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Diploderma vela (WANG, JIANG, PAN, HOU, SILER & CHE, 2015)

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Sail Moutain Lizards, Sail Japalura
Chinese: Fan Bei Pan Xi (帆背攀蜥) 
SynonymJapalura vela WANG, JIANG, PAN, HOU, SILER & CHE 2015
Japalura yunnanensis — VOGT 1924: 338
Japalura flaviceps — HU et al. 1987: 112
Japalura flaviceps — POPE 1935: 467
Japalura flaviceps ZHAO & JIANG 1977: 293 –298
Japalura flaviceps ZHAO et al. 1999: 111–115
Japalura flaviceps LI et al. 2010: 115
Japalura sp. A — MANTHEY et al. 2012
Diploderma vela — WANG et al. 2018 
DistributionChina (Tibet, Yunnan)

Type locality: Quzika of Markam, eastern Tibet, PR China (29°5' N, 98°36' E), at elevation of 2370 m  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: KIZ 013801 (Figures 1–4, 6), adult male, collected by Ke JIANG and Kai WANG on May 23rd, 2013. Paratypes Two adult females (KIZ013802 and KIZ013813) and eight adult males (KIZ013800 and KIZ013805–013811) all share the same data as the holotype, collected by Ke JIANG, Kai WANG, and Duan YOU. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Following Inger’s (1960) definition of the genus, the new species is assigned to Japalura based on a number of diagnostic characters, including: 1) dorsal scales unequal in size, 2) presence of enlarged crest scales, 3) presence of gular sac, 4) presence of lateral fold of skin in axilla–groin region, 5) supraciliary scales greatly imbricate; 6) head relatively long, flat; 7) tail long, slender; 8) tail cylindrical in shape; and 9) absence of precloacal or femoral pores.
The new species differs from all known congeners by the following combination of characters: 1) small adult size (SVL 56–69 mm in males, 59–66 mm in females); 2) moderate tail length (TAL/SVL 1.92–2.06 in males, 1.85–1.86 in females); 3) moderate hind limb length (HLL/SVL 0.72–0.81); 4) T4S 24 or 25; 5) tympanum concealed; 6) transverse gular fold present; 7) gular pouch present; 8) axillary folds present; 9) males with pronounced, continuous, sail-like vertebral crest along entire length of body from posterior margin of head to base of tail; 10) ground body coloration black in males, medium to dark brown in females; 11) white coloration on ventral surface of body in males; 12) presence of white transverse streaks on dorsal head; 13) presence of black radiated streaks around eyes; 14) ventral surface of head with prominent black vermiculate stripes; 15) gular spots absent; 16) presence of distinct, jagged, yellowish-white dorsolateral stripes in males; and 17) presence of faint, reddish, dorsolateral lines restricted to anterior half of axilla–groin region in females.

Comparisons Japalura vela sp. nov. was previously recognized as J. flaviceps (Hu et al., 1987; Li et al., 2010; Zhao and Jiang, 1977), but it can be distinguished easily from the latter by having a greater number of T4S (24 or 25 vs. 21–23), a smaller adult body size (maximum SVL up to 69mm vs. to 83mm), a relatively shorter snout (ratio of SEL/HL 0.33–0.38 vs. 0.39–0.44), a pronounced, sail- like, and continuous vertebral crest in males (vs. weak or discontinuous with a clear break in the skin fold between the nuchal and dorsal regions of the body), a black dorsal background coloration in males (vs. brownish gray), black (in males) or brown (in females) rectangular patches on the dorsal surface of the body along the midline (vs. a lateral series of dark brown rhombs with yellow centers), as well as by the presence of multiple distinct transverse streaks on the dorsal surface of the head (vs. absent, significantly faded, or in low numbers), and the presence of distinct radiated streaks around the eyes (vs. absent).
The new species is morphologically most similar to J. batangensis, J. micangshanensis, J. zhaoermii, and J. variegata in external morphology, with all five species having transverse streaks on the dorsal surface of the head, distinct radiated streaks around the eyes, pronounced vertebral crest in males, and dorsolateral stripes that run parallel to the dorsal midline in males. However, males of the new species can be distinguished from males of the latter four species by having a pronounced, sail-like, continuous vertebral crest running along the entire length of the body, with no distinct break between the nuchal and dorsal sections (vs. discontinuous or having a clear break between the two sections). Additionally, the new species differs from J. batangensis by having a greater number of T4S (24 or 25 vs. 18–22), a tendency towards longer hind limbs (ratio of HLL/SVL 0.72–0.81 vs. 0.65–0.75), a white coloration on ventral surface of body in males (vs. bright yellow), as well as by the presence of unclear reddish lines dorsolaterally in females (vs. absent or presence of distinct dorsolateral stripes), and the absence of a distinct gular spot (vs. always present in males, often in females, greenish blue); from J. micangshanensis by having a black dorsal background coloration in males (vs. brownish), as well as by the presence of a gular fold (vs. absent), the presence of distinct black vermiculate stripes on the ventral surface of the head (vs. absent), and by the presence of unclear reddish lines dorsolaterally in females in life (vs. absent); from J. zhaoermii by having a smaller adult body sizes (maximum SVL up to 69 mm vs. to 85 mm), as well as by the absence of a gular spot (vs. present in males, yellowish green), and the presence of distinct, narrow, black vermiculate stripes on ventral surface of heads in males (vs. indistinct, broad stripes that fade significantly towards the center of the gular pouch); and from J. variegata by having fewer MD (41–51 vs. 54–67), a black dorsal background coloration (vs. olive green), as well as by the absence of black reticulated patterns on the lateral surface of the body (vs. present), and by the absence of a gular spot (vs. present, violet).
Japalura vela sp. nov. can also be distinguished from the congeners that distribute along the same river or in close proximity. The new species can be distinguished from J. yunnanensis, which occupies the lower reaches of Lancang River, by having a shorter tail (ratio of TAL/ SVL ≤ 2.06 vs. ≥ 2.25), one or two scales between nasal and the first SL (vs. in direct contact), a black ground coloration of the dorsal surface of the body in males (vs. brown or olive green), as well as by the absence of a distinct gular spot in males (vs. present in males, light yellow), and the presence of prominent black vermiculate stripes on the ventral surface of the head (vs. absent). For species from adjacent areas, the new species differs from J. brevicauda by having a longer tail (ratio of TAL/SVL ≥ 1.85 vs. ≤ 1.45), longer fore-limbs (ratio of FLL/SVL ≥ 0.45 vs. ≤ 0.40), longer hind limbs (ratio of HLL/SVL ≥ 0.72 vs. ≤ 0.64), greater number of T4S (24 or 25 vs. 16–20), as well as by the presence of a distinct gular pouch (vs. not visible); and from J. yulongensis by having a shorter tail (ratio of TAL/SVL ratio < 2.06 vs. >2.23), as well as by the absence of a distinct gular spot in preserved male specimens (vs. present, dark in preservation).
The new species J. vela sp. nov. can be easily distinguished from the remaining mainland congeners by having distinct ornamentations and obvious morphological characteristics without detailed comparisons of pholidosis. The new species differs from J. andersoniana by having shorter hind limbs (ratio of HLL/SVL 0.72–0.81 vs. 0.88–1.10); from J. fasciata by the absence of pale-blue, hourglass-shaped pattern on mid body (vs. present); from J. grahami by having a greater number of MD (41–45 vs. 10); from J. otai Mahony, 2009, J. sagittifera Smith, 1940, and J. planidorsata Jerdon, 1870 by having a un-depressed body shape (vs. vertically depressed), as well as by the presence of two distinct, broad dorsolateral stripes in males (vs. absence or distinctively narrow), and the absence of a light vertebral strip on the dorsal surface of the body (vs. present); from J. dasi, J. dymondi, J. kumaonensis, J. tricarinata (Blyth, 1854), and J. varcoae by having a concealed tympanum (vs. exposed); from J. major (Jerdon, 1870) by having a concealed tympanum (vs. mostly exposed), a black ground coloration with white spots on the lateral surface of the body in males (vs. olive ground color, reticulated with black on the lateral sides), a uniform white coloration on ventral surface of the body (vs. speckled with black), as well as by the absence of white lip-stripes below the eyes (vs. present); from J. splendida by having a smaller adult body size (maximum SVL < 69 mm vs. <92 mm), jagged dorsolateral stripes in males (vs. with smooth edges), a black (males) or brown (females) ground coloration of the dorsal surface of the body (vs. gray or green), as well as by the presence of pronounced, continuous, sail- like vertebral crest in males (vs. feebly developed and discontinuous); from J. hamptoni Smith, 1935 by having parallel, strongly jagged dorsolateral stripes in males (vs. diagonally away from the dorsal midline and with smooth edges); and from J. chapaensis Bourret, 1937 by having fewer T4S (24 to 25 vs. 28), a light-pink coloration of the oval cavity in life (vs. yellow), as well as by the absence of distinct gular spot (vs. present in males, yellow), and the absence of reticulated black pigmentation on the lateral surface of the body (vs. present).
