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Gehyra girloorloo OLIVER, BOURKE, PRATT, DOUGHTY & MORITZ, 2016

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common NamesE: Kimberley Karst gecko 
SynonymGehyra girloorloo OLIVER, BOURKE, PRATT, DOUGHTY & MORITZ 2016 
DistributionAustralia (West Australia: Pillara Range)

Type locality: Gogo Station, Pillara Range, south entrance of Menyous Gap (18.40439°S; 125.83698°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. WAM R175045 (field number CCM3257) (male), collected on 4 November 2014 by P.M. Oliver, G. Armstrong and P. Skipwith.
Paratypes. WAM R113727 (female), Cadjbut Mine 90 km south-east Fitzroy Crossing (18.7500°S; 126.1500°E); NMV D77029 and NMV D77030 (females), and NMV D77031 and NMV D77032 (males), Ngumpan Cliff area (18.75625°S; 126.06474°E); WAM R175037 (PMO147) and WAM R175038 (PMO149) (males), < 1 km south of Galeru Gorge (18.61407°S; 126.08386°E); WAM R175039 (CCM3242) and WAM R175040 (CCM3243) (males), Gogo Station, Limestone Billy Hills (18.32724°S; 125.76498°E); WAM R175043 (CCM3246) (female), Gogo Station, Limestone Billy Hills (18.33516°S; 125.75244°E). 
CommentDiagnosis. Digits broadly expanded basally and subdigital scansors 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 small adult size (SVL < 48 mm). Differs from all other Australian Gehyra by the combination of small body size (SVL < 48 mm), divided subdigital lamellae without basal wedge of granules, short snout and large eyes (OrbL/SnEye 0.58, 0.51–0.72), low number of pre-cloacal pores in males (8–11), postmentals not in contact (at most in point contact) with the second supralabial, one pair of outer chin shields and pinkish- brown dorsal background colour with pattern consisting of alternating bands of indistinct off-white spots and dark- brown transverse blotches on heavily stippled background.

Comparisons. Gehyra girloorloo 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 generally smaller size (max SVL < 50 mm versus > 50 mm).
Within Australia, G. girloorloo sp. nov. can be distinguished from all members of the G. australis species- group (which are largely restricted to northern Australia) by its smaller size (max SVL < 50 mm versus > 50 mm), divided subdigital lamellae (versus at least some undivided), lower number of pores in the males ( < 12 versus > 12) and females laying just one egg per clutch.
Gehyra girloorloo sp. nov. can be distinguished from members of the G. variegata group from the Australian arid zone by its lower number of pre-cloacal pores in males (< 12 [mode 9] versus usually more than 10 [Hutchinson et al. 2014]), no conspicuous dark streaks emanating from behind the eyes, at most only light red hues (versus rich reddish-brown) and less contrasting dorsal pattern combining diffuse dark markings (versus extensive reticulations) and diffuse light spots (versus tending towards smaller and well defined). A further species in this group, G. pilbara, is similarly small, but differs in dorsal colouration (reddish-brown vs. pinkish-grey), the presence of obviously enlarged loreal scales above the infralabials (versus absent) and in having an extremely short snout resulting in short, wide postmentals (versus tall and thin in G. girloorloo sp. nov.) (Fig 4.).
Gehyra girloorloo sp. nov. can be distinguished from most other members of the G. variegata group that also occur in the AMT as follows: from G. xenopus and G. spheniscus 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 48 versus 79 mm); from G. occidentalis by its lower number of subdigital lamellae (5–7 versus 7–10) and small body size (max SVL 48 mm versus 76 mm); and from G. multiporosa by the absence of dark lateral head streaks, and fewer pores in males (8–11 versus 20–49).
A final taxon from this region, G. nana, is a complex of species (unpublished data). However, G. girloorloo sp. nov. can be distinguished from both geographically proximate and type G. nana by its pinkish-grey dorsal colouration (versus reddish), background stippled (versus plain), larger and more diffuse pale spots (versus small and clearly defined), diffuse and transversely-oriented dark brown blotches on dorsum (versus clearly defined brown blotches or [usually] spots), and low number of pre-cloacal pores in males (8–11 versus 11–17). Gehyra nana from around localities from where G. girloorloo sp. nov. has been recorded are also particularly small (SVL 39.0, 35.0–41.9 mm) and strongly spotted (see Fig. 5) (Oliver et al. 2016).

Variation. Table 1 presents ranges of variation for the characters measured. In a small number of specimens, the postmental and second infralabial are in point contact, otherwise they are separated. The same pattern holds for internasals—in most specimens the supranasals are in broad contact above the rostral, in a small number a tiny internasal scale is present.

Colouration: (in preservative): background dorsal colour pale tan or grey (Fig. 6), densely stippled with fine blackish-brown variegations, moderate sized (0.5–1.5 mm wide) poorly defined pale circular to oval spots scattered on the dorsum, separated by concentrated patches of dark-brown markings that coalesce to form weakly defined transverse bands; density and distribution of dorsal pattern elements varies along body: usually little or no clear pattern on anterior portion of head, more clearly defined on nape with scattered small light spots and indistinct dark blotches, and consisting of alternating series of comparatively large and more well defined pale spots and indistinctly defined transverse brown bands on the torso and original tail. Limbs as for torso, with scattered distinct to indistinct small pale spots; undersurfaces largely unpigmented, but with dense fine dark brown maculations around the ventrolateral regions of head, limbs and ventral tail scales. Regrown tail light greyish- brown with diffuse longitudinally aligned narrow dark streaks (Oliver et al. 2016).

Habitat: This species is closely associated with dissected limestone outcrops, and also occurs on small trees and shrubs (Fig. 8). It tends to be less common on exposed vertical rock faces than its much larger sympatric congener G. koira Horner. The locally occuring form of Gehyra nana tends to utilise different habitats—it is rarely found on limestone and generally on smaller boulders and rocky debris in surrounding areas. Gehyra girloorloo sp. nov. can be abundant in its preferred habitat, for example, most large shrubs along an open rock face in Menyous Gap had at least one specimen, often positioned head down close to the ground in what appeared to be a hunting posture. In contrast, we found this species to be scarce in early July 2014 when temperatures were low (< 15°C), with only two specimens observed over two nights of searching around Mt Piere Station (Oliver et al. 2016). 
EtymologyGirloorloo, pronounced “gir-loor-loo”, is a word the local Gooniyandi mob use for the limestone this species appears to be restricted to. This species name was suggested by elders from the Gooniyandi mob who speak for country on which this species occurs. 
  • OLIVER, PAUL M.; GAYLEEN BOURKE, RENAE C. PRATT, PAUL DOUGHTY, CRAIG MORITZ 2016. Systematics of small Gehyra (Squamata: Gekkonidae) of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia: redescription of G. kimberleyi Börner & Schüttler, 1983 and description of a new restricted range species Zootaxa 4107 (1): 049–064 - get paper here
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