Cnemaspis stellapulvis KHANDEKAR, THACKERAY & AGARWAL, 2020
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|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Stardust dwarf gecko|
|Synonym||Cnemaspis stellapulvis KHANDEKAR, THACKERAY & AGARWAL 2020|
Type locality: near Haddina Kallu Anjaneya Temple, at the base of granite rocky hillock near Yadiyur (12.989° N 76.790° E; ca. 800 m asl.), Mandya district, Karnataka state, India
|Types||Holotype. NCBS BH757 (AK 618), adult male, collected by Akshay Khandekar, Ishan Agarwal, Nikhil Gaitonde & Joshua Muyiwa, on 7 March 2019.|
Paratypes. NCBS BH759 (AK 620), NCBS-BH664 (AK 627), adult males, NCBS BH758, (AK 619), NCBS BH760 (AK 624), NCBS BH761 (AK 625), NCBS BH762 (AK 626), adult females, same collection data as holotype.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length less than 32 mm. Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled, granular scales in the vertebral and paravertebral region with a few scattered enlarged keeled tubercles, intermixed with about five irregularly arranged rows of large, weakly keeled tubercles on each side of flank, tubercles in lowest row largest, spine-like; 7–10 rows of dorsal tubercles. Ventral scales smooth, imbricate, 20–22 scales across belly, 90–107 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca. Subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; eight or nine lamellae under digit I of both manus and pes, 13–16 lamellae under digit IV of manus and 17–20 lamellae under digit IV of pes. Males with two or three femoral pores on each thigh separated on either side by eight poreless scales from a continuous series of two precloacal pores. Tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles forming whorls; a median row of sub-caudals smooth, slightly enlarged. Dorsal colouration brown-grey with numerous light grey spots on nape, body and limbs, males with a bright yellow throat, neck and supraciliaries; a light mid-dorsal streak runs from occiput to third row of tubercles on tail, single medial dark ocellus just anterior to forelimb insertions, indistinct dark crossbars on the back sometimes present, tail indistinctly banded (Khandekar et al. 2020).|
Colouration in life. (Figure 4 A) Dorsal ground colouration brown-grey; with numerous light grey spots and fewer dark speckles on nape, body and limbs; head mottled with fine dark speckles and larger light grey blotches. Indistinct dark preorbital streak, postorbital streaks not visible; labials light yellow or brown with darker bars; anterior half of supraciliaries bright yellow. A light brown mid-dorsal streak runs from occiput to third row of tubercles on tail base; occiput with a faint spot; a dark medial ocellus just anterior to forelimb insertions; tail colouration more washed out than body, with 13 indistinct darker bands. Dorsum of forelimbs with few light and dark blotches, hindlimbs with brown bands and two strong dark streaks on the posterior of femur, digits with alternating dark and light bands. Ventral surfaces dull-white, underside of head and neck throat bright yellow fading out between hindlimb insertions, fine black spots under limbs, no dark markings on belly or throat, underside of tail lined laterally by a fine dark border. Pupil black, iris bronze outlined by silver (Khandekar et al. 2020).
Comparison with members of C. mysoriensis clade: Cnemaspis stellapulvis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other five members of the C. mysoriensis clade on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: males with two or three femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by eight poreless scales from two continuous precloacal pores (versus single femoral pore on each thigh, separated on either side by ten poreless scales from continuous series of three precloacal pores in C. rishivalleyensis; three femoral pores, separated on either side by five or six poreless scales from two continuous precloacal pores in C. yercaudensis; three femoral pores, separated on either side by nine or ten poreless scales from continuous series of four precloacal pores in C. otai; femoral pores absent, continuous series of 2–5 precloacal pores in C. avasabinae); 7–10 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body (versus 4–6 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. mysoriensis and C. rishivalleyensis; five or six rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. yercaudensis; dorsal tubercles irregularly arranged at mid-body in C. avasabinae); 20–22 ventral scales across belly (versus 18 ventral scales across belly in C. otai; 23–25 ventral scales across belly in C. rishivalleyensis; 17–20 ventral scales across belly in C. avasabinae); spine-like tubercles present on flank (versus spine-like tubercles absent on flank in C. avasabinae); a single distinct black dorsal ocellus on mid-dorsal streak between forelimb insertions (versus distinct black dorsal ocellus absent between forelimb insertions in C. mysoriensis and C. yercaudensis) (Khandekar et al. 2020).
|Etymology||The specific epithet is a noun formed by the combination of the Latin words stella and pulvis meaning stardust, an allusion to the prominent grey spots on the dorsum of the new species.|
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