Microgecko tanishpaensis MASROOR, KHISROON, KHAN & JABLONSKI, 2020
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|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Tanishpa’s dwarf gecko|
|Synonym||Microgecko tanishpaensis MASROOR, KHISROON, KHAN & JABLONSKI 2020|
Type locality: Tanishpa, Torghar, Killa Saifullah district, Balochistan, Pakistan (31.19° N, 68.47° E), elevation 2378 m a.s.l.
|Types||Holotype: PMNH 4023 (Pakistan Museum of Natural History), an adult female, collected 3 September, 2018, leg. Ibad-ur-Rehman (Figs. 2, 4A,E, 5A,B).|
Paratypes. All the paratypes were collected from the same locality as the holotype. PMNH 3695 is adult male, 27 March, 2017, leg. Muazzam Ali Khan. PMNH 4024, adult male and PMNH 4025, a subadult, 27 August, 2018, leg. Iqbal Sher (Figs. 3, 4 B–D,F, 5C,D in Masroor et al. 2020).
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A large Microgecko (to at least 43.8 mm SVL) characterized by flattened head, body and tail, five scales bordering the nostril, internasal (supranasal) scales in contact with nostril and separated from each other, two pairs of postmentals, 76–84 scales around midbody, 144–156 ventral scales from the postmental to vent, 75–86 scales along dorsal midline from axilla to groin and six precloacal pores in adult male (Masroor et al. 2020).|
Coloration. Live specimens have saffron yellow color above, ventral surfaces dusty to cream; a chocolate-colored band from snout through eye, ears and meeting with a nuchal band; a short brownish bar on occiput; three transverse bands on dorsum between axilla and groin, the interspace between them about more than two times the width of narrow bands, another fairly small brownish spot midway between insertion of hindlimbs. Body coloration and pattern of the three paratypes (Fig. 3: PMNH 3695, 4024 & 4025) almost exactly as the holotype (Masroor et al. 2020).
Comparison with other species of Microgecko: Microgecko tanishpaensis sp. nov. superficially resembles M. depressus but differs from it in the following characters: larger size, five scales in contact with nostril including first supralabial, rostral and three nasals (versus four in M. depressus including first supralabial, rostral and two nasals; Fig. 5A), supranasals and postsupranasals differentiated from the surrounding scales (versus not differentiated); supranasal in contact with nostril (versus not in contact; Fig. 5A), separated from each other by a scale (versus in contact), rostral pentagonal (versus quadarangular), six supralabials anterior to eye, the rest below the orbit but separated from the eye by granules (versus 4 to 5), 10–11 supralabials (versus 8–10), 144–156 GVA (versus 129–139), 76–84 scales around midbody (versus 74–76), two pairs of postmentals (versus absent or one small pair; Fig. 5B), three dark brown transverse bands on the back (versus 3–5), five transverse bands on tail (versus 6) and six precloacal pores in males (versus 2–5).
Microgecko h. helenae Nikolsky and M. h. fasciatus Schmidtler & Schmidtler, both very distantly distributed in Iran, can be easily differentiated from M. tanishpaensis sp. nov. by the following combination of characters: 5–8 supralabials (versus 10–11), three supralabials reach the front edge of orbit (versus 6), one pair of postmentals (versus 2), supranasals and postsupranasals in contact or partly separated (versus always separated in M. tanishpaensis sp. nov.), 11–15 subdigital lamellae on 4th toe (versus 17–19), 101–126 GVA (versus 144–156), 60–75 scales across midbody (versus 76–84), none or 5–7 dorsal crossbars on back edged with white color in the rear (versus 3 crossbars with no white edges) and none or 7–12 crossbars on tail (versus 5).
Except for M. persicus bakhtiari Minton, Anderson & Anderson, the other two subspecies of Persian dwarf gecko M. persicus differ from M. tanishpaensis sp. nov. in having a dorsal color pattern of crossbars with posterior white margins. From the nominate subspecies M. p. persicus (Nikolsky), our new species can be distinguished by the following set of characters: 10–11 supralabials (versus 7–10), 27–30 interorbital scales (versus 16–22), 17–19 subdigital lamellae on 4th toe (versus 13–16), 144–156 GVA (versus 117–130), 3 crossbars with no white edges (versus none or 5 dorsal crossbars on back edged posteriorly with white) and 5 crossbars on tail (versus 8–9). From M. p. bakhtiari, our new species M. tanishpaensis can be differentiated as follows: 27–30 interorbital scales (versus 18–22), 17–19 subdigital lamellae on 4th toe (versus 12–16), 75–86 AGS (versus 57–71), 144–156 GVA (versus 113), 3 crossbars on back (versus 4–5), width of crossbars on back and tail less than half of interspaces (versus width of dorsal and caudal crossbars more than the width of interspaces), 5 crossbars on tail (versus 9–10). The eastern subspecies M. p. euphorbiacola Minton, Anderson & Anderson, can be distinguished from M. tanishpaensis sp. nov. by the following characters: first pair of postmentals mainly separated (versus the first pair of postmentals in broad contact), 27–30 interorbital scales (versus 15–20), 17–19 subdigital lamellae on 4th toe (versus 11–16), 144–156 GVA (versus 111–130), 76–84 scales across midbody (versus 66–77), 75–86 AGS (versus 62–76), 3 dorsal crossbars on back (versus 4–5), width of dorsal crossbars less than half of interspaces (versus more than half or equal to width of interspaces) and 5 crossbars on tail (versus 6–8).
Microgecko latifi Leviton & Anderson, known from its holotype, four unvouchered specimens (Anderson 1999) and two recently examined specimens (Torki 2020), can be recognized by having four scales bordering the nostril (versus 5 in M. tanishpaensis sp. nov.), no postmental scale pairs (versus 2 pairs), fewer supralabials (6–7 versus 10–11), infralabials (5 versus 8), interorbitals (16–19 versus 27–30), subdigital lamellae on 4th toe (13–14 versus 17–19), scales around midbody (72 versus 76–84) and GVA (120 versus 144–156).
The recently described M. chabaharensis Gholamifard, Rastegar-Pouyani, Rastegar-Pouyani, Khosravani, Yousefkhani & Oraei and M. varaviensis Gholamifard, Rastegar-Pouyani & Rastegar-Pouyani, can be distinguished from the M. tanishpaensis sp. nov. by exhibiting no dorsal transverse bar or having such bars indistinct. In M. varaviensis, the nostril is bordered by four scales and bears a single pair of postmentals, contrary to M. tanishpaensis sp. nov. which possesses five scales bordering nostril and two large pairs of postmentals. From M. laki, M. tanishpaensis sp. nov. can be distinguished by having 6 precloacal pores in males (versus none), nostrils separated from each other (versus in contact), two pairs of postmentals (versus one), dorsal dark crossbars without posterior white margins (versus white margins present) and higher numbers of supralabials, infralabials, interorbital scales, AGS and GVA. For additional comparison of M. tanishpaensis sp. nov. with its congeners, see Table 2 (Masroor et al. 2020).
|Etymology||The species is named after the region where the holotype was collected: Tanishpa village in the valley of the same name, Torghar Mts., Killa Saifulla District, Balochistan Province, Pakistan, by adding the Latin “-ensis” meaning ‘from’ or ‘belonging to’.|
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