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Cnemaspis shevaroyensis KHANDEKAR, GAITONDE & AGARWAL, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesShevaroy dwarf gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis shevaroyensis KHANDEKAR, GAITONDE & AGARWAL 2019: 87 
DistributionIndia (Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: near Kottachedu Kari Raman Temple, Yercaud, in the Shevaroys (11.819° N 78.270° E; ca. 811 m asl.), Salem district, Tamil Nadu state, India  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. NCBS-BH674, adult male, collected by A. Khandekar, I. Agarwal and N. Gaitonde on 13 September 2018.
Paratypes. BNHS 2530, BNHS 2531, adult males, NCBS-BH675, NCBS-BH674, BNHS 2529, adult females, same data as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and comparison with Indian congeners: A medium-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length less than 35 mm. Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, weakly keeled, granular scales intermixed with large, strongly keeled, conical scales, 10–14 rows of dorsal scales, 13–17 scales in paravertebral rows; spine-like scales absent on flanks. Ventral scales smooth, subimbricate, 21–24 scales across belly, 111–118 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca. Subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; lamellae under IV digit of pes 16–20. Males with four femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by 7–9 poreless scales from 2–4 precloacal pores; precloacal pores separated medially by two or three poreless scales. Tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles forming whorls; a median row of sub-caudals smooth, enlarged. Dorsum with 6–8 light grey vertebral blotches between neck to tail base; two single dorsal ocelli on occiput and between forelimb insertions, two pairs on either side just anterior and posterior to forelimb insertions; throat off-white, strongly suffused yellow on lateral margins with three black longitudinal streaks running parallel to each other; original tail in males with alternating black and whitish-grey bands, regenerated tail orange.
Cnemaspis shevaroyensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Indian congeners on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: spine-like tubercles absent on flanks (versus spine-like tubercles present on flanks in C. amboliensis, C. assamensis, C. flaviventralis, C. goaensis, C. jerdonii, C. littoralis, C. monticola, C. mysoriensis and C. nilagirica); scales on dorsal aspect of trunk heterogeneous (versus scales on dorsal aspect of trunk homogeneous in C. adii, C. assamensis, C. australis, C. boiei, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kolhapurensis, C. littoralis, C. nilagirica and C. sisparensis); tail with median row of sub-caudal scales smooth and enlarged (versus median row of sub-caudal scales smooth and not enlarged in C. ajijae, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. limayei; and C. monticola; C. australis with keeled sub-caudals), absence of keeled scales on the venter or gular regions (versus keeled scales on the venter or gular region in C. beddomei and C. goaensis), males with four femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by 7–9 poreless scales from 2–4 precloacal pores; precloacal pores separated medially by two or three poreless scales (versus precloacal pores absent, femoral pores present in C. ajijae, C. anaikattiensis, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kottiyoorensis, C. limayei, C. littoralis, C. mahabali, C. sisparensis, C. heteropholis, C. wynadensis; only precloacal pores present in C. anamudiensis, C. beddomei, C. maculicollis, C. nairi, C. ornata; both femoral and precloacal pores absent in C. boiei, C. assamensis; three femoral and four precloacal pores present in C. otai; two femoral and two precloacal pores on each thigh in C. adii; four or five femoral and three precloacal pores in C. australis; 2–4 femoral and three precloacal pores in C. goaensis; 4–6 femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by eight poreless scales from four precloacal pores; precloacal pores separated medially by a single poreless scale in C. agarwali; 5–9 femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by 1–6 poreless scales from five or six precloacal pores; precloacal pores separated medially by one or two poreless scales in C. thackerayi sp. nov.; two femoral and two precloacal pores in C. mysoriensis; three femoral and two precloacal pores in C. yercaudensis; a continuous series of 26–28 precloacal-femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis).
Cnemaspis shevaroyensis sp. nov. closely resembles C. gracilis, C. agarwali, and C. thackerayi sp. nov. However, it can be distinguished from all three by presence of four femoral pores on each thigh and 2–4 precloacal pores separated medially by two or three poreless scales (versus 4–6 femoral pores on each thigh and four precloacal pores separated medially by a single poreless scale in C. agarwali; 5–9 femoral pores on each thigh and five or six precloacal pores separated medially by one or two poreless scales in C. thackerayi sp. nov.); lamellae under digit IV of pes 16–20 (versus lamellae under digit IV of pes 22 in C. gracilis; 21–24 in C. thackerayi sp. nov.); maximum snout to vent length 34 mm (versus maximum SVL 41 mm in C. thackerayi sp. nov.); by having 10–14 rows of dorsal scales (versus 9–11 rows of dorsal scales in C. agarwali); presence of two single dorsal ocelli on occiput and between forelimb insertions, two pairs on either side just anterior and posterior to forelimb insertions (versus presence of two single dorsal ocelli on occiput and between forelimb insertions in C. gracilis; presence of single dorsal ocellus between forelimb insertions in C. thackerayi sp. nov.). Additionally, Cnemaspis shevaroyensis sp. nov. is 10.3 % divergent from C. gracilis; 13.3 % divergent from C. cf. gracilis 7.9 % divergent from C. agarwali and 13.6 % divergent from C. thackerayi sp. nov. (Table 2). 
CommentHabitat: The species was encountered during a few hours of fieldwork in perennial stream during the day (1230h) on rocky boulders situated in a teak plantation. The forest type was dry deciduous with partial canopy cover (Fig. 11 C). The active male holotype (NCBS-BH674; Fig. 6 E) and paratypes were collected from a dry culvert inside a large cement pipe. The culvert was also a communal oviposition site and contained a few hatched and unhatched eggs along with the gravid female paratype (BNHS 2529; Fig. 6 F). The species seems to prefer shaded areas as all collected specimens were from dark and cool spots during the day.

Sympatry: Hemidactylus frenatus, Hemidactylus parvimaculatus, Eutropis carinata, Eutropis macularia, Lygosoma albopunctata, and Calotes versicolor. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet shevaroyensis is a toponym for the Shevaroy massif in Salem district of Tamil Nadu, the type and only known locality for this species. 
References
  • KHANDEKAR, AKSHAY; NIKHIL GAITONDE, ISHAN AGARWAL 2019. Two new Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Shevaroy massif, Tamil Nadu, India, with a preliminary ND2 phylogeny of Indian Cnemaspis. Zootaxa 4609 (1): 68-100 - get paper here
 
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