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Hemidactylus sushilduttai GIRI, BAUER, MOHAPATRA, SRINVASULU & AGARWAL, 2017

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Dutta’s Mahendragiri Gecko/ Hemidactyl 
SynonymHemidactylus sushilduttai GIRI, BAUER, MOHAPATRA, SRINVASULU & AGARWAL 2017
Hemidactylus maculatus — SMITH 1935 (non DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836)
Hemidactylus maculatus — MCCANN 1945: 435
Hemidactylus maculatus maculatus — JAVED et al. 2010 (non DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836)
Hemidactylus cf. maculatus — MIRZA & SANAP 2014 
DistributionIndia (Andhra Pradesh)

Type locality: Simhachalam, Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, India (17.767° N 83.248° E),  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: NCBS AU157, adult male; collected by Aparna Lajmi, Aniruddha Datta-Roy and V. Deepak, 01 April 2014. Paratypes. ESV 109, adult male, near Lambasingi, Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, India (17.798° N, 82.502° E, 750 masl), collected by Aniruddha Datta-Roy, V. Deepak, Ishan Agarwal and Prudhviraj, 06 October 2014; ESV 110, adult female, Maredumilli, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh (17.443° N 81.753° E), same collectors as holotype, 29 March 2014; ESV 111, subadult male, ESV 112 and ESV 113, adult females, same collection data as holotype. NCBS AU160, adult female, near Ananthagiri, Visakhapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, India (18.255° N, 82.991° E, 1170 masl), 18 September 2013, collected by Aniruddha Datta-Roy, Ishan Agarwal and Tarun Khichi. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large sized Hemidactylus, snout-vent averaging 91.9 ± 13.3 mm (n=6) and up to at least 105.0 mm. Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, composed of granular scales intermixed with 16–17 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows of enlarged, strongly keeled, trihedral tubercles at midbody. First supralabial in contact with nasal; two well-developed pairs of postmentals, the inner pair slightly larger than the outer pair and in contact behind the mental. Ventrolateral folds indistinct, 30–33 scale rows across venter. All digits with enlarged scansors, 11–12 (manus) and 11–13 (pes) divided lamellae beneath fourth digit and 9–11 (manus) and 9–11 (pes) beneath first digit; 21–24 femoral pores on each side separated by four poreless scales in males. Original tail depressed, oval in transverse section with a median dorsal furrow; scales on the dorsal aspect of tail heterogenous, slightly larger than granular scales on dorsum, weakly imbricate, intermixed with a longitudinal series of six to eight, enlarged, strongly keeled and pointed tubercles. Dorsal coloration of transversely arranged, pale grey to ashy markings on a pale mustard-brown background. Hemidactylus sushilduttai sp. nov. can be easily distinguished from most congeners from India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan based on its heterogenous dorsal pholidosis that consists of small granules intermixed with 16–17 rows of fairly regularly arranged, longitudinal rows of distinct, pointed trihedral tubercles at midbody versus H. aquilonius Zug & McMahan, H. garnotii Duméril & Bibron and H. platyurus (Schneider), which all have homogenous dorsal pholidosis of small granules without enlarged tubercles; H. imbricatus Bauer, Giri, Greenbaum, Jackman, Dharne & Shouche and H. scabriceps (Annandale), which have homogenous dorsal pholidosis with imbricate scales and no enlarged tubercles; H. albofasciatus Grandison & Soman, H. gracilis Blanford, H. reticulatus Beddome and H. sataraensis Giri & Bauer which have heterogenous dorsal pholidosis with irregularly arranged indistinct tubercles; H. frenatus Duméril & Bibron, H. leschenaultii Duméril & Bibron, and H. flaviviridis Rüppel, which either lack enlarged tubercles or have small rounded tubercles mainly on the flanks; and H. gujaratensis Giri, Bauer, Vyas & Patil which has 12–16 rows of irregularly arranged, flattened