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Hemidactylus paaragowli SRIKANTHAN, SWAMY, MOHAN & PAL, 2018

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Travancore Rock Gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus paaragowli SRIKANTHAN, SWAMY, MOHAN & PAL 2018 
DistributionIndia (Kerala)

Type locality: Ambanad Tea Estate, Agastyamalai, Tenmala Hills, Kollam District, Kerala, India (9.0410° N, 77.1155° E)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: CES (given as CESL) 718, adult male; collected on 4 June 2012 by S.R. Chandra Mouli. Paratypes. CESL 270, adult female, CESL 271, adult female, CESL 272, adult male, CESL274, adult female, CESL 267, adult female; collected from Kanayar, Devarmalai-Sivagiri Hill Complex, Kollam District, Kerala, India (9.1249° N, 77.1736° E) on 23 May 2011 by Saunak Pal and Mrugank Prabhu; CESL 127, adult male collected from Achankovil, Kollam District, Kerala, India (9.1318° N, 77.1497° E) on 11 October 2009 by S.P. Vijaykumar. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large-sized gecko of the genus Hemidactylus, snout-vent length up to 124.4 mm; dorsum with heterogeneous pholidosis; 22-24 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, large, striated subtrihedral tubercles, nasals in contact with the rostral and the first supralabial, two pairs of well-developed postmentals, the inner pair longer than the outer, inner pair in contact with the mental, well defined ventrolateral folds, 33–39 ventral scale rows at the mid body, 10–12 femoral pores separated by 16–18 scales, original tail partially depressed with a median dorsal furrow, oval in section, three longitudinal rows of weakly keeled, striated, partially flattened tubercles on either side of the median dorsal furrow, dorsum with a longitudinal row of “I” shaped markings along the vertebra starting from the nape till the vent, white cross markings on the tail extending to black and white alternate bands on the tail at the tip.
Most of the Indian congeners namely H. garnotii Duméril & Bibron, H. platyurus (Schneider), H. aquilonius McMahan & Zug, H. scabriceps (Annandale), H. imbricatus Bauer, Giri, Greenbaum, Jackman, Dharne & Shouche, H. gracilis Blanford, H. reticulatus Beddome, H. albofasciatus Grandison & Soman, H. sataraensis Giri & Bauer, H. brookii Gray, H. gujaratensis Giri, Bauer, Vyas & Patil, H.frenatus Schlegel, H. persicus Anderson, H. robustus Heyden, H. parvimaculatus Deraniyagala, H. treutleri Mahony, H. gleadowi Murray, H. kushmorensis Murray, H. murrayi Gleadow, H. chipkali Mirza & Raju, H.triedrus (Daudin), H. subtriedrus Jerdon, H. lankae Deraniyagala, H. depressus Gray, H. pieresii Kelaart, H.leschenaultii Duméril & Bibron, and H. flaviviridis Rüppel reach maximum SVL sizes of up to 90 mm and can be distinguished from this species with its large adult size (SVL upto 124 mm). Other congeners of H. paaragowli sp. nov. with adult SVL more than 90mm such as H. giganteus Stoliczka, H. aaronbaueri Giri, H. yajurvedi Murthy, Bauer, Agarwal, Lajmi & Giri, H. hemchandrai Dandge & Tiple, H. prashadi Smith, H. hunae Deraniyagala, H. graniticolus Agarwal, Giri & Bauer, H. maculatus Duméril & Bibron, H. acanthopholis Mirza & Sanap, H. kangerensis Mirza, Bhosale & Patil, H. sushilduttai Giri, Bauer, Mohapatra, Srinivasulu & Agarwal and H.vanam Chaitanya, Lajmi & Giri. are compared and the key distinguishing characters that set H. paaragowli sp.nov. apart from all large bodied congeners are as follows:
H. paaragowli possesses 22–24 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, large, striated subtrihedral, keeled tubercles in comparison with H.giganteus having no tubercles, H.yajurvedi, H.aaronbaueri and H.hemachandrai having slightly enlarged, weakly keeled dorsal tubercles H. prashadi having14–16 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, large, weakly keeled subtrihedral tubercles; H. maculatus having 20 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, large, striated trihedral, keeled tubercles; H. graniticolus having 16–18 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, large, striated subtrihedral, keeled tubercles; H. hunae having 16–20 longitudinal rows of regularly arranged, enlarged, subtrihedral, keeled tubercle; H.vanam having 17–19 rows of strongly keeled, heterogenous and striated tubercles, H. acanthopholis having 18–20 longitudinal rows of regularly arranged, large, striated trihedral, moderately keeled tubercle; H.kangerensis having 18–20 rows of keeled, trihedral enlarged tubercles and H.sushilduttai having 16–17 rows of strongly keeled trihedral enlarged tubercles.
The new species differs from the other large bodied congeners from the subcontinent by having 10–12 femoral pores on each side separated by 16–18 scales without pores as to H. prashadi having 17–20 femoral pores on each side separated by 3 scales without pores, H. maculatus having 16–19 femoral pores on each side separated by 5–9 scales without pores, H. graniticolus having 23–28 femoral pores on each side separated by 1–3 scales without pores, H.hunae by having 22–24 femoral pores on each side separated by 16–18 scales without pores, H. vanam having 17–22 femoral pores on each side separated by 10–11 scales without pores, H. kangerensis by having 18–21 femoral pores on each side separated by four poreless scales, H.sushilduttai by having 19–24 femoral pores on each side separated by four poreless scales and H. acanthopholis having 19–21 femoral pores separated by 13–14 scales without pores. 
Comment 
EtymologyThe species name is derived from the languages, Malayalam and Tamil. H. paaragowli sp. nov. is named after the habitat it inhabits, namely large rocks; paara means rock and gowli means gecko in both languages. ‘Gowli’ is derived from traditional South Indian mythological scriptures known as Gowli Shasthra; a set of superstitious beliefs based on where a falling gecko would land on a person. The specific epithet is formed as a noun in apposition. We conferred this name to this taxon for its predominant distribution in South India. 
References
  • SRIKANTHAN, ACHYUTHAN N.; PRIYANKA SWAMY, ASHWINI V. MOHAN, SAUNAK PAL 2018. A distinct new species of riparian rock-dwelling gecko (genus: Hemidactylus) from the southern Western Ghats. Zootaxa 4434 (1): 141–157 - get paper here
 
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