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Mniarogekko jalu BAUER, WHITAKER, SADLIER & JACKMAN, 2012

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymMniarogekko jalu BAUER, WHITAKER, SADLIER & JACKMAN 2012 
DistributionNew Caledonia (N Province Nord, Îles Belep)

Type locality: New Caledonia, Province Nord, Îles Belep, Île Art, 2 km E Waala, Wênè Côgat, 19°42'46.9" S, 163°39'37.7" E, 230 m Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MNHN 2012.0211 (formerly AMS R161289), adult male (Fig. 18). Collected 28 May 2002 by A.H. Whitaker and V.A. Whitaker.
Paratypes. AMS 161285, subadult female, same data as holotype; AMS R161286, adult male, R161287–288, adult females, data as for holotype, but collected 23 May 2002; AMS R161224, adult male, New Caledonia, Province Nord, 24 km N Koumac, Forêt d’Ougne, Vallée Poupoule, 20°20’04.0”S, 164°17’07.1”E, 5 m, collected 15 October 2001 by A.H. Whitaker and V.A. Whitaker; AMS R161237–38, adult males, New Caledonia, Province Nord, 11 km NW Koumac, Dôme de Tiébaghi, 20°27'27.9"S 164°11' 22.8"E, 360 m, collected 17 October 2001 by A.H. Whitaker and V.A. Whitaker; CAS 250858–59, adult females, New Caledonia, Province Nord, 15 km N Koumac, Rivière Néhoué, 20°25'09.7"S, 164°13'16.3"E, 8 m, collected 22 January 2003 by A.M. Bauer, R.A. Sadlier, T.R. Jackman, G. Watkins-Colwell, and S.A. Smith. 
CommentDiagnosis. Mniarogekko jalu n. sp. is a large (to 140 mm SVL) diplodactylid. It may be distinguished from its sister taxon M. chahoua by its much lower number of precloacal pores in males (< 95 [range 54–91] versus ~120) typically arranged in three (Fig. 19), rather than four rows. Color comparisons between the two species of Mniarogekko are difficult to make. There are relatively few wild caught M. chahoua in museum collections and captive animals have been bred for particular color patterns (de Vosjoli et al. 2003) so ‘wild type’ coloration, which is itself already quite variable (Bauer 1985; Seipp & Henkel 2000, 2011; Stark 2006; Langner 2009), is difficult to characterize. Ventral body coloration in the new species seems to be uniformly a pale yellowish green (Figs. 19–20), whereas M. chahoua is often white or cream, with a greenish tinge localized to some parts of the venter. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the word jâlu, which means spirit (a being from the spirit world) in the Nyêlâyu language which is used in the northern Province Nord from Balade, through Ouégoa, Baie de Harcourt to Arama, and on Balabio and the Îles Belep. The name is thus parallel in construction to that of its sister taxon M. chahoua, which according to Bavay (1869) meant “devil” in an unspecified Kanak language. Throughout New Caledonia giant geckos have an association with elements of the spirit world that are both feared and respected (Bauer & Sadlier 2000). The name is a noun in apposition. 
References
  • BAUER, AARON M.; TODD R. JACKMAN, ROSS A. SADLIER & ANTHONY H. WHITAKER 2012. Revision of the giant geckos of New Caledonia (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae: Rhacodactylus). Zootaxa 3404: 1–52 - get paper here
  • SCHÖNECKER, Patrick & