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Gonatodes castanae CARVAJAL-COGOLLO, EGUIS-AVENDAÑO & MEZA-JOYA, 2020

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Castaño’s Gecko
S: Geco de Castaño 
SynonymGonatodes castanae CARVAJAL-COGOLLO, EGUIS-AVENDAÑO & MEZA-JOYA 2020 
DistributionColombia (Bolívar)

Type locality: Hacienda IRHOPALMA, municipality of Norisí, department of Bolívar, Colombia (8°34’43’’ N, 74°07’13’’ W; ca. 150 m a.s.l.), 1 km apart from the main hill of the Serranía de San Lucas  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. UPTC-Re 1010, adult male, collected by Jorge Eguis, 01 May 2019.
Paratypes (n=3). UPTC-Re 1011–13 with same data as the holotype, collected by Jorge Eguis, 01 May 2019. 
DiagnosisDefinition and diagnosis. The new species is distinguished from other species of the genus Gonatodes by a combination of the following characters: (1) body of moderate size (males from 43.02 to 43.08 mm and females from 41.4 to 42.1 mm SVL); (2) supraciliary spine absent, but with 3–7 conical supraciliary scales; (3) absence of a cluster of distinctly enlarged conical scales on the sides; (4) 102 to 109 scales around midbody; (5) 57 to 60 ventral scales counted in a longitudinal line back gular region to cloaca; (6) subcaudal scale pattern Type B (sensu Rivero-Blanco & Schargel 2012, Fig. 2A); (7) males with escutcheon on belly and undersurface of thighs (Fig. 2B); (8) two posmental scales (Fig. 2C); (9) two lateral rows of scales on distal parts of fingers and toes; (10) males and females with orange iris; (11) presence of sexual dichromatism.
Gonatodes castanae is found in the trans-Andean region of Colombia, in geographical proximity with G. albogularis, G. chucuri and G. vittatus. However, G. castanae differs from G. chucuri in the presence of marked sexual dichromatism (G. chucuri does not have sexual dichromatism) and in the subcaudal scale pattern, which is type B, 1’1’1’’ without basal or distal changes in G. castanae and type C, 1’1’’or 1’2’’ basally, which changes to 1’1’’ distally in G. chucuri (Meneses-Pelayo & Ramírez 2020). Gonatodes castanae is similar to G. albogularis and G. vittatus in the possession of subcaudal scale type B pattern, but differs from these in aspects of color pattern and size. Gonatodes castanae has a dorsal color pattern in males, with conspicuous white and other gray ocelli and a moderate SVL (± 42 mm), unlike G. albogularis where males present a dorsal color that is most often uniform, in various shades (gray, black, brown) and is small in size (SVL <42 mm; Rivero-Blanco & Schargel 2012) and G. vittatus whose males have a distinctive color pattern with a pale mid-dorsal stripe and an SVL <35 mm (Schargel et al. 2017).
Gonatodes castanae shows similarities to the color pattern of Gonatodes rozei Rivero-Blanco & Schargel, 2012, the latter found in both chains (Serranía del Litoral and Serranía del Interior) of the Cordillera de la Costa Central in north central Venezuela (Rivero-Blanco & Schargel 2012). The dorsal color pattern with ocelli in G. castanae is homogeneous and covers the dorsal region, the flanks, the anterior and posterior limbs and the tip of the tail, with a high concentration of ocelli in the posterior part of the body and in the posterior limbs. Unlike G. rozei, where the ocelli are present on the back, flanks, anterior legs and thighs. Each ocellus has poorly defined black borders and the ocelli are more pronounced anteriorally towards the front of the body and become small and scattered posteriorly towards the rear and do not extend beyond the base of the tail (Rivero-Blanco & Schargel 2012). Other differences between these two species are (G. rozei characters in parentheses): SVL 42 mm (SVL 59.1 mm), scales around midbody 102–109 (78–100 scales around midbody), iris of orange in males and orange or yellow in females (males with blue iris, females blue or yellow).

Color in life. In live males (Fig. 3A–B) the dorsal and lateral surface of the body and the anterior and posterior limbs, like the anterolateral and dorsal portion of the tail, have a black background color. The background color turns brown on the distal, dorsal and lateral parts of the tail and hind legs. The back, flanks, front legs, thighs and the tip of the tail are covered with white ocelli. The dorsal and lateral surface of the body also features less conspicuous gray ocelli, interspersed with white ocelli. White ocelli exhibit different shapes (circular, irregular) and sizes. The largest ocelli are about one third the size of the eye and are located on the mid-dorsal region. White ocelli are smaller and more numerous on the low-dorsal region and become more dispersed in the tail. The head is covered, both dorsally and ventrally, by a reddish orange hood, which extends to the nape and neck. The ventral surface of the body, except the area of the shield, macroscopically exhibits a slightly mottled gray coloration. Under magnification, each ventral scale has multiple black dots homogeneously scattered throughout the scale. Females show a dorsal coloration with a greenish-yellow background, with brown to black reticulations and scattered white spots on the head, vertebral region and flanks. The fore and hind limbs have a grayish background color with small greenish-yellow stripes (Fig. 3C–D). Venter with yellowish tones, more accentuated in the lower part of the belly, turning whitish towards the chest region. 
CommentOnly limited information available as authors did not provide more details upon request. 
EtymologyThe specific name castanae is a patronym for Olga Victoria Castaño, to whom we dedicate with great honor this species in recognition of her multiple and meaningful contributions to the field of herpetology in Colombia and who for many years was the mentor of the first author JECC. 
References
  • CARVAJAL-COGOLLO, J. E., EGUIS-AVENDAÑO, J. A., & MEZA-JOYA, F. L. 2020. A new diurnal gecko in the genus Gonatodes (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) from the foothills of the Serranía de San Lucas, Norosí-Colombia. Zootaxa, 4877(2): 345-360 - get paper here
 
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