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Hemidactylus rishivalleyensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Rishi Valley rock gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus rishivalleyensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR 2020
Hemidactylus treutleri — SREEKAR et al. 2010 [part]
Hemidactylus treutleri — LAJMI et al. 2016 
DistributionIndia (Andhra Pradesh: Chittoor district)

Type locality: Cave Rock Hill, Rishi Valley school (13.632° N 78.457° E; ca. 730 m asl.), Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh state, India  
TypesHolotype. NCBS-BH728 (AK 649), adult male, collected by Akshay Khandekar, Ishan Agarwal, Nikhil Gaitonde and Joshua Muyiwa on 12 March 2019.
Paratypes. NCBS-BH731 (AK 650), NCBS-BH732 (AK 651), adult males, NCBS-BH729 (AK 647), NCBS- BH730 (AK 648), NCBS-BH733 (AK 652), NCBS-BH734 (AK 653), NCBS-BH735 (AK 654) adult females, same collection data as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized Hemidactylus, SVL to at least 63 mm (n=8). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous,
composed of subcircular granular scales intermixed with 15 or 16 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of much enlarged, strongly keeled, pointed tubercles that are heterogeneous in shape and size, extending from occiput to tail; 17–22 tubercles in paravertebral rows. Ventrolateral folds indistinct; about 30–35 scale rows across the venter. Digits with enlarged scansors, lamellae in straight transverse series, all divided except the apical and a few basal that are undivided, nine (manus) and nine or ten (pes) lamellae beneath fourth digit and six or seven (manus and pes) beneath first digit. Males with 10–12 femoral pores on each side separated by nine or ten poreless scales. Original tail depressed, scales on dorsal aspect heterogeneous, slightly larger than granular scales on dorsum, granular, intermixed with a longitudinal series of 4–6 much enlarged, strongly pointed, keeled tubercles; single median row of enlarged subcaudal plates covering almost entire tail venter except a single row closest to vent divided, bordered laterally by single row of larger pointed, smooth, imbricate scales; three enlarged postcloacal spurs on both sides, anterior and middle spurs similar to each other in size and shape and marginally smaller than dorsal tubercles; posterior spur largest, at least thrice the size of anterior. Dorsal coloration beige, numerous scattered dark and light blotches on dorsum.

Comparison with members of the brookii group. Based on size, dorsal pholidosis and general colouration, Hemidactylus rishivalleyensis sp. nov. is most similar to H. brookii, H. chipkali Mirza & Raju, H. gleadowi Murray, H. kushmorensis Murray, H. malcolmsmithi Constable, H. murrayi Gleadow, H. parvimaculatus Deraniyagala, H. subtriedroides Annandale, H. varadgirii Chaitanya, Agarwal, Lajmi & Khandekar, H. chikhaldaraensis Agarwal, Giri, Bauer & Khandekar H. sankariensis Agarwal, Giri, Bauer & Khandekar and H. treutleri Mahony but can be diagnosed on the basis of the following combination of characters: 10–12 femoral pores on each side separated by nine or ten poreless scales (opposing character states indicated in parentheses): H. brookii (12–13 femoral pores on each side separated by single poreless scale), H. chipkali (seven femoral pores on each side separated medially by eight poreless scales), H. gleadowi (12–13 femoral pores on each side separated by single poreless scale), H. kushmorensis (10–11 femoral pores on each side separated by 2–3 poreless scales), H. malcolmsmithi (10–14 femoral pores on each side separated by 1–3 poreless scales), H. murrayi (6–8 femoral pores on each side separated by 5–7 poreless scales), H. parvimaculatus (11–17 femoral pores on each side separated by 1–3 poreless scales), H. sankariensis (15 femoral pores on each side separated by four poreless scales), H. subtriedroides (seven femoral pores on each side separated by five or six poreless scales), H. treutleri (seven femoral pores on each side separated by seven poreless scales).

Colouration in life (Fig. 10A). Dorsal ground colour of head, body, limbs and tail beige. Two indistinct dark preorbital streaks, one terminating at nostril and the other at supralabials; postorbital streaks not distinct. Labials with fine black spots and yellow streaks. Head, body, limbs and tail with dark brown/ black and off-white blotches; tail with narrow dark, broader brown and still broader light markings, darker markings more defined on posterior two-thirds of tail. Venter off-white; with very fine black speckles on only the lateral edge of the belly and gular region; faintly suffused with yellow on the extreme lateral edge of the belly and throat. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a toponym for the Rishi Valley, the type locality for the new species. 
  • AGARWAL, I., THACKERAY, T., & KHANDEKAR, A. 2020. Geckos in the granite: two new geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from rocky, scrub habitats in Rishi Valley, Andhra Pradesh, India. Zootaxa 4838 (4): 451-474 - get paper here
  • Ganesh S.R., Bubesh Guptha 2021. Herpetological diversity in the Central Eastern Ghats, Peninsular India. Journal of Animal Diversity, 3(3): 18-44 - get paper here
  • Lajmi, Aparna; Varad B. Giri & K. Praveen Karanth 2016. Molecular data in conjunction with morphology help resolve the Hemidactylus brookii complex (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Org Divers Evol, DOI 10.1007/s13127-016-0271-9 - get paper here
  • Sreekar, Rachakonda; Shreekant Deodhar and Yashada Kulkarni. 2010. Predation on Hemidactylus treutleri (Squamata: Gekkonidae) by the peninsular rock agama Psammophilus dorsalis (Squamata: Agamidae) in Rishi Valley, Andhra Pradesh, India. Herpetology Notes 3: 33-35.
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