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Hemidactylus acanthopholis MIRZA & SANAP, 2014

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymHemidactylus acanthopholis MIRZA & SANAP 2014
Hemidactylus cf. acanthopholis — GANESH & ARUMUGAM 2016 
DistributionIndia (Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: Tirunelveli District (=Tinnevelly), Tamil Nadu, India Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.23.68 (74.4.29.1050); adult male (91.7mm SVL). coll. Colonel R. H. Beddome.
Paratypes: adult male (82.2mm SVL), BMNH 1946.8.23.67 (74.4.29.1049), Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India. coll. Colonel R. H. Beddome; adult male (108.6mm SVL), ZSI 12429, Tirunelveli District (=Tinnevelly), Tamil Nadu, India, purchased from E. Gerard; adult female (85.5mm SVL), BMNH 1946.8.23.69 (74.4.29.1051), Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu, India, coll. Colonel R. H. Beddome; adult female (79.8mm SVL), BNHS 1670, Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India, coll. S. P. Vijayakumar. 
CommentDiagnosis: A large sized Hemidactylus, SVL at least 91.7mm. Dorsal scalation on trunk granular, intermixed with enlarged, fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of 18–20 trihedral, moderately keeled, striated tubercles of equal size on dorso-lateral aspect, 2–3 rows tubercles on mid-dorsal smaller in size of about two dorsal granular scale wide. Two large rounded and one small internasal between nasals. Two pair of postmentals, anterior pair is twice as long and wide as the posterior pair. Scales on trunk venter arranged in 35–40 rows. Lamellae divided, 9, 11, 10, 10, 10 on manus and 10, 12, 12, 12, 12 on pes. Caudal pholidosis, dorsal aspect, small, striated scales intermixed with large rounded un-keeled tubercles, scales sub-equal throughout and a series of eight enlarged, moderately keeled and weakly striated and flattened tubercles. Femoral pores 19–21 on each side separated medially by 13–14 pore-less scales.

Comparison with other Hemidactylus: The new species may be distinguished from Indian and Sri Lankan Hemidactylus on the basis of (differing or non-overlapping character states indicated parenthetically): dorsal scalation on trunk, granular, intermixed with enlarged, fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of 18–20 trihedral, moderately keeled, striated tubercles of equal size on dorso-lateral aspect, 2–3 rows of tubercles on mid-dorsum smaller in size, about two dorsal granular scales wide (dorsal tubercles absent or, if present, rounded, smooth, or feebly keeled, not regularly arranged in H. frenatus, H. garrnotii, H. leschenaultii, H. flaviviridis, H. platyurus, H. aquilonius, H. giganteus; conical tubercles not arranged in longitudinal series in H. karenorum; SVL of at least 91.7mm (SVL less than 80mm in H. gracilis, H. karenorum, H. reticulatus, H. depressus, H. albofasciatus, H. parvimaculatus, H. sataraensis, H. pieresii, H. scabericeps, H. robustus, H. persicus, H. triedrus, H. brookii, H. turcicus, H. treutleri, H. gujaratensis).
Only five members of the genus Hemidactylus from India and Sri Lanka have a SVL of greater than or equal to 90mm. These include H. maculatus, H. prashadii, H. aaronbaueri, H. graniticolus and H. hunae. Hemidactylus acanthopholis sp. nov. can be distinguished from Hemidactylus aaronbaueri by the presence of 19–21 femoral pores on each side separated by 13–14 pore-less scales (vs. 15–19 femoral pores on each side separated by 6 pore- less scales) in males, and 18–20 rows of regularly arranged, enlarged trihedral, moderately keeled, striated tubercles on dorsum in Hemidactylus acanthopholis sp. nov. (vs. 18–20 rows of irregularly arranged, enlarged, domed and feebly keeled tubercles on dorsum). The new species can be distinguished from H. prashadi by the presence of 19–21 femoral pores on each side separated by 13–14 pore- less scales (vs. 17–20 femoral pores separated by three pore-less scales) in males.
The new species is similar in size and general appearance to Hemidactylus maculatus, H. hunae and H. graniticolus however differs from these by having dorsal trunk with granular scales intermixed with enlarged, fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of 18–20 trihedral, moderately keeled, striated tubercles of equal size (size of tubercles about four dorsal granular scales in width) on dorsolateral aspect, 2–3 rows of tubercles on mid-dorsal trunk smaller in size of about two dorsal granular scale width in (vs. back with conical, granular, striated scales intermixed with enlarged, fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of 16–18 sub-trihedral, weakly keeled, striated tubercles in H. granaticolus and H. hunae [Fig. 3]); dorsal pholidosis of tail with small, imbricate, striated scales intermixed with large rounded un-keeled tubercles, scales sub-equal throughout and a series of eight enlarged, moderately keeled and weakly striated and flattened tubercles (vs. small, imbricate, striated scales and a series of four enlarged, keeled and weakly striated and flattened tubercles in H. granaticolus [Fig. 4]); femoral pores in males 19–21 on each side separated by 13–14 pore- less scales (Fig. 5) (vs. 16–19 femoral pores on each side with a gap of 5–9 pore-less scales in H. maculatus; 22–24 femoral pores on each side with a gap of 3–6 scales in H. hunae; 23– 28 femoral pores on each side separated by 1–3 scales in H. graniticolus); two large and one small internsal present between supranasals (vs. two large internasals in H. maculatus and H. granaticolus). Furthermore Hemidactylus acanthopholis sp. nov. differs from H. sykesii, (junior synonym of H. maculatus) in bearing 19–21 femoral pores in males on each side separated by 13–14 pore-less scales (vs. 20 femoral pores separated medially by 6 pore-less scales). Differs from H. subtriedrus, a putative junior synonym of H. triedrus by having SVL 91.7–108mm (vs. SVL ~76mm); total femoral pores 39–42 (vs. range of 12–28 in H. triedrus), see Jerdon (1853), Mahony (2011), and Smith (1935).
Hemidactylus acanthopholis sp. nov. differs from Hemidactylus sp. (=Hemidactylus cf. maculatus sensu Javed et al., 2011) from Andhra Pradesh by having 19–21 femoral pores on each side separated by 13–14 pore-less scales (vs. 21–25 on each side separated medially by 4–5 pore-less scales) and lamellae on digit IV of pes 10–12 (vs. 12–14). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet ‘acanthopholis’ means spiny scales which refer to the large keeled dorsal tubercles. 
References
  • Ganesh, S. R.; M. Arumugam 2016. Species Richness of Montane Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India: A Historical Resume and a Descriptive Checklist Russ. J. Herpetol. 23 (1): 7-24
  • Mirza, Zeeshan A; Rajesh V Sanap 2014. A new Cryptic species of Gecko of the genus Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from Southern India. Taprobanica 6 (1): 12-20 - get paper here
 
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