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Gonatodes infernalis RIVAS & SCHARGEL, 2008

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymGonatodes infernalis RIVAS & SCHARGEL 2008 
DistributionVenezuela (Amazonas)

Type locality: Sector El Infierno, on road Puerto Ayacucho-Gavilán, approximately 100 m elevation. Estado Amazonas, Venezuela.  
TypesHolotype: MHNLS 18440 (field number CJF4703), an adult female, collected on 15 March 2007 by Gilson Rivas and Tito Barros. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The new species can be distinguished from all congeners by a combination of very large size, supraciliary spine absent, females with immaculate brown dorsal coloration, and a subcaudal scalation pattern (only in the unregenerated tail) of a single medial row of wide scales which laterally contact either two or three adjacent caudal scales in a 1:1 alternating fashion (See Fig. 2). Gonatodes infernalis is, to our knowledge, the largest species of sphaerodactyl gecko, with adult females reaching nearly 65 mm in SVL, which readily separates this species from the much smaller G. albogularis, G. antillensis, G. atricucullaris, G. daudini, caudiscutatus, G. eladioi, G. humeralis, G. petersi, G. tapajonicus and G. vittatus, none of which exceed 45 mm in SVL (data from: Avila-Pires 1995; Rivero-Blanco 1979). The new species is also unique in the genus in having females with a coloration devoid of any well defined markings, a character state that separates it from all other species of comparable size (and also from the smaller species), namely G. alexandermendesi, G. annularis, G. ceciliae, G. concinnatus, G. falconensis, G. hasemani, G. ocellatus, G. purpurogularis, G. seigliei and G. taniae, all of which have females with well defined and conspicous dark markings on the head and the body. Among Amazonian/Guianan species, G. infernalis further differs from G. alexandemendesi and G. hasemani in lacking an elongated supraciliary spine. Finally, G. infernalis differs from all other species of Gonatodes, except G. eladioi (a much smaller species) in the subcaudal pattern of the unregenrated tail (described above). All other species of Gonatodes have subcaudal pattern (for a description of the different character states and taxonomic distribution see Rivero-Blanco 1979) in which one of the following states occur: a) the medial scales that contact three scales laterally occur every two medial scales that are in contact with two scales laterally, b) with a divided medial scale every two single medial scales, c) proximally with a pattern as described in G. infernalis, but switching to the pattern described in “b” distally, or c) with medial scales not differentiated from adjacent lateral scales. 
CommentBehavior: mainly diurnal

Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). This is one of the species called 'lost' and 'rediscovered' by Lindken et al. 2024. 
EtymologyThe name infernalis is a Latin adjective (masculine & feminine) meaning infernal or hellish. The name was given in reference to sector “El Infierno” (The Hell), the locality where the type series was collected, an area that had been burned recently. 
  • Lindken T.; Anderson, C. V., Ariano-Sánchez, D., Barki, G., Biggs, C., Bowles, P., Chaitanya, R., Cronin, D. T., Jähnig, S. C., Jeschke, J. M., Kennerley, R. J., Lacher, T. E. Jr., Luedtke, J. A., Liu, C., Long, B., Mallon, D., Martin, G. M., Meiri, 2024. What factors influence the rediscovery of lost tetrapod species? Global Change Biology, 30: 1-18 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Rivas, G.A. & Schargel, W.E. 2008. Gecko on the rocks: an enigmatic new species of Gonatodes (Sphaerodactylidae) from Inselbergs of the Venezuelan Guayana. Zootaxa 1925: 39–50 - get paper here
  • RIVAS, GILSON A.; CÉSAR R. MOLINA, GABRIEL N. UGUETO, TITO R. BARROS, CÉSAR L. BAR- RIO-AMORÓS & PHILIPPE J. R. KOK 2012. Reptiles of Venezuela: an updated and commented checklist. Zootaxa 3211: 1–64 - get paper here
  • SCHARGEL, WALTER E.; GILSON A.RIVAS,ROBERT MAKOWSKY,J.CELSA SEÑARIS,MARCO A. NATERA, TITO R. BARROS, CÉSAR R. MOLINA & CÉSAR L. BARRIO-AMORÓS 2010. Phylogenetic systematics of the genus Gonatodes (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) in the Guayana region, with description of a new species from Venezuela. Systematics and Biodiversity 8 (3): 321–339 - get paper here
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