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Diplodactylus custos COUPER, OLIVER & PEPPER, 2014

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesKimberley Fat-tailed gecko 
SynonymDiplodactylus custos COUPER, OLIVER & PEPPER in OLIVER et al. 2014: 39 
DistributionAustralia (NE Western Australia)

Type locality: The Grotto (15° 43’ 04” S, 128° 15’ 35” E) WA  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. WAM R164780.
Paratypes. WAM R77417, Port Warrender (14° 34’ S, 125° 48’ 15” E) WA; WAM R78243, Mitchell Plateau (14° 44’ S, 125° 44’ E) WA; WAM R172916, Doongan Stn (15° 13’ 44.5” S, 125° 12’ 30.4” E) WA; WAM R132713, 30km SSE Wyndham (15° 42’ 43” S, 128° 15’ 56” E) WA; SAMA R63942, The Grotto (15° 43’ 04” S, 128° 15’ 35” E) WA; WAM R162453, 20km W Kununurra (15° 45’ 59” S, 128° 40’ 18” S) WA;WAM R85120-21, Kununurra (15° 46’ S, 128°44’ E) WA; WAM R119666, Cockburn Ra. (15° 50’ S, 128° 02’ E) WA; WAM R172853, Ellen- brae Stn (15° 59’ 02” S, 127° 03’ 14” E) WA; WAM R145042, Koolan Island (16° 07’ 54” S, 123° 45’ 29” E) WA; WAM R11255, Wotjulum (16° 11’ S, 123° 37’ E) WA; WAM R172675, Talbot Bay (16° 20’ 07” S, 124° 03’ 10” E) WA; WAM R70374, near Lissadell homestead (16° 40’ S, 128° 23’ 13” E) WA; WAM R103420, WAM R103448, Bungle Bungle NP (17° 24’ S, 128° 45’ E) WA. 
CommentDiagnosis. A large member of the D. conspicillatus group (max SVL 61 mm) with a well-defined canthal stripe and a greatly enlarged first supralabial (first supralabial contacts ventral edge of nasal scale). Mid-dorsal scales on trunk plate-like and markedly larger than smaller dorsolaterals. Scales on nape granular and only slightly larger than granules on side of neck. Original tail with a short, acute attenuated extension at tip (Fig. 6F in OLIVER et al. 2014); scales on dorsal surface ar- ranged in transverse rows generally of uniform size but if smaller scale rows are present, these rarely form a double row and the small scales are ~ 1⁄2 the size of the scales in the adjacent large rows (Fig. 6F). Dark pigment on crown and snout generally not contrasting sharply with pale canthal stripe and lower jaw colour. Body pattern often diffuse and generally without nu- merous pale spots; may incorporate wavy, dark transverse bands.

Comparison. Diplodactylus custos sp. nov. is readily distinguished from D. platyurus in pos- sessing an enlarged first supralabial that contacts the ventral edge of the nasal scale (vs 1st supralabial small and not differentiated from the rest of the supralabial row). It is distinguished from D. conspicillatus, D. hillii and D. barraganae sp. nov. by the shape of its original tail (tail with short attenuated tip in D. custos sp. nov. vs tail blunt, spade-like without an attenuated tip). It is distinguished from D. laevis by the condition of the scales on the nape and top of head (scales granular and not appreciably larger than those on sides of neck in D.custos sp. nov. vs scales plate-like, appreciably larger than those on the sides of the neck). D. custos sp. nov. is most like D. bilybara sp. nov. but differs from this species in the following respects: scalation of original tail reasonably uniform; if smaller scale rows present, these rarely form a double row and the small scales are * 1⁄2 the size of the scales in the adjacent large rows vs distal half of original tail with alternating rows of large and small scales (generally 1 large row followed by 2 small rows)—scales in the small rows * 1⁄4 the size of the scales in the adjacent large rows for D. bilybara sp. nov.; dark pigment on crown and snout generally not contrasting sharply with pale canthal stripe and lower jaw colour vs dark pigment on crown and snout contrast marked- ly with pale canthal stripe and lower jaw colour which extends posteriorly towards the ear as a pale bar in D. bilybara sp. nov.; body pattern often diffuse and generally without numerous pale spots, usually with wavy, dark transverse bands across back vs trunk heavily pigmented and pattern usually incorporating numerous small pale spots for D. bilybara sp. nov. Addition- ally, D. custos sp. nov. usually has a shorter and less pronounced acute attenuated extension on the original tail tip than D. bilybara sp. nov. [OLIVER et al. 2014: 41].

Distribution: see map in OLIVER et al. 2014 (Fig. 3). 
EtymologyFrom the latin for guard, with reference to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and their ambitious and effective conservation and research programs in the Kimberley (where this species is endemic) and elsewhere in Australia. Used as a noun in apposition. 
References
  • Oliver PM, Couper PJ, Pepper M 2014. Independent Transitions between Monsoonal and Arid Biomes Revealed by Systematic Revison of a Complex of Australian Geckos (Diplodactylus; Diplodactylidae). PLoS ONE 9(12): e111895. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111895 - get paper here
 
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