Additionally, the new species differs from all island species (J. breviceps Gressit, 1936; J. luei Ota, Chen and Shang, 1998; J. makii Ota, 1989; J. polygonata polygonata (Hallowell, 1860); J. polygonata donan Ota, 2003; J. polygonata ishigakiensis Van Denburgh, 1912; J. polygonata xanthostoma Ota, 1991; and J. swinhonis Günther, 1864) by having a transverse gular fold (vs. absent), a black ground coloration of the dorsal surface of the body in males (vs. brown or green), the parallel dorsolateral stripes (vs. absent or diagonally away from dorsal midline), and a terrestrial lifestyle (vs. arboreal), as well as by the absence of a distinct gular spot in males (vs. present). 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe Latin word vela means “sail”, which describes the shape of the pronounced and continuous vertebral crest as the diagnostic morphology of the males of the new species. 
References
  • CALDERÓN-ESPINOSA, MARTHA LUCIA & GUIDO FABIAN MEDINA-RANGEL 2016. A new Lepidoblepharis lizard (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) from the Colombian Guyana shield. Zootaxa 4067 (2): 215–232
  • Hu S. et al. 1987. Amphibia-Reptilia of Xizang. [In Chinese] Beijing: Science Press, 153 pp.
  • Li P. P., Zhao E. M., Dong B. J. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Tibet. [In Chinese] Beijing: Science Press, 251 pp.
  • MANTHEY, ULRICH; WOLFGANG DENZER, HOU MIAN & WANG XIAOHE 2012. Discovered in historical collections: Two new Japalura species (Squamata: Sauria: Agamidae) from Yulong Snow Mountains, Lijiang Prefecture, Yunnan, PR China. Zootaxa 3200: 27–48
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Pope, CLIFFORD H. 1935. The Reptiles of China. Turtes, Crocodilians, Snakes, Lizards. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., New York, Nat. Hist. Central Asia, 10: lii, 1-604
  • Vogt T. 1924. Reptilien und amphibien aus Szetschwan, Osttibet und Tschili. Zoologischer Anzeiger 60 (11/12): 337–344
  • WANG, Kai; , Ke JIANG, Gang PAN, Mian HOU, Cameron D. SILER and Jing CHE 2015. A New Species of Japalura (Squamata: Sauria: Agamidae) from Upper Lancang (Mekong) Valley of Eastern Tibet, China Asian Herpetological Research 6 (3): 159–168 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jing Che, Simin Lin, V Deepak, Datta-Roy Aniruddha, Ke Jiang, Jieqiong Jin, Hongman Chen, Cameron D Siler; 2018. Multilocus phylogeny and revised classification for mountain dragons of the genus Japalura s.l. (Reptilia: Agamidae: Draconinae) from Asia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, , zly034, - get paper here
  • WANG, KAI; JINLONG REN, KE JIANG, ZHIYONG YUAN, JING CHE, CAMERON D. SILER 2017. Rediscovery of the enigmatic Mountain Dragon, Japalura yulongensis (Reptilia: Sauria: Agamidae), with notes on its natural history and conservation. Zootaxa 4318 (2): 351–363 - get paper here
  • Zhao E. M., Zhao K., Zhou K. Y. 1999. Fauna Sinica, Reptilia, Vol. 2, Squamata, Lacertilia. [In Chinese] Beijing: Science Press, 394 pp
  • Zhao, E. M. & Jiang,Y. M. 1977. A survey of reptiles in Xizang Autonomous Region, with faunal analysis & descriptions of new forms. [in Chinese] Acta Zool. Sinica, Peking, 23: 64-71
 
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