Gehyra incognita KEALLEY, DOUGHTY, PEPPER, KEOGH, HILLYER & HUEY, 2018
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Gehyra incognita?
|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Northern Pilbara Cryptic Gehyra|
|Synonym||Gehyra incognita KEALLEY, DOUGHTY, PEPPER, KEOGH, HILLYER & HUEY 2018|
Gehyra variegata C2 — ASHMAN et al. 2018
|Distribution||Australia (Western Australia: mostly near the Pilbara coast)|
Type locality: 38 km north–north-west of Marble Bar, site PHYC06 of the Pilbara Biodiversity Survey (2050′07′′S, 11940′18′′E), WA
|Types||Holotype: WAM R161379, an adult male collected on 26 September 2005 by A.H. Burbidge and C. Stevenson.|
Paratypes. WAM R145629 (male), 18 km south of Port Hedland (2028′12′′S, 11835′24′′ E); WAM R156815 (female), Port Hedland area (2022′49′′S, 11841′52′′E); WAM R159848 (male), 12.5 km south of Whim Creek Hotel (2056′59′′S, 11750′59′′E); WAM R165149 (female), five km north–north-east of Python Pool (2118′37′′S, 11716′34′′E); WAM R166629 (female), Mons Cupri Mine (2051′59′′S, 11749′19′′E).
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A moderately sized (to 52.0 mm SVL) species with moderately short snout, internarial present or absent, lower postnasal larger or equal to upper, two pairs of chin shields, second infralabial notched by parinfralabial scales, usually six (rarely five or seven) subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe and males with 10–16 (mean 12.0) pre-cloacal pores. In preservative, background colour medium grey to dark brown with poorly contrasting pattern of small dark and pale spots occasionally forming bars or networks, well-defined head stripes and ventrum heavily stippled. Genetically diagnosed from other arid clade members by the ND2 sites in Table 3 in Kealley et al. 2018.|
Comparisons with other species. This species is also one of the more difficult in the group to identify owing to its relatively plain yet variable appearance. It differs from G. pilbara and G. ocellata sp. nov. by possessing a medium to dark grey–brown background colour (vs reddish-orange). It differs from the adjacent northern Pilbara species G. unguiculata sp. nov. by having a darker background colour with scattered small dark and pale spots and head stripes (vs lighter dorsal colouration with crescent-shaped markings and poorly defined head stripes).
Gehyra incognita sp. nov. differs from the similar-looking G. purpurascens (which it
was often identified in the field as) by smaller maximum body size (52 vs 67 mm), fewer lamellae (6 vs 7–8), two (vs 2–3) chin shields, second (vs second or third) infralabial notched and ventrum heavily (vs little to moderate) stippled. The two species are entirely allopatric (Fig. 1C).
It differs from G. montium and G. crypta sp. nov. in that the lower postnasal is usually larger than the upper (vs approximately equal in size), two (vs 2–3) chin shields, second (vs second or third) infralabial notched. Further differs from G. crypta sp. nov. in having well-defined head stripes (vs lower post-orbital stripe absent or reduced to a spot) and six subdigital lamellae (vs 6–8). From the similar G. variegata, it differs in having two pairs of chin shields (vs 2–3) and lower postnasal greater than upper (vs equal).
As the distribution of this species overlaps or abuts several others in the northern Pilbara, we recommend sequencing diagnostic loci to resolve species identity. As there are no known photos in life, such an exercise could yield live images of this species which would be valuable to assist with identification in the field.
|Comment||Habitat. Likely arboreal.|
Similar species: Along with G. crypta sp. nov., G. incognita sp. nov. is one of the most difficult species in the arid clade to diagnose. There are no known photographs in life, and it possess a darker background colouration which weakens the contrast of the markings. It is most similar to G. variegata and G. purpurascens, although so far as we know these species do not co-occur together with G. incognita sp. nov. in the northern Pilbara.
Distribution: see map in Kealley et al. 2018: 4 (Fig. 1).
|Etymology||The specific name is derived from the Latin incognitus meaning ‘unknown,’ in reference to the heretofore complete ignorance of this species’ existence prior to genetic analyses. Used as an adjective.|