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Darevskia salihae KURNAZ, ŞAHIN & EROGLU, 2022

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Lacertinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymDarevskia salihae KURNAZ, ŞAHIN & EROGLU 2022 
DistributionTurkey (Artvin Province)

Type locality: Yusufeli, Altıparmak Mountains in Barhal valley, Artvin.  
TypesHolotype: GUK 1/2021-1, collected from north of Yusufeli, Altıparmak Mountains in Barhal valley, Artvin Province in Eastern Black Sea (Lat: 40.957°N–Long: 41.325°E and about 1531 m a.s.l.) during a field study on 21 July 2021, by Muammer Kurnaz and Mehmet Kürşat Şahin.
Paratypes: GUK 1/2021-2-4 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Darevskia salihae sp. nov. is small sized (SVL: 51.79–58.98 mm) (Fig. 4a, b). Rostral and internasal is rarely in contact. Suboculars on both sides reach the mouth, four supralabials in anterior of suboculars. The first supratemporal plates are bigger than the others on each side of the head. All individuals have 4 supraocular plates on each side of the head. The supranasal plate is separated from anterior loreal plates above nostrils in all specimens. The postnasal plate is single on each side in all specimens. Massetericum is large and present in each side of temporal region. The row of supraciliar granules for all individuals is complete. 23–25 gularia between the third inframaxillary and collars. Generally, 6 longitudinal rows of ventral plates, and 24–30 ventral series in a longitudinal row along the belly between collar and preanal; 39–43 (mean 41) smooth dorsal midbody scales. 17–19 femoral pores exist on the right side. 22–25 lamellae exist beneath the 4th toe. The dorsal body scales in the midbody are tiny and flat. Subdigital lamellae in the 4th toe is smooth. The anal plate is singular in all specimens. Tibial scales are not carinated. (Kurnaz et al. 2022).

Comparisons: All morphological characteristics of the five newly collected specimens of the newly described Darevskia species The highlighted differences from other close lizard species within this group are as follows: Firstly, while the number of dorsal scales in the middle of the body in D. salihae sp. nov. varies between 39–43, the closest species have at least 50 dorsal scales. Secondly, SVL of D. salihae sp. nov. is smaller than D. rudis and D. valentini. Finally, the coloration patterns of D. salihae sp. nov. are different than the closest species as: i) while blue spots in the margin of ventrale are present in D. rudis, D. valentini and D. portschinskii, D. salihae sp.nov. does not have these blue spots, ii) while the greenish coloration in the dorsum is present in D. rudis, D. valentini and D. portschinskii, D. salihae sp. nov. does not have this greenish coloration, iii) while ventral coloration of adult specimens of D. rudis, D. valentini and D. portschinskii is yellow-cream, D. salihae sp. nov. has white-cream coloration in its ventralia. (Kurnaz et al. 2022).

Color in life: The coloration of dorsum is generally grayish and light brownish with dark spots (occasionally spotting is reduced). Ventral coloration is white-cream color in adults and not spotted, with a little yellow in subadults with dark spotted margins of ventrales. There are no blue spots in the lateral of ventral in all specimens. The upper head coloration is light brown and dark spotted. The temporal region is dark brown with less maculation. (Kurnaz et al. 2022). 
EtymologyThe name of the new taxon was given in honor of Saliha Şahin, who is the mother of one of the authors, Mehmet Kürşat Şahin, who passed away recently. 
  • Kurnaz M, Şahin MK, Eroğlu Aİ. 2022. Hidden diversity in a narrow valley: Description of new endemic Palearctic rock lizard Darevskia (Squamata: Lacertidae) species from northeastern Turkey. Zool Stud 61:44 - get paper here
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