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Lepidodactylus sacrolineatus KRAUS & OLIVER, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymLepidodactylus sacrolineatus KRAUS & OLIVER 2020
Lepidodactylus magnus BROWN & PARKER 1979: 258 (part)
Lepidodactylus sp. Bundi — OLIVER et al. 2018: 4 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Madang Province)

Type locality: Keki Lodge, 4.7048°S, 145.4042°E (WGS 84), 850 m a.s.l., Adelbert Mts., Madang Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG),  
TypesHolotype: BPBM 34737 (field tag FK 13703), mature male, obtained by F. Kraus, collected 30 September 2009.
Paratypes (n = 4). Males: Bundi, E slope Mt. Wilhelm, 5.74°S, 145.23°E, 1340 m a.s.l., Madang Province, PNG, collected 23 April 1987 by T. Reardon (AMS R124447, R124492); Lalang, Cromwell Mts., 6.33°S, 147.42°E, 1400 m a.s.l., Morobe Province, PNG, collected 26 July 1964 by H.M. van Deusen (AMNH 95655). Females: Bundi, E slope Mt. Wilhelm, 5.74°S, 145.23°E, 1340 m a.s.l., Madang Province, PNG, collected 23 April 1987 by T. Reardon (AMS R124492); Ebabaang, Hube Area, 6.4931°S, 147.4632°E, 1160 m a.s.l., Morobe Province, PNG, collected 15 April 1955 by E.O. Wilson (MCZ 54246). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large species of Lepidodactylus (adult SVL 52–60 mm); tail subcylindrical; all terminal and subterminal lamellae entire; 38–47 enlarged scales of pore-bearing series divided into a precloacal series separated by 9–12 scales from each femoral series, 30–40 precloacal/femoral pores in males (9–12 precloacal, 8–14 femoral); 11–13 T4 lamellae, 8–10 T1 lamellae; moderately wide toes (T4W/T4L = 0.27–0.30); toes with only basal webbing (T3T4webL/T4L = 0.11–0.17, T4T5webL/T4L = 0.05–0.13); dorsum with scattered dark-brown spots concentrated mid-dorsally; area above tail base and hindlimb insertion with pale tan vertebral line whose posterior end flares laterally; and many posteroventral and plantar scales uniformly brown.

Color in life: Dorsal ground color gray brown with a series of darker gray-brown mid-dorsal spots and with a tan vertebral line having posterior lateral rami above the insertion of the hind legs. Venter dirty brown with reddish cast. Iris pale copper-brass (Fig. 1A).

Comparisons with other species. The subcylindrical tail and series of undivided lamellae under all toes place Lepidodactylus sacrolineatus sp. nov. in Brown & Parker’s (1977) phenetic Group I. The new species differs from all other Melanesian members of Group I except L. magnus Brown & Parker in having a high-contrast, well-demarcated vertebral line above the sacral region; some other members of this group may have the suggestion of such a line but it is never clearly delineated by a dark lateral margin, nor so long, and it is often interrupted by encroachment of banding from the sides. Lepidodactylus sacrolineatus sp. nov. further differs from other Melanesian Group I members as follows: from L. browni Pernetta & Black and L. orientalis Brown & Parker in having the pore series in males divided into three distinct groups, with one precloacal series and an additional series on each thigh ( versus having only the precloacal series in L. browni and L. orientalis); and dorsum with few dark-brown spots concentrated mid-dorsally ( versus dorsum with brown saddles in L. browni and L. orientalis). The new species differs from L. aignanus Kraus in its much larger size (SVL = 52–60 mm versus 37.5 mm in L. aignanus) and in having 38–47 enlarged precloacal/femoral scales distributed in three series ( versus 17 enlarged scales comprising only a precloacal series in L. aignanus), only basally webbed toes (T3T4webL/T4L = 0.11–0.17 versus 0.26 in L. aignanus), and dorsum with few dark-brown spots concentrated mid-dorsally ( versus with brown saddles and many pale lateral and dorsolateral round spots in L. aignanus); from L. mutahi Brown & Parker in its larger size (male SVL = 57–60 mm versus 37–56 mm in L. mutahi, female SVL = 52–57 mm versus 43–50 mm in L. mutahi), its tripartite precloacal/ femoral pore series ( versus a single continuous series in L. mutahi), slightly higher number of precloacal/femoral pores (30–40 versus 27–34), and less toe webbing (T3T4webL/T4L = 0.11–0.17 versus ~0.25 in L. mutahi); from L. pumilus in its larger size (SVL = 52–60 mm versus 34–48 mm in L. pumilus), less toe webbing (T3T4webL/T4L = 0.11–0.17 versus 0.18–0.19 in L. pumilus) especially between T4 and T5 (T4T5webL/T4L = 0.05–0.13 versus 0.23 in L. pumilus), and its gray dorsum with few dark-brown spots concentrated mid-dorsally ( versus uniformly pale red-brown dorsum in L. pumilus); from L. zweifeli Kraus in its considerably larger adult size (SVL = 52–60 mm versus 41–44.5 mm in L. zweifeli), femoral pore series separated by 9–12 scales from precloacal series ( versus 2–3 scales in L. zweifeli), enlarged scales present on thighs ( versus absent in L. zweifeli), and wider digits (T4W/T4L = 0.28–0.30 versus 0.24–27 in L. zweifeli).
The new species is most similar to L. magnus, from which it differs in its smaller size (mean SVL = 56.7 mm, range = 52–60 mm, SD = 1.30 versus mean = 64.8 mm, range = 56.5–69.5 mm, SD = 1.86 in L. magnus) and in having the precloacal/femoral pores in three widely separated series separated by 9–12 scales ( versus usually in a single series in L. magnus but may have one or a few scales disrupting the series); enlarged chin shields usually in 2–3 pairs posterior to the mental ( versus a single pair followed by irregular smaller scales in L. magnus); no dark stripe above arm or behind eye ( versus present in L. magnus); and dark dorsal spots fewer, largely concentrated mid-dorsally ( versus many dark spots that are mostly lateral in L. magnus, and dorsum banded in life in L. magnus, Fig. 1B, C). Though both species have a pale vertebral line above the tail base and hindlimb insertion, that of L. sacrolineatus sp. nov. differs from that in L. magnus in having its posterior end widely flared laterally and in being of higher contrast with the surrounding coloration. In contrast, the condition seen in L. magnus is for this line to be the same width posteriorly as across the remainder of the stripe, although AMS R16603 has the posterior end slightly flared, though not so much as seen in L. sacrolineatus sp. nov. And the line in L. magnus is of less contrast with the surrounding color than seen in L. sacrolineatus sp. nov. (Fig. 1). 
EtymologyThe species name is a masculine compound adjective derived from the Latin os sacrum, in reference to the fused vertebral bone between the hindlimbs, and linea, or line. The name is in reference to the distinctive marking this species has in the sacral region. 
  • KRAUS, FRED; PAUL M. OLIVER 2019. A new species of Lepidodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the mountains of northeastern Papua New Guinea: older than the hills. Zootaxa 4718 (4): 549–561 - get paper here
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