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Lepidoblepharis victormartinezi BATISTA, PONCE, VESELY, MEBERT, HERTZ, KÖHLER, CARRIZO & LOTZKAT, 2015

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLepidoblepharis victormartinezi BATISTA, PONCE, VESELY, MEBERT, HERTZ, KÖHLER, CARRIZO & LOTZKAT 2015
Lepidoblepharis sp. — MARTÍNEZ & RODRIGUEZ 1994 (possibly)
Lepidoblepharis sp. — MARTÍNEZ et al. 1995 (possibly)
Lepidoblepharis xanthostigma — CARRIZO 2010: SMF 89963
Lepidoblepharis xanthostigma — LOTZKAT et al. 2010: SMF 89963 
DistributionPanama (Colón)

Type locality: leaf-litter 500 m east of the village Chicheme (8.865278°N, 80.643829°W, 100 m elev.), San José del General, Donoso district, Colón province, Panama  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. SMF 50951, Adult female, original field number AB 1241 (Fig. 12), collected on 25 January 2013 at 11:40 hrs by Abel Batista, Lester Vásquez, and Leysi Díaz.
Paratypes. Four adult males, all from Panama: SMF 89963 from Cerro Negro, Veraguas, on 28 July 2008; SMF 50950 (collected on 20 July 2011), 50952, and MHCH 2954 from Petaquilla, Coclé del Norte, Donoso, Colón; see Appendix I for locality details. 
CommentSynonymy: most of the synonyms referred to certain populations of Lepidoblepharis xanthostigma in Colón and Veraguas.

Diagnosis. Lepidoblepharis victormartinezi (our sp. nov. 3) is characterized by the following combination of characters: (1) dorsal scales small, granular, and juxtaposed, ventral scales large, cycloid, flat, and imbricate; (2) scales on head small and granular; (3) 3–5 (4.4 ± 0.89) postrostrals; (4) two paramedian clefts demarcate the slightly convex median portion of the posterior mental border, rendering the latter vaguely M-shaped in its totality; (5) 5–7 (6.0 ± 0.71) postmentals; (6) lamellae under fourth toe 6–8 (6.6 ± 0.89), lamellae under fourth finger 4–5 (4.8 ± 0.45), the subdigital lamellae under each digit showing a peculiar morphology that is unique within the genus, with 1–3 proximal one(s) longitudinally greatly enlarged, each about 3–4 times longer than any of the remaining lamellae; (7) median subcaudals only slightly larger than the neighboring scales, about as long as wide, with rounded posterior margins, arranged in a regular tail sequence of 1'1'' (Fig. 3 D); (8) ventral escutcheon consisting of 61–68 (63.3 ± 3.30) scales, 6–8 (6.8 ± 0.96) scales long and 12–15 (13.8 ± 1.26) wide; (9) lack of a discernible subfemoral escutcheon; (10) ventral scales at midbody 15–19 (17.4 ± 1.52); (11) dorsal scales at midbody 53–67 (59.8 ± 5.36); (12) bilobate hemipenis, with a third lobule rising from the pedicel; (13) SVL 25–27 (25.6 ± 0.89) mm.

