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Gehyra einasleighensis BOURKE, PRATT, VANDERDUYS & MORITZ, 2017

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common NamesE: Einasleigh rock dtella 
SynonymGehyra einasleighensis BOURKE, PRATT, VANDERDUYS & MORITZ 2017 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland)

Type locality: Cobbold Gorge camp (18.79611°S; 143.42386°E).  
Reproductionoviparous. Like all Gehyra in the variegata-punctata species-group, this species lays a single egg. Some females were gravid in November in spring at the end of the dry season. 
TypesHolotype. QM J94587 (field number CCM0092) (male), collected on 18 April 2013, by C. Moritz, E. Vanderduys and R. Agudo.
Paratypes. Australia: Queensland: QM J94588 (field number CCM0105) (female), Whitewater Station, Undara (18.14897°S; 144.57213°E), QM J94589 (field number CCM5118) (male), 9 km west of Georgetown (18.28926°S; 143.46529°E), QM J94591 (field number CCM5128) (male), East of Croydon (18.23171°S; 142.4129°E), QM J94595 (field number CCM5186) (female), 34 km E of Georgetown (18.27407°S; 143.83688°E), QM J94597 (field number CCM5196) (male), north of Forsayth (18.5667°S; 143.56871°E), QM J94598 (field number CCM5213) (male), 6.6 km SE of Petford (17.37989°S; 144.96419°E). 
CommentDiagnosis. Digits broadly expanded basally and subdigital lamellae present on all digits of manus and pes. Digit I of manus and pes clawless, penultimate phalanx of digits II–V free from scansorial pad. Differs from non- Australian Gehyra by the combination of: absence of webbing between third and fourth toes, absence of a skin fold along the posterior hindlimb and very small adult size (SVL < 41 mm). Differs from all other Australian Gehyra by the combination of small body size (SVL < 41 mm), small number (≤ 6) of divided subdigital lamellae, postmentals contacting both first and part of second infralabials, one pair of outer chin shields, supranasal scales in broad contact, usually no internasal scale, and mid tan to golden dorsal background colour with pattern consisting of scattered pale ocelli and irregular dark-brown blotches on stippled background.

Comparisons. Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all non-Australian Gehyra by the absence of webbing between third and fourth toes (versus present), the absence of a skin fold along the posterior hindlimb (versus present) and its small size (max SVL < 41 mm versus > 41 mm). Within Australia, Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all members of the Gehyra australis group by its smaller size (max SVL < 41 mm versus > 41 mm), divided subdigital lamellae under expanded toepads (versus at least some undivided), and lower counts of lamellae (< 7 versus > 7).
Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from members of the G. variegata-punctata group that occur in the Australian Monsoonal Tropics (AMT) as follows: from Gehyra xenopus Storr, 1978 and Gehyra spheniscus Doughty, Palmer, Sistrom, Bauer and Donnellan, 2012 by the absence of a wedge of granules between proximal lamellae (versus present), and in the case of the former species, also much smaller size (max SVL 41 versus 79 mm); from G. occidentalis King, 1984 by a lower number of lamellae (4–6 versus 7–10) and small body size (max SVL 41 versus 76 mm); and from G. multiporosa Doughty et al. 2012 by having fewer pre-cloacal pores in males (11-16 versus 20-49).
Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all rock dwelling members of the G. variegata- punctata group from the Australian arid zone (see Hutchinson et al. 2014) by a combination of having fewer lamellae (4–6 versus 6–9 pairs), a smaller body size (max SVL < 41 versus > 44 mm), and internasal scale generally absent (versus present). The most similar species in the arid zone group is Gehyra minuta King, 1982 which nonetheless attains larger body size (up to 45 mm) and has a higher range of subdigital lamellae (6–8, mean 7 pairs; King 1982) and dark markings on the dorsum as scattered flecks rather than discrete ocelli (see also Hutchinson et al. 2014). The new species differs from its closet relative, G. purpurascens in that the latter is much larger (adult SVL range 49-62 mm, mean 55 mm), has 7–8 subdigital lamellae and a grey, reticulated back pattern.
The Gehyra nana species complex, as currently recognised, is widely distributed across the Australian monsoonal tropics. With the description of Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov., Gehyra nana is known to occur only to the west of the Gulf of Carpentaria, with the former species occurring to the east of the Gulf Plains in the Einasleigh Uplands bioregion. Regardless, Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other G. nana group taxa by a combination of its small size (max SVL < 41 versus > 41 mm), low number of lamellae (4–6 versus 5–8), and a mid-tan to golden dorsal colour with scattered pale ocelli and irregular dark-brown blotches on a stippled background.
Specimen records indicate that the distribution of Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov. overlaps geographically with the larger-bodied G. dubia (E. V. pers. obs.; Atlas of Living Australia, accessed 08/07/15; Cogger 2014; Wilson & Swan 2013), and is possibly parapatric with G. versicolor Hutchinson, Sistrom, Donnellan and Hutchinson, 2014 in the south. Both species are readily differentiated from Gehyra einasleighensis sp. nov. by their larger body size, higher number of subdigital lamellae (which typically are undivided in G. dubia), dorsal patterns tending towards bars/reticulations (versus ocelli), and body colour of generally grey to grey-brown versus mid-tan to golden brown. Additionally, juvenile G. dubia may be the size of adult G. einasleighensis sp. nov. and have prominent spotting over the dorsal surface (see Fig. 8), which could cause confusion if they are not clearly observed in a field situation. However, G. einasleighensis sp. nov. is relatively stockier and wider at the base of the tail, and is generally encountered on small boulders, whereas G. dubia is more likely to be found on trees and large rock faces.

Habitat. This species is associated with small boulders and rock rubble. Individuals were collected from rocky habitats east of the Gulf Plains region (Figs. 1 and 7), where the flat treeless landscape changes to rolling stony hills, with areas of more complex sandstone. This species is not generally seen on larger vertical rock faces that may be occupied by larger-bodied gecko species such as Oedura coggeri Bustard 1966 and Gehyra dubia Macleay, 1877 in this region.

Behavior: This species is often seen active on and around rocks at night, and can also be found sheltering beneath loose rocks during the day. 
EtymologyThis species is named for the Einasleigh Uplands bioregion in which it occurs. 
  • BOURKE, GAYLEEN; RENAE C. PRATT, ERIC VANDERDUYS, CRAIG MORITZ 2017. Systematics of a small Gehyra (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Einasleigh Uplands, Queensland: description of a new range restricted species. Zootaxa 4231 (1): 085–099
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