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Lepidodactylus kwasnickae KRAUS, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common Names 
SynonymLepidodactylus kwasnickae KRAUS 2019: 316 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Milne Bay Province)

Type locality: Gisabwai, 9.0760°S, 152.7748°E, 110 m, Woodlark Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea  
TypesHolotype. BPBM 39880 (field tag FK 15809), mature male, collected by F. Kraus and local villagers, 12 October 2011.
Paratypes (n=9). Same data as holotype (BPBM 39879, 39881–82) except collected 17 October 2011 (BPBM 39883–84); Upper Muniai River, 9.1216°S, 152.7486°E, 67 m, 17 October 2010 (BPBM 39149); Gisabwai, 9.0745°S, 152.77265°E, 105 m, 19 October 2010 (BPBM 39150–51); Piak Track, 9.1153°S, 152.7484°E, 60 m, 22 October 2010 (BPBM 39152). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A medium-sized species (adult SVL 41.5–49.5 mm) species of Lepidodactylus having a subcylindrical tail without a lateral fringe of enlarged scales; 2–3 divided subterminal scansors on T4; 12–15 enlarged scales of pore-bearing series limited to precloacal region, 12–14 precloacal pores in males; 12–20 T4 lamellae, 8–12 T1 lamellae; lamellae occupying most of the length of the toes (T4lamellaeL/T4L = 0.67–0.93); toes relatively long (T4L/SVL = 0.11–0.13) and of moderate width (T4W/T4L = 0.26–0.34); toes approximately one-quarter webbed (T3T4webL/T4L = 0.18–0.26); numerous (9–10) small precloacal scales between apex of pore-bearing series and the cloaca in adults; no row of tiny scales between the precloacal series and either side of the pubic patch; row of dorsolateral white spots, lacking dark spots in this region; and many posteroventral and plantar scales uniformly brown.

Comparisons with other species. The subcylindrical tail without a lateral fringe of enlarged scales and the 2–3 divided subterminal scansors under the toes place Lepidodactylus kwasnickae sp. nov. in Brown and Parker’s (1977) Group II. Lepidodactylus kwasnickae sp. nov. differs from other Melanesian members of this group as follows: from L. guppyi, L. pulcher, and L. shebae in having fewer enlarged precloacal scales (12–15 versus 39–52, 18–20, and 34, respectively) and fewer precloacal pores (12–14 versus 39–52, 16, and 32, respectively); and further differs from L. pulcher in having the lamellae occupy less area on the fourth toe (T4lamellaeL/T4L = 0.67–0.93 versus 1.0 in L. pulcher) and from L. shebae in its larger adult size (SVL 41.5–49.5 mm versus ~36 mm in L. shebae). It differs from L. novaeguineae in having more T4 lamellae (12–20 versus 9–15 in L. novaeguineae, Fig. 3E versus 3F), a longer fourth toe (T4L/SVL = 0.11–0.13 versus 0.10 in L. novaeguineae), dorsum and sides usually rufescent and with dorsolateral series of white spots (versus dorsal pattern with longitudinal dark-brown streaks or dorsolateral series of bold dark-brown spots in L. novaeguineae), and many posteroventral and plantar scales uniformly brown (versus only with minute black punctations in L. novaeguineae, Fig. 3E versus 3F)). It differs from L. mitchelli sp. nov. in its larger adult size (SVL = mean 45.7 mm, range 41.5–49.5 mm versus mean 40.3, range = 35–45.5 mm in L. mitchelli sp. nov., mass = mean 2.36 g, range 1.85–2.95 g versus mean 1.63 g, range 1.15–2.15 g in L. mitchelli sp. nov.); longer fourth toe (T4L/SVL = 0.11–0.13 versus 0.089–0.11 in L. mitchelli sp. nov.); more and smaller scales between the enlarged precloacal series and the opening of the cloaca in adults (9–10 vs 6–8 in L. mitchelli sp. nov.); tiny scales between the precloacal series and either side of the pubic patch absent (present in L. mitchelli sp. nov.); and dorsum and sides more boldly patterned, usually rufescent, and with row of dorsolateral white spots (versus dorsal pattern obscure, brown, and without dorsolateral white spots in L. mitchelli sp. nov., Fig. 4A versus 4B, C, D in Kraus 2019). 
CommentHabitat: densely shaded second-growth forest (Fig. 5B). In nearby areas that had been largely cleared of trees, L. lugubris occupied the remaining Pandanus trees. Hence, this species appears to be an obligate forest dweller. Much of Woodlark Island is currently covered by recovering secondary rainforest, so habitat for this apparently obligate forest dweller is presently adequate. 
EtymologyThe name is a genitive honorific for Kraus’ friend Gretta Kwasnicka who has long provided gracious hospitality and support for his fieldwork in Milne Bay Province. 
  • Kraus, Fred 2019. New species of Lepidodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from New Guinea and adjacent islands. Zootaxa 4651 (2): 305–329 - get paper here
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