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Hemidactylus sankariensis AGARWAL, BAUER, GIRI & KHANDEKAR, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesSankari brookiish gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus sankariensis AGARWAL, BAUER, GIRI & KHANDEKAR 2019 
DistributionIndia (Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: mined hillock near Kidayur road (11.500° N 77.859° E; ca. 350 m asl.), Sankari, Salem District, Tamil Nadu state, India.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: NCBS BH682, adult male, collected by Akshay Khandekar, Ishan Agarwal and Nikhil Gaitonde on 19 April 2018.
Paratypes: NCBS BH681, BNHS 2535, adult males, NCBS-BH683, adult female, same collection data as holotype. BNHS 2536, adult female, same data as holotype except collected by Akshay Khandekar, Caleb Daniel, Ishan Agarwal and R. Chaitanya on 12 November 2017. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A medium sized Hemidactylus, SVL to at least 50.8 mm (n=5). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, composed of subcircular granular scales intermixed with 15–17 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of much enlarged, strongly keeled, pointed tubercles that are heterogeneous in shape and size, extending from occiput to tail. Ventrolateral folds indistinct; about 33–35 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, eight (manus) and 7–9 (pes) lamellae beneath fourth digit and six (manus and pes) beneath first digit. Males with 15 femoral pores on each side separated by four 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 three rows closest to vent divided, bordered laterally by one or two rows of larger pointed, smooth, imbricate scales; a pair of much enlarged postcloacal spurs on both sides, posterior spur larger than dorsal tubercles and at least twice the size of anterior. Dorsal coloration light beige, numerous scattered dark spots on dorsum, forming three indistinct X markings between limb insertions, each flanked by lighter blotches.

Comparison with members of the brookii group. Hemidactylus sankariensis sp. nov. has over 15–18% uncorrected ND2 sequence divergence from other members of the murrayi clade (Table 3). Based on size, dorsal pholidosis and general colouration, Hemidactylus sankariensis sp. nov. is most similar to H. brookii, H. chipkali, H. gleadowi, H. kushmorensis, H. malcolmsmithi, H. murrayi, H. parvimaculatus, H. subtriedroides, and H. treutleri but can be diagnosed on the basis of the following combination of characters: 15 femoral pores on each side separated by 4 poreless scales (opposing character states indicated in parentheses): H. brookii (12 or 13 femoral pores separated by single poreless scale), H. chipkali (seven femoral pores on each side separated medially by eight poreless scales), H. gleadowi (12 or 13 femoral pores separated by single poreless scale), H. kushmorensis (10 or 11 femoral pores separated by two or three poreless scales), H. malcolmsmithi (10–14 femoral pores separated medially by 1–3 poreless scales), H. murrayi (six or seven femoral pores separated by six poreless scales), H. parvimaculatus (11–17 femoral pores separated by 1–3 poreless scales), H. subtriedroides (7 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). 
CommentHabitat: the female paratype (BNHS 2536) was observed resting at the margin of a narrow crevice that spanned a large granite boulder during the daytime. On a subsequent visit to the same location the species was fairly abundant and active on rocks and boulders after dark.

Sympatry: Hemidactylus frenatus, Hemidactylus graniticolus, Hemidactylus parvimaculatus, Cnemaspis agarwali, Eutropis bibronii, Psammophilus dorsalis and Calotes versicolor. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a toponym for the type locality of the species. 
References
  • AGARWAL, ISHAN;AARON M. BAUER, VARAD B. GIRI & AKSHAY KHANDEKAR 2019. An expanded ND2 phylogeny of the brookii and prashadi groups with the description of three new Indian Hemidactylus Oken (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 4619 (3): 431–458 - get paper here
 
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