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Cnemaspis tubaensis QUAH, WOOD, ANUAR, MUIN & GRISMER, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Tuba Island Rock Gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis tubaensis QUAH, WOOD, ANUAR, MUIN & GRISMER 2020
Cnemaspis tubaensis — KHANDEKAR et al. 2020 
DistributionMalaysia (Langkawi Archipelago: Tuba Island)

Type locality: along the trail to Gua Wang Buluh cave, Tuba Island, Langkawi Archipelago, Kedah, Peninsular Malaysia (approximately 6°14’45.19”N 99°50’54.69”E; 58 m elevation)  
TypesHolotype: USMHC 2541, Adult male, collected at night at approximately 2130 hrs on 18 December 2018 by Evan S.H. Quah, Shahrul Anuar M.S. and Muin, M.A.
Paratypes:. females USMHC 2538–39 and 2542 bear the same collection data as the holotype. Male USMHC 2527 and females USMHC 2528–29 bear the same locality data as the holotype but were collected on 17 December 2018 at approximately 1000–1130 hrs in the daytime. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Cnemaspis tubaensis sp. nov. differs from all other species of the C. kumpoli group in having a unique combination of a maximum SVL of 37.0 mm; 10 or 11 supralabials; 8 or 9 infralabials; 15–18 semi-linearly arranged paravertebral tubercles; lateral caudal furrow present; lateral caudal tubercles on the anterior portion of the tail; caudal tubercles not encircling tail; five or six precloacal pores; 28 or 29 subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe; smooth ventrals; smooth subcaudals with an enlarged median row of scales; subcaudal region light grey and speckled with yellow; absence of light-colored ocelli on the shoulder region; no yellow postscapular band; dorsum light brown with sage-green blotches and black spots; flanks with scattered yellow spots; and the absence of black gular markings in both sexes.

Coloration in life. The dorsal ground coloration of the head and body is brown, and the top of the head and snout are marked with small black, and light-grey to sage-green spots. There is a thin, black postorbital stripe that runs from the eye to the nape and another faint, light-grey stripe from the lower corner of the eye to the retroarticular process of the jaw. Along the vertebral column are light-grey to sage-green paravertebral blotches that extend from the nape to the base of the tail. Running alongside the light-grey paravertebral blotches, are black spots scattered on the back and flanks that are more prominent on the nape, shoulder region, and anterior portion of the body, as well as smaller, light-grey spots scattered throughout. On the lower flanks, are prominent yellow spots and yellow tubercles scattered on the dorsum as well. The limbs and digits are light-brown and overlain with small, irregularly shaped, somewhat randomly arranged, black and light-grey to sage-green colored spots. Caudal bands are light-grey and brown, encircle the tail, and there are scattered black and light-yellow markings. The throat and gular region are immaculate yellow, while the rest of the venter and undersides of the limbs are light-grey with faint, dark stippling. There is faint, yellow speckling on the pectoral and abdominal regions. The subcaudal region is light-grey and speckled with yellow.

Comparison (Table 7). Cnemaspis tubaensis sp. nov. is distinguished by its higher number of supralabials from C. biocellata (10 or 11 versus 6–10), C. kumpoli (10 or 11 versus 7–9), C. monachorum (10 or 11 versus 7 or 8), and C. tarutaoensis (10 or 11 versus 8 or 9). It is further distinguished by its higher number of infralabials compared to C. kumpoli (8 or 9 versus 6–8), C. monachorum (8 or 9 versus 5–7) and C. niyomwanae (8 or 9 versus 6–8). Cnemaspis tubaensis sp. nov. also has fewer paravertebral tubercles than C. biocellata (15–18 versus 21–27), C. kumpoli (15–18 versus 28–35) and C. niyomwanae (15–18 versus 26–31). In addition, it can also be distinguished by its fewer number of 4th toe lamellae as compared to C. biocellata (28 or 29 versus 29–37), C. kumpoli (28 or 29 versus 34–41) and C. niyomwanae (28 or 29 versus 31–34). Based on colour pattern, the absence of a single ocellus in shoulder region distinguishes male C. tubaensis sp. nov. from males of C. biocellata and C. kumpoli. Similarly, the presence of red bands on the forelimbs and dark-red, dorsal blotches in males of C. kumpoli and C. niyomwanae (Grismer et al. 2014b) further distinguish them from C. tubaensis sp. nov. Cnemaspis tubaensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from its two closest relatives by its larger maximum SVL (37.0 versus 32.9 and 36.4mm in C. monachorum and C. tarutaoensis, respectively). It is further distinguished from the latter two species by the absence of dark, median gular markings. Other diagnostic characters that separate C. tubaensis sp. nov. from other species of the kumpoli group are summarized in Table 7 (in Quah et al. 2020: 153).

From the two other species of Cnemaspis found in the Langkawi Archipelago; C. mahsuriae and C. roticanai, C. tubaensis sp. nov. can be distinguished by the absence of keeled subtibial and ventral scales (Grismer & Chan 2010; Grismer et al. 2015b). Cnemaspis tubaensis sp. nov. can be further distinguished from C. roticanai by its higher number of supralabials (10 or 11 versus 7–9), fewer paravertebral tubercles (15–18 versus 25–27), the absence of keeled subcaudals, and the absence of a yellow to white, prescapular crescent (Grismer & Chan 2010). from C. mahsuriae, C. tubaensis sp. nov. can be further distinguished by its fewer paravertebral tubercles (15–18 versus 21–24), more lamellae on the fourth toe (28 or 29 versus 23–26) and pattern on flanks (yellow spots versus faint yellow bars) (Grismer et al. 2015b). Moreover, C. mahsuriae and C. roticanai are forest associated species found from the mid to upper elevations at Gunung Raya on Langkawi Island whereas C. tubaensis sp. nov. is presently only known from the karst outcrops at lower elevations in the vicinity of Gua Wang Buluh Cave on Tuba Island. 
CommentHabitat: karst faces and boulders both during the day and night. Some specimens were observed at the entrance of the Gua Wang Buluh Cave but none were found inside.

Activity: diurnal, as geckos were highly alert during the day. At night, they were found sheltering in cracks and crevices in the karst and easier to approach.

Syntopy: Cyrtodactylus dayangbuntingensis, Gehyra mutilata. In the vicinity were Bronchocela cf. rayaensis, Draco blanfordii, Boiga cyanea. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet tubaensis is in reference to the type locality of this species on Tuba Island of the Langkawi Archipelago, Kedah, Peninsular Malaysia. 
  • QUAH, EVAN S. H.; PERRY L. JR. WOOD, M.S. SHAHRUL ANUAR, MOHD ABDUL MUIN 2020. A new species of Cnemaspis Strauch 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Langkawi Archipelago, Kedah, Peninsular Malaysia with an updated checklist of the herpetofauna of Tuba Island. Zootaxa 4767 (1): 138–160 - get paper here
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