Comparison with other species of the genus. Lepidoblepharis victormartinezi can be differentiated from many species in the genus by its small size and its low number of lamellae under the fourth toe and finger (Figs. 3 D; 4). Moreover, the conspicuous morphology of its subdigital lamellae is unique within the genus and immediately distinguishes it from any described congener. In the following, we provide further comparisons to all other species within the genus, with the characteristics for L. victormartinezi in parentheses. Lepidoblepharis victormartinezi can be distinguished from the Panamanian species L. xanthostigma, L. sanctaemartae, L. rufigularis, and L. emberawoundule by a genetic p-distance of 10–21% in 16S mtDNA between individuals. Lepidoblepharis xanthostigma has greatly enlarged median subcaudal scales (slightly enlarged) and 12–16 lamellae under its fourth toe (6–8). Lepidoblepharis sanctaemartae has large, flat, imbricate dorsal body scales (small, granular, juxtaposed). Lepidoblepharis emberawoundule has 5–8 lamellae under its fourth finger (4–5), a ventral escutcheon consisting of 38–61 scales (57–68), and a well-discernible subfemoral escutcheon consisting of 4–5 scales in a single row under each thigh (no discernible subfemoral escutcheon). Lepidoblepharis rufigularis has 13 lamellae under its fourth toe (6–8) and 11 under its fourth finger (4–5). To date, seven species of the genus Lepidoblepharis have been reported to possess ten or fewer lamellae under the fourth toe, i.e., to be short-toed. Two of these, L. miyatai and L. sanctaemartae, possess large, flat, and imbricate dorsal scales (dorsal scales small, granular, and juxtaposed). Lepidoblepharis buchwaldi, L. microlepis, L. montecanoensis, L. peraccae, and L. williamsi can confidently be ruled out as conspecifics since the inspection of the illustrations and photographs available for the holotypes showed no subdigital lamellae to be as conspicuously enlarged as in L. victormartinezi. Moreover, in the holotype of L. peraccae the plantar and palmar scales have the posterior border ovoid and imbricated (plantar and palmar scales small rounded and juxtaposed), and in the holotype of L. microlepis all of the slightly enlarged median subcaudal scales are bordered laterodistally by one scale, forming a regular tail sequence of 1'1' (the slightly more enlarged median subcaudals bordered laterodistally by two scales, the slightly smaller ones by one, forming a regular tail sequence of 1'1''). The remaining species of the genus, i.e., L colombianus, L conolepis, L. duolepis, L. festae, L. grandis, L. heyerorum, L. hogmoedi, L. intermedius, and L. ruthveni are long- toed with eleven or more lamellae under the fourth toe (6–8 in L. victormartinezi).

Habitat. Lepidoblepharis victormartinezi is an endemic species of the Isthmian-Atlantic moist forests in west-central Panama (Fund 2011), known from around 100 m elev. in the province of Colón and 700 m elev. in Veraguas province. Most probably, L. victormartinezi lives in the leaf-litter and feeds on small invertebrates like other Lepidoblepharis (Vitt et al. 2005). Most specimens have been found on top of small hills, giving the impression that this species prefers drier environments on the hills rather than the more wet flat areas around the same locality. However, the specimen SMF 89963 was found in a wet flat area [BATISTA et al. 2015]. 
Etymology“The specific epithet victormartinezi is a patronym for Victor Martínez Cortés, who has pioneered Panamanian herpetology among native researchers, and was the first Panamanian herpetologist ever to publish his results in scientific journals. Since the 1980s, he has conducted herpetological inventory work at biogeographically significant localities throughout western Panama. The now unfortunately lost (V. Martínez, personal communication) specimens of "Lepidoblepharis sp." mentioned in his species lists of the region around Santa Fé de Veraguas (Martínez et al. 1995, Martínez & Rodriguez 1994), which includes Cerro Negro as the provenance of one of our paratypes, might have been the first specimens of this new species that were ever collected. We dedicate this species to our friend and colleague Victor Martínez in due recognition of his passionate dedication to, and great achievements for, Panamanian herpetology.” [BATISTA et al. 2015]. 
References
  • BATISTA, ABEL; MARCOS PONCE, MILAN VESELY, KONRAD MEBERT, ANDREAS HERTZ, GUNTHER KÖHLER, ARCADIO CARRIZO & SEBASTIAN LOTZKAT 2015. Revision of the genus Lepidoblepharis (Reptilia: Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) in Central America, with the description of three new species. Zootaxa 3994 (2): 187–221 - get paper here
  • CALDERÓN-ESPINOSA, MARTHA LUCIA & GUIDO FABIAN MEDINA-RANGEL 2016. A new Lepidoblepharis lizard (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) from the Colombian Guyana shield. Zootaxa 4067 (2): 215–232
  • Carrizo, A. 2010. Riqueza y abundancia de la herpetofauna de la cuenca alta del Río Santa María, Santa Fe, Veraguas. Master thesis, Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí, Davíd, Panama, 123 pp - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2016. Liste der im Jahr 2015 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Terraria-Elaphe 2016 (3): 56-67 - get paper here
  • Lotzkat, S., Hertz, A., Stadler, L., Hamad, N., Carrizo Diaz, A.R. & Köhler, G. 2010. Noteworthy distribution records records of reptiles from Western Panamá. Herpetological Review 41: 520–523 - get paper here
  • Martínez, V. & Rodríguez, A. 1994. Del primer inventario en "Cerro Tute". Amphibia: Caudata y Anura. Reptilia: Squamata. Sauria y Serpentes. Scientia (Panama), 7: 29–53 [1992]
 
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