to weakly conical dorsal tubercles. The large size of Hemidactylus sushilduttai sp. nov. (up to 105.0 mm SVL) easily distinguishes it from the smaller sized, tuberculate congeners H. brookii Gray, H. chipkali Mirza & Raju, H. depressus Gray, H. gleadowi Murray, H. kushmorensis Murray, H. lankae Deraniyagala, H. murrayi Gleadow 1887, H. parvimaculatus Deraniyagala, H. persicus Anderson, H. pieresii Kelaart, H. robustus Heyden, H. tenkatei Lidth de Jeude, H. treutleri Mahony, H. triedrus (Daudin), and H. turcicus (Linnaeus), all of which reach maximum sizes of 90 mm SVL or less. A number of congeners in India and Sri Lanka approach or exceed maximum sizes of 100 mm, including H. aaronbaueri Giri 2008, H. acanthopholis, H. giganteus Stoliczka, H. graniticolus, H. hemchandrai Dandge & Tiple, H. hunae Deraniyagala, H. maculatus Duméril & Bibron, H. prashadi Smith, and H. yajurvedi Murthy, Bauer, Agarwal, Lajmi & Giri. Hemidactylus sushilduttai sp. nov. can be diagnosed from all large-bodied Indian and Sri Lankan congeners by the number and shape of enlarged dorsal tubercles (16–18 rows of fairly regularly arranged, longitudinal rows of distinct trihedral tubercles at midbody) and number and arrangement of femoral pores (20–23 femoral pores separated by 3–6 poreless scales) (opposing character states indicated parenthetically): H. giganteus (complete absence of enlarged dorsal tubercles), H. yajurvedi and H. hemchandrai (10–15 rows of irregularly arranged, slightly larger, rounded, weakly-keeled tubercles at midbody), H. prashadi (14–16 rows of enlarged subtrihedral tubercles and 17–20 femoral pores on each side separated by three poreless scales), H. hunae (16–20 relatively regular rows of keeled, subtrihedral tubercles and 22–24 femoral pores on each side with a gap of 3–6 scales ), H. graniticolus (16–18 relatively regular rows of subtrihedral, weakly keeled, striated tubercles and 23–28 femoral pores on each side separated by 1–3 poreless scales), H. maculatus (20 relatively regular longitudinal rows of large trihedral tubercles and 15–19 femoral pores on each side with a gap of 5–6 poreless scales), H. acanthopholis (18–20 relatively regular longitudinal rows of trihedral, moderately keeled, striated tubercles and 19–21 femoral pores separated by 13–14 poreless scales). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym honoring Sushil Kumar Dutta for his contributions to research on Indian amphibians and reptiles, as well as for his central role in encouraging many young herpetologists through talks, workshops, and the dedicated School in Herpetology. The name is particularly apt as the new species is endemic to the Eastern Ghats, the region in which much of S.K. Dutta’s herpetological research has been. 
References
  • GIRI, VARAD B.; AARON M. BAUER, PRATYUSH P. MOHAPATRA, CHELMALA SRINIVASULU, ISHAN AGARWAL 2017. A new species of large-bodied, tuberculate Hemidactylus Oken (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Eastern Ghats, India Zootaxa 4347 (2): 331-345 - get paper here
  • Maqsood Javed, S.M.; C. Srinivasulu , K. Lakshmi Rao , T. Raseswari & Farida Tampal 2010. A divergent population of Hemidactylus frenatus Duméril & Bibron, 1836 (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from the northern Eastern Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (10): 1205-1213 - get paper here
  • McCann, C. 1945. Reptiles and amphibians of Vizagapatam and neighbouring Ghats. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 45, 435–436
  • 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
  • Smith,M.A. 1935. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptiles and Amphibia, Vol. II. Sauria. Taylor and Francis, London, 440 pp.
  • Srinivasulu, Chelmala; Aditya Srinivasulu and Gandla Chethan Kumar. 2018. A New Cryptic Rock-dwelling Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from northern Karnataka, India. Zootaxa 4444 (1); 25–42. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4444.1.2 - get paper here
 
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