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Hemidactylus asirensis ŠMÍD, SHOBRAK, WILMS, JOGER & CARRANZA, 2016

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common Names 
SynonymHemidactylus asirensis ŠMÍD, SHOBRAK, WILMS, JOGER & CARRANZA 2016
Hemidactylus yerburii — ARNOLD 1980
Hemidactylus yerburii — ARNOLD 1986
Hemidactylus yerburii — CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2006
Hemidactylus yerburii — CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2012 
DistributionSaudi Arabia (Asir Province)

Type locality: Saudi Arabia, Asir Province, Al Balhy (18.075° N, 43.083° E), 2376 m elevation  
TypesHolotype. NMP 75271 (sample code HSA44, Fig. 5), adult male, May 24, 2012, collected by S. Carranza, M. Shobrak, and T. Wilms, MorphoBank M389997–M390014.
Paratypes. NMP 75272 (sample code HSA12, MorphoBank M390048–M390066), adult male, Saudi Arabia, Asir Province, 5 km N of Wadi Shora (19.836° N, 41.776° E, 1750 m a.s.l.), May 22, 2012; IBES 10044 (sample code HSA2, MorphoBank M390067–M390077), adult male, Saudi Arabia, Makkah Province, 20 km NE of Al Sir (21.259° N, 40.796° E, 1594 m a.s.l.), May 22, 2012; IBES 10011 (HSA4, MorphoBank M390102–M390120, adult female), IBES 10341 (HSA7, MorphoBank M389944–M389962, adult female), IBES 10386 (HSA8, MorphoBank M389919– M389929, adult female), IBES 10330 (HSA6, MorphoBank M389978–M389995, adult male), Saudi Arabia, Makkah Province, 10 km S of Al Sir (21.115° N, 40.599° E, 1696 m a.s.l.), May 21, 2012; IBES 10221 (sample code HSA52, MorphoBank M390031–M390047), adult female, Saudi Arabia, Makkah Province, 7 km S of Ghazaial (20.928° N, 41.123° E, 1453 m a.s.l.), May 25, 2012; IBES 10378 (sample code HSA53, MorphoBank M389930–M389943), adult fe- male, Saudi Arabia, Makkah Province, Taif (21.338° N, 40.422° E, 1616 m a.s.l.), May 27, 2012. All paratypes have the same collectors as the holotype. 
CommentDiagnosis. A member of the Arabian radiation of the Arid clade of Hemidactylus with the following combination of characters: (1) medium size with SVL ranging between 43.0 and 48.5 mm in males and 38.3 and 51.1 mm in females; (2) long and narrow head not wider than the body in its widest part (HL=23–28 % of SVL, HW=7.9±1.3 mm in males, 7.6 ± 1.0 mm in females); (3) large anterior postmentals usu- ally in wide mutual median contact (96 % of specimens) and in contact with the first and second infralabial (at least on one side in 96 % of specimens); (4) uppermost nasals separated by an inserted scale in 87 % of specimens; (5) 7–9 infralabials and 7–11 supralabials; (6) dorsum with enlarged tubercles in 12–16 longitudinal rows, the tubercles are not keeled or, if so, only the vertebral ones; (7) males with 6 preanal pores; (8) 5–7 lamellae under the first toe and 9–11 under the fourth toe; (9) enlarged tile-like subcaudals; (10) beige background colora- tion with dark blotches in irregular vertebral and paravertebral rows that form X-shaped markings, head with distinct dark band from the nostril through eye to the ear, parietal and temporal regions with irregular dark markings which can be absent in some individuals, tail with 9–12 dark bands that grow in intensity towards the tail tip, and body underside creamy whitish.

Differential diagnosis. Hemidactylus asirensis sp. n. differs significantly from its sister species, H. granosus, in the head shape; it has shorter and narrower head (HL 10.7 ± 1.3 vs. 12.3±1.1 mm, t test t=−4.085, p<0.001; HW 7.8±1.2 vs. 9.3±0.8 mm, t test t=−4.407, p<0.001; Fig. S2) and in the degree of keeling of the dorsal tubercles (H. asirensis sp. n. has flat unkeeled tubercles while H. granosus strongly keeled). The two species also differ in the number of lamellae under toes; H. asirensis sp. n. has 6.2 ± 0.4 (range 5–7) lamellae on the first toe while H. granosus has 7.4 ± 0.5 (7–8) (t test t = −8.681, p < 0.001) and 10.1 ± 0.6 (9–11) on the fourth toe while H. granosus has 11.6 ± 0.7 (10–13) (t test t = −7.051, p < 0.001). The differences from H. alfarraji sp. n. are described above. A comparison of metric and meristic variables with the other Hemidactylus species form SW Arabia is given in ŠMÍD et al. 2016 (Table S4).

Distribution: see map in ŠMÍD et al. 2016: Fig. 3. 
EtymologyThe species epithet “asirensis” is an adjective which refers to the mountain range where the species is distributed, the Asir Mountains of Saudi Arabia. 
  • Arnold E N 1986. A key and annotated checklist to the lizards and amphisbaenians of Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 8: 385-435
  • Arnold, E. N. 1980. The reptiles and amphibians of Dhofar, southern Arabia. Journal of Oman Studies, Special Report, 2: 273–332
  • Carranza, S. and E.N. Arnold 2006. Systematics, biogeography, and evolution of Hemidactylus geckos (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) elucidated using mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38 (2): 531-545 - get paper here
  • Carranza, S., Arnold, E. Nicholas 2012. A review of the geckos of the genus Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Oman based on morphology, mitochondrial and nuclear data, with descriptions of eight new species. Zootaxa 3378: 1–95 - get paper here
  • Šmíd, Jiří; Mohammed Shobrak; Thomas Wilms; Ulrich Joger & Salvador Carranza 2016. Endemic diversification in the mountains: genetic, morphological, and geographical differentiation of the Hemidactylus geckos in southwestern Arabia. Org Divers Evol, DOI 10.1007/s13127-016-0293-3
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