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Cnemaspis smaug PAL, MIRZA, DSOUZA & SHANKER, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis smaug PAL, MIRZA, DSOUZA & SHANKER 2021 
DistributionIndia (Kerala)

Type locality: Mathikettan Shola National Park, Cardamom Hills (9.975°N, 77.241°E; 1364 m asl)  
TypesHolotype: BNHS 2615, adult male collected by Saunak Pal and team on 18th July 2011.
Paratypes: CESL 353 and CESL 355, adult males; CESL 251 and BNHS 2616, adult females; collected from near the same locality as that of the holotype by Saunak Pal and team on 16th July 2011 and 27th March 2011, respectively. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large sized, robust Cnemaspis species (SVL up to 52 mm) characterised by the presence of heterogenous dorsal scales, small granular scales intermixed with large, regularly arranged, keeled conical tubercles more pronounced towards the posterior end; absence of spine like tubercles on the flank; paired postmentals separated by a single median scale; 19–22 rows of middorsal tubercles, 27–30 tubercles in paravertebral rows; ventrals smooth, 142–150 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca; 30–34 midventral scales; a pair of postcloacal spur on each side; males with 7–8 precloacal pores, femoral pores absent; a row of enlarged scales from base of first toe till end of foot; tail with whorls of enlarged caudal tubercles; subcaudals smooth, median row enlarged, smooth, with pairs of smaller scales alternating with two individual larger ones; 7–9 supralabials to the angle of jaw; 20–22 lamellae on digit IV of pes. (Pal et al. 2022) 
CommentGroup: Belongs to the beddomei clade. 
EtymologyNamed after “Smaug”, the dragon from J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel, ‘The Hobbit’. The name is derived from the old German verb ‘smeuganan’ meaning “to creep” or “to squeeze through a hole”. The type specimens of this species were found within crevices of rocks and boulders inside the forest. Additionally, like dragons, the dorsum is armoured with large conical tubercles. 
  • Pal, S., Mirza, Z. A., Dsouza, P., & Shanker, K. 2021. Diversifying on the Ark: multiple new endemic lineages of dwarf geckos from the Western Ghats provide insights into the systematics and biogeography of South Asian Cnemaspis (Reptilia: Squamata). Zoological Research, 42(6): 675-691 - get paper here
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