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Cnemaspis tigris KHANDEKAR, THACKERAY, & AGARWAL, 2022

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis tigris KHANDEKAR, THACKERAY, & AGARWAL 2022 
DistributionIndia (Chickballapur district, Karnataka)

Type locality: from near Kaiwara (13.3469°N, 77.9881°E; elevation ca. 910 m), Chickballapur district, Karnataka state, India,  
ReproductionOviparous; 2-3 eggs per clutch (Khandekar et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: NRC-AA-1159 (AK 885), adult male, collected by Akshay Khandekar, Swapnil Pawar and Vaibhav Patil, on 7th June 2019.
Paratypes: NRC-AA-1160 (AK 884), BNHS 2809 (AK 886), and BNHS 2810 (AK 887), adult males, BNHS 2811 (AK 888), adult female, same collection data as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length less than 32 mm (n=5). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled, granular scales in the vertebral and paravertebral region with a few scattered enlarged keeled tubercles, intermixed with about three irregularly arranged rows of large, weakly keeled tubercles on each side of flank, tubercles in lowest row largest, spine-like; six rows of dorsal tubercles; ventral scales smooth, imbricate, 23–25 scales across belly, 91–107 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca; subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; nine or 10 lamellae under digit I of manus and 9–11 lamellae under digit I of pes, 15–17 lamellae under digit IV of manus and 17–21 lamellae under digit IV of pes; males (n=4/5) with two femoral pores on each thigh separated on either side by 6–9 poreless scales from a continuous series of two (rarely three, n=1/4)) precloacal pores; tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles forming whorls; a median row of sub-caudals smooth, slightly enlarged. Dorsal colouration grey-brown; continuous light brown mid-dorsal streak runs from occiput to tail base, a single medial dark ocellus on mid-dorsal streak just anterior to forelimb insertions; five or six yellow-orange elongate blotches on dorsum, original tail with indistinct bands. (KHANDEKAR et al. 2022)

Comparisons: Cnemaspis tigris sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other six members of the mysoriensis clade on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: males with two femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by 6–9 poreless scales from two (rarely three) continuous precloacal pores (versus femoral pores absent, continuous series of 2–5 precloacal pores in C. avasabinae; three femoral pores on each thigh, separated by nine or ten poreless scales from continuous series of four precloacal pores in C. otai; a single femoral pore on each thigh, separated by ten poreless scales from continuous series of three precloacal pores in C. rishivalleyensis; three femoral pores on each thigh, separated by five or six poreless scales from two continuous precloacal pores in C. yercaudensis); six rows of dorsal tubercles at midbody (versus dorsal tubercles irregularly arranged at midbody in C. avasabinae; 7–10 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. stellapulvis); 23–25 ventral scales across belly at mid-body (versus 17–20 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. avasabinae; 18 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. otai; 20 or 21 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. mysoriensis; 20–22 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in stellapulvis; 18–20 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. yercaudensis); spine-like tubercles present on flank (versus spinelike tubercles absent on flank in C. avasabinae); a single distinct black dorsal ocellus on mid-dorsal streak just anterior to forelimb insertions (versus distinct black dorsal ocellus absent just anterior to forelimb insertions in C. mysoriensis and C. yercaudensis); a continuous light mid-dorsal streak runs from occiput onto tail base (versus a light mid-dorsal streak formed by seven fused, elongate chain-links that runs from occiput to tail base in C. otai and C. rishivalleyensis). (KHANDEKAR et al. 2022)

Coloration: Dorsal ground colouration of head, body and limbs brown-grey; head heavily mottled with small grey and brown blotches. A dark preorbital streak runs from nostril to orbit, two fine dark postorbital streaks extend till temporal region; supraciliaries and labials with alternating light and dark bars radiating out of the orbital region, snout reticulated. A straw-coloured mid-dorsal streak runs from occiput to regenerated part of the tail; dark medial ocellus outlined by a few orange scales anterior to forelimb insertions, flanked on either
side by brown blotch with fine black speckles; followed by five or six yellow-orange elongate blotches alternating with patches of brown scales interspersed with fewer dark scales. Flank with smaller dark and larger yellow blotches, enlarged spine-like tubercles yellow. Tail colouration of regenerated tail grey without bands. Dorsum of forelimbs with few light and dark blotches, hindlimbs with alternating dark and light bands and two strong dark horizontal streaks on the posterior of each femur, digits with distinct alternating dark and light bands. Ventral surfaces dull-white, underside of head and neck, throat yellow, fine black spots under forelimbs, minor markings on the throat and no dark markings on belly; underside of regenerated tail dull-white without any dark markings. Pupil black, iris bronze outlined by silver. (KHANDEKAR et al. 2022) 
CommentNatural history: Numerous individuals (n= > 30) of the new species were observed to be active in day-time on granite boulders < 2 m of height from the ground. All the individuals were only seen in the shaded and relatively cooler areas among the rocks. (KHANDEKAR et al. 2022) 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin tigris (tiger), treated here as a noun in apposition, referencing the tiger-like colour pattern in males of the new species with a strongly banded dorsum suffused with yellow. 
References
  • Khandekar A, Thackeray T, Agarwal I 2022. Three new cryptic species of South Asian Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata, Gekkonidae) from Karnataka, India. Vertebrate Zoology 72: 115-142 - get paper here
 
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