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Diplodactylus ameyi COUPER & OLIVER, 2016

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common NamesEastern Deserts Fat-tailed Gecko 
SynonymDiplodactylus ameyi COUPER & OLIVER 2016 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland, New South Wales)

Type locality: 3.4km NNE Noonbah homestead (24°04'51"S, 143°11’54”E) Queensland, Australia  
TypesHolotype. QM J90778 (Fig. 2), frozen tissue sample at South Australian Museum ABTC113844, collected by Mark Hutchinson.
Paratypes. Queensland. SAMA R63336, Winton, (22°27'S, 142°57'E); QM J92287, Winton (22°28'42"S, 142°53'31"E); AMS R110564, Camp 14km NE Scott’s Tank, Diamantina Lakes, NW of Windorah (23°45'S,141°40'E); AMS R110529, Scott’s Tank, Diamantina Lakes, NW of Windorah (23°58'S, 141°32'E); QM J83467, Noonbah Station (24°07'S, 143°11'E); QM J90774, Noonbah homestead, 3.4km NNE (24°04'51"S, 143° 11'54"E); QM J90170, Valetta Stn (24°15'21"S, 143°05'57"E); QM J59978 Jundah. ‘Noonbah Stn’ Rd to 'Waterloo Stn' in Bore Paddock (24°07'40"S, 143°11'30"E); QM J56888, Waterloo site 1 (24°16' S,143°13'E); AMS R 143856, Stonehenge area, within 10km N to S of Stonehenge (24°22'S, 143°19'E); QM J89191, Tyrone, approx 70km NW of Charleville - 3km S of old north Tyrone homestead (25°58'55"S, 145°44'17"E); QM J35697, Ambathala, 1km S Ra Tank (26°01' 30"S, 145°04'30"E); QM J79909, Mariala (26°05'S, 145°04'E); QM J74874, Mariala Nature Ref. (26°05'30"S, 145°04'15"E). New South Wales. AMS R158426, Sturt NP, Silver City Hwy, Wittabrinna Ck. Crossing (29°22'38"S, 142°02'08" E); AMS R132996, AMS R132997, Wanaaring, 4km W of Wanaaring at Turnoff to Wilcannia (29°42'S, 144°07'E); AMS R141988, Wanaaring (29°42'S, 144°09'E); AMS R165698, Nocoleche Nature Reserve, 11km W of Wanaaring - Wilcannia Rd (29°52'08"S, 144°00'34"E); AMS R165659, AMS R165697, AMS R166837, Nocoleche Nature Reserve, 11km West of Wanaaring - Wilcannia Road (29°52'08"S, 144°00'34" E); AMS R162733, AMS R165673, Lake Peery National Park (30°43'28"S, 143°29'15"E). 
CommentDiagnosis (conspicillatus species-group): A member of the Diplodactylus conspicillatus group as defined by the following combination of characters: most supralabials small and granular, at most only one enlarged anterior (first) supralabial; terminal lamellae on fingers at most only slightly wider than digit; prominent enlarged subdigital lamellae absent; tail short, as wide or wider than body, depressed with heterogeneous scalation, and bearing large plate-like scales and/or conical tubercules arranged in transverse rows; and dorsal colouration extremely variable, but lacking large well defined bands or blotches.

Diagnosis: A large member of the D. conspicillatus group (max SVL = ~60 mm) in which the first supralabial is small and does not contact the ventral edge of nasal scale (Fig. 3). Snout broad and ‘U’-shaped snout (dorsal view, Fig. 4A), convex along its dorsal edge and lacking a well-defined canthus rostralis (Fig. 5A). The canthal stripe is absent or poorly defined (Figs 1, 2, 4A, 5A, 6 & 7 - top row, in Couper & Oliver 2016).

Comparisons. Diplodactylus ameyi sp. nov. can be distinguished from Diplodactylus barraganae Couper, Oliver & Pepper (in Oliver et. al., 2014) Diplodactylus bilybara Couper, Pepper & Oliver (in Oliver et. al., 2014), D. conspicillatus Lucas & Frost (1897) Diplodactylus custos Couper, Oliver & Pepper (in Oliver et. al., 2014), Diplodactylus hillii Longman (1915) and Diplodactylus laevis Sternfield (1924) in possessing a small first supralabial that is not differentiated from the rest of the supralabial row (vs. enlarged and contacting ventral edge of nasal scale) and in lacking a well-defined canthal stripe (vs. canthal stripe well-defined). It further differs from D. bilybara, D. custos and D. laevis in lacking an acute attenuated extension at the tip of the original tail.
Diplodactylus ameyi sp. nov. differs from all known populations of D. platyurus (which may be composite, containing at least two additional candidate taxa - lineages G & H in Oliver et al., 2014) in having a broad U- shaped snout (dorsal view) which is convex along its dorsal edge and lacks a well-defined canthus rostralis (Figs 2, 4A, 5A, 6, 7 top row). All `D. platyurus’ populations have finely tapered (V-shaped) snouts with a prominent canthus rostralis, suggesting significant differences in the underlying skull morphology (Figs 1, 4B, 5B & C, 7 middle and bottom rows). Diplodactylus ameyi sp. nov. tends to have more scales contacting the posterior edge of the rostral shield (8–13, 10.5 ± 1.3 vs. 5–10, 7.9 ± 1.4 in `D. platyurus’). Diplodactylus ameyi sp. nov. also obtains a greater SVL (max SVL = ~60 mm vs. <56 mm in `D. platyurus’) (Figure 7). 
EtymologyNamed for Dr Andrew Amey for his contributions to documenting Australia’s herpetofauna and promoting access to the Queensland Museum’s reptile and amphibian collections. 
  • COUPER, PATRICK J.; PAUL M. OLIVER 2016. A new species of gecko from arid inland regions of eastern Australia (Diplodactylus; Diplodactylidae). Zootaxa 4093 (4): 525–538 - get paper here
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