Cnemaspis zacharyi CYRIAC, PALOT, DEUTI & UMESH, 2020
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|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Synonym||Cnemaspis zacharyi CYRIAC, PALOT, DEUTI & UMESH 2020|
|Distribution||India (N Kerala: Wayanad district)|
Type locality: rock crevice in Lakkidi, Wayanad (11°30′52.56′′N; 76°2′20.4′′E) at an elevation of 850 m elevation in Wayanad district of Kerala
|Types||Holotype: BNHS 2735, adult male of SVL 61.1 mm, collected on 13 February 2014 by P.K. Umesh.|
Paratypes: BNHS 2736, adult female of SVL 61.9 mm; BNHS 2737, adult male of SVL 59.3 mm; ZSI/WRC/R/1087, adult fe- male of SVL 63.7 mm; ZSI/WRC/R/1088, subadult male of SVL 50.7 mm; all of which were collected on the same date and locality as that of the holotype. BNHS 2738, adult female of SVL 65.2 mm, collected from a small cave in Settukunnu, Wayanad District (11°37′8.15′′N; 75°59′30.16′′E), Kerala at an elevation of 894 m ASL on 26 April 2013 by Vivek Philip Cyriac. ZSI/WRC/R/1089, an adult male of SVL 62.5 mm and ZSI/WRC/R/1090, an adult fe- male of SVL 58.2 mm, collected from a cave at Sugandhagiri, Way- anad District, Kerala (11°32′49.60′′N; 76°0′9.79′′E) at an elevation of 974 m ASL on 30 March 2013 by Vivek Philip Cyriac. BNHS 2739, an adult female of SVL 46.7 mm, collected from Elim- bilerimala in Meppadi, Wayanad District, Kerala (11°32′41.50′′N; 76°6′23.08′′E) at an elevation of 1106 m ASL on 09 September 2018 by Vivek Philip Cyriac and Umesh P.K.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A large-sized Cnemaspis with a maximum snout-vent length of 63.7 mm. Mid-dorsal scales are homogenous becoming more heterogeneous towards the flanks. Spine-like tubercles absent on flanks. Ventral scales of neck, pectoral and abdominal region smooth. Mid-ventral scale rows range from 25–28. Supralabials to the angle of jaw 6–7, infralabials 7–8. Subdigital lamellae under manus IV ranges from 23–26; under pes IV ranges from 23 – 27. Dorsal scales of tail homogenous and sub-imbricate without whorls of enlarged tubercles. Subcaudals smooth and enlarged. Post-cloacal spur absent on either side of the tail. Males have 5–6 femoral pores, no pre-cloacal pores and 22–24 poreless scales between femoral pores.|
Cnemaspis zacharyi sp. nov. differs from all other congeners by the following characters: mid-dorsal scales homogenous (vs. dorsal scales heterogeneous in C. aaron baueri Sayyed, Grismer, Campbell & Dileepkumar, 2019, C. agarwali Khandekar, 2019, C. ajijae Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018, C. anandani Murthy, Nitesh, Sengupta & Deepak, 2019, C. andersonii (Annandale, 1905), C. amboliensis Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018, C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot, 2018, C. australis Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. beddomei (Theobald, 1876), C. fla viventralis Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2016, C. girii Mirza, Pal, Bhosale & Sanap, 2014, C. goaensis Sharma, 1976, C. gracilis (Beddome, 1870), C. limayei Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018, C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh & Palot, 2018, C. mahabali Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, 2018, C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. nairi Inger, Marx & Koshy, 1984, C. ornata (Beddome, 1870), C. otai Das & Bauer, 2000, C. shevaroyensis Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, 2019, C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, 2019, C. wicksii (Stoliczka, 1873) and C. yer caudensis Das & Bauer, 2000); the absence of spine-like tubercles on flanks (vs. presence of spine-like tubercles on the flanks in C. anandani, C. andersonii, C. amboliensis, C. assamensis Das & Sengupta, 2000, C. flaviventralis, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. indraneildasii Bauer, 2002, C. jerdonii (Theobald, 1868), C. littoralis (Jerdon, 1854), C. monticola, C. mysoriensis (Jerdon, 1853), C. nila girica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. otai and C. wicksii); presence of only 5 – 6 femoral pores and absence of pre-cloacal pores in males (vs. presence of ≤ 5 femoral pores in C. ajijae, C. flavi ventralis, C. girii, C. indica Gray, 1846, C. limayei and C. mahabali; presence of both femoral and pre-cloacal pores in C. adii Srinivasulu, Kumar & Srinivasulu, 2015, C. agarwali, C. andersonii, C. amboliensis, C. australis, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. mysoriensis, C. otai, C. she varoyensis, C. thackerayi, C. wicksii and C. yercauden sis; presence of only pre-cloacal pores in C. aaronbaueri, C. anamudiensis, C. beddomei, C. maculicollis, C. nairi and C. ornata; absence of both femoral and pre-cloacal pores in C. boiei (Gray, 1842) and C. assamensis; ventral scales smooth (vs. keeled ventrals in C. anandani, C.nilagirica,C.australisandC.monticola);medianrow of subcaudals enlarged (vs. median subcaudal scales not enlarged in C. adii, C. ajijae, C. andersonii, C. australis, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. gracilis and C. limayei). Cnemaspis zacharyi sp. nov. closely resembles other members of the wynadensis clade which includes C. wynadensis, C. kottiyoorensis C. kolhapurensis, C. chen godumalaensis sp. nov., C. sisparensis and C. hetero pholis. It can be differentiated from C. wynadensis, C. kot tiyoorensis and C. kolhapurensis by its large adult size (51–65mm) (vs. small to medium adult size ranging from ca 30 – 42 mm in all three species), greater number of lamellae on the IV manus (23 – 26) and IV pes (23 – 27) (vs. 18 – 20 on manus and 20 – 23 on pes in C. kottiyooren sis; 11 – 15 on manus and 15 – 17 on pes in C. kolhapuren sis; 15 – 17 on manus and 16 – 19 on pes in C. wynadensis) and by the presence of 5 – 6 femoral pores in males (vs. 4 – 5 femoral pores in C. kottiyoorensis and a continuous series of 24 – 28 femoral-precloacal pores in C. kolhapurensis). Cnemaspis zacharyi sp. nov. can be differentiated from C. chengodumalaensis sp. nov., C. heteropholis and C. sisparensis by its homogenous mid-dorsal scales (vs. mid-dorsal scales heterogenous in C. chengodumalaensis sp. nov., C. heteropholis and C. sisparensis) and the larger number of mid-ventral scale rows (25 – 28) and poreless scales between femoral pores (21 – 24) (vs. 19 – 23 midventral scale rows and 14 – 16 poreless scales between femoral pores in C.chengodumalaensis sp. nov. and C. heteropholis).
Colouration in life (Fig. 5). Head brown with dark brown mottling and with two dark-edged yellowish lines extending from the anterior of the eye to the nares. Two dark-edged yellowish streaks extend from the posterior corner of each eye towards the nape. Another yellowish streak extends from the lower posterior portion of the eye to the ear opening and yet another from the lower poste- rior portion of eye to the angle of the jaw. Lateral sides of the head and neck are dark brown with several yellowish spots. Ventral side of the head and neck are dark grey. Mid-dorsum region light brown with a vertebral series of five black elongated spots, each interrupted in between by a broad yellowish transverse band that is thicker in the center. Lateral sides and flanks are dark brown mottled with several yellowish spots. Dorsal side of forelimbs and hindlimbs are brown with darker markings and few yellowish patches. Ventral side of the body, forelimbs and hindlimbs are greyish white. Dorsal side of the tail is brown with broad dark brown irregular transverse bars; ventral side is greyish white.
|Comment||Habitat: terrestrial and saxicolous, found only in thick evergreen forests and adjacent plantations close to streams. Most individuals of this species were observed within rock crevices in boulders adjoining forest streams. Few individuals were also observed in small cave systems in Sugandhagiri and Tholicode in Wayanad.|
Activity: C. zacharyi was found active and foraging during the night between 20 – 22 hrs suggesting that this species is predominantly nocturnal. However, some individuals were also observed to be active during the day.
Sympatry: C. wynadensis, an unidentified small-sized Cnemaspis species which is predominantly arboreal and Dravidogecko septentrionalis.
|Etymology||The species name zacharyi is derived from Zachary, an English variant of the name Zachariah, which is a patronym in honour of Dr Anil Zachariah for his contributions towards Indian herpetology, especially towards the conservation of amphibians in the southern Western Ghats. Dr Zachariah has also encouraged and supported the authors in organizing and planning several field visits across the Western Ghats of Kerala.|
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