2.01 mm) than high (1.54 mm); two pairs of postmentals, inner pair roughly rectangular, much shorter (0.77 mm) than mental, separated from each other below mental by a single enlarged median chin shield; inner pair bordered by mental, infralabial I, outer postmental, enlarged median chin shield and two enlarged chin shield on either side; outer postmentals roughly subcircular, even smaller (0.63 mm) than inner pair, bordered by inner postmentals, infralabial I and II, and four enlarged chin shields on either side; four enlarged gular scales between left and right outer postmentals; all chin scales bordering postmentals more or less flat, subcircular, smooth, and much smaller than outermost postmentals; scales on rest of throat, even smaller, subequal, and smooth (Fig. 4B). Infralabials bordered below by a row or two of slightly enlarged, much elongated scales, decreasing in size posteriorly. Ten supralabials up to angle of jaw and six at midorbital position on either side; supralabial I largest, rest of the series gradually decreasing in size posteriorly; eight infralabials up to angle of jaw and six at midorbital position on either side; infralabial I largest, gradually decreasing in size posteriorly (Fig. 4C).
Body relatively slender (BW/AGL 0.43), trunk less than half of SVL (AGL/SVL 0.38) without ventrolateral folds; short spine-like scales on flank present (Fig. 5A–C). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled granular scales intermixed with irregularly arranged rows of enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; tubercles in approximately 12 longitudinal rows at mid-body including short spine-like scales at lower flank; tubercles in paravertebral rows irregular (Fig. 5A, C). Ventral scales much larger than granular scales on dorsum, smooth, subcircular, subimbricate, subequal from chest to vent; mid-body scale rows across belly 30; 109 scales from mental to anterior border of cloaca (Fig. 5B). Scales on base of neck similar to those on belly; gular region with much smaller, subequal, smooth, flattened scales, those bordering postmentals enlarged, smooth, subcircular, and more or less flattened (Fig. 4B). Five femoral pores on left thigh and four on right, separated by seven poreless scales on left and six on right side from two precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by three poreless scales (Fig. 4D).
Scales on palms and soles small, smooth, rounded, and flattened; scales on dorsal aspects of limbs heterogeneous in shape and size; mixture of small granular, weakly keeled, imbricate scales that are twice the size of granules on body dorsum, largest on anterolateral aspect of hands and feet; scales on upper arm larger than lower; posterolateral aspect of limbs with small weakly keeled to smooth granular scales; ventral aspect of forelimbs with small, smooth, subimbricate scales, larger on lower arm than upper arm; ventral aspect of hindlimb with enlarged, smooth, flattened, subimbricate scales, slightly larger than body ventrals (Fig. 3A, B). Forelimbs and hindlimbs moderately long, slender (LAL/SVL 0.14; CL/SVL 0.19); digits long, with strong, recurved claw, distinctly inflected, distal portions laterally compressed conspicuously. Digits with unpaired lamellae, separated into a basal and narrower distal series by single enlarged lamella at inflection; basal lamellae series: (1-3-4-4-4 right manus, 1-4-5-8-5 right pes), (1-3-3-4-4 left manus, Fig. 4E; 1-4-5-8-5 left pes, Fig. 4F); distal lamellae series: (11-12-13-13-11 right manus, 11-12-14-14-14 right pes), (11-12-13-12-11 left manus, Fig. 4E; 11-12-14-14-14 left pes, Fig. 4F). Relative length of digits (measurements in mm in parentheses): IV (3.8) > III (3.5) > V (3.3) > II (3.1) > I (2.6) (left manus); IV (4.9) > V (4.2) = III (4.2) > II (3.7) > I (2.5) (left pes).
Tail original except tip (15.1 mm) which is regenerated, entire, subcylindrical, slender, slightly longer than snout-vent length (TL/SVL 1.28; Fig. 3C–E). Dorsal scales on tail base weakly keeled, granular, similar in size and shape to granular scales on mid-body dorsum, gradually becoming larger, flattened, imbricate posteriorly, intermixed with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles; enlarged tubercles on the tail forming whorls; six tubercles each on first eight whorls, four in whorls 9–11, only paravertebral tubercles in whorls 12–14, rest of tail tip regenerated (Fig. 3C, E).
Scales on ventral aspect of tail much larger than those on dorsal aspect, subimbricate, smooth; median series distinctly larger than rest, roughly pentagonal; scales on tail base slightly smaller than those on mid-body ventrals, smooth, imbricate; a single enlarged, smooth, and conical postcloacal spur on each side (Fig. 3D). (Agarwal et al. 2022)
Colouration in life (Fig. 6A). Dorsum of head, body, limbs and tail base mottled light brown. Head with some orange blotches and alternating yellow and dark bands on labials. Two orangish-brown postorbital streaks terminating anterior to forelimb insertions and one suborbital streak extending onto throat. A single black ocellus with a margin of orangish scales on neck. Dorsum with five light tan vertebral blotches from neck to tail base, orangish-brown blotches interspersed with smaller yellowish-grey spots on rest of dorsum and flank. Dorsum of limbs more muted than back, digits with alternating dark and light bands. Tail with five indistinct dark brown bands with a brown regenerated tail tip. Venter off-white, with black speckles under limbs and throat. (Agarwal et al. 2022)
Variation and additional information from type series. Mensural, meristic and additional character state data for the type series is given in Tables 1–3 respectively. There are four adult and two subadult males and two adult females, ranging in size from 31.3–41.3 mm (Fig. 7A). All paratypes resemble the holotype except as follows: tubercles in paravertebral rows regular in all adult paratypes (condition not discernible in subadults), upper postmentals in contact with each other below mental in NRC-AA-1207, NRC-AA-1208, and NRC-AA-1212; upper postmentals bordered by mental, infralabial I, outer postmental, median chin shield and by a single large chin scale on either side in all paratypes except NRC-AA-1206 in which bordered by two chin scales on left and single on right side. Outer postmental bordered by inner postmental, infralabials I & II in all types except NRC-AA-1206, additionally, bordered by four chin scales on left and three on right side in NRC-AA-1209, four chin scales on left and five on right side in NRC-AA-1212, outer postmental bordered by inner postmental, infralabials II in NRC-AA-1206; outer postmental separated from each other medially by three enlarged chin scales in NRC-AA-1205, NRC-AA-1207, NRC-AA-1209, NRC-AA-1210, and NRC-AA-1211. Five paratypes — NRC-AA-1208, NRC-AA-1209, NRC-AA-1210, NRC-AA-1211 and NRC-AA-1212 with original and complete tails, slightly longer than body except NRC-AA-1210 (TL/SVL 1.32, 1.29, 1.22 and 1.35 respectively), tail marginally longer than body in NRC-AA-1210 (TL/SVL 1.09), tail mostly or completely missing in NRC-AA-1205, NRC-AA-1206, and NRC-AA-1207; original tail faintly banded in all paratypes (Fig. 7A). (Agarwal et al. 2022)
|Etymology||The specific epithet is a patronym honouring the eminent ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali (1896–1987) for his immense contributions to field research and conservation in India.|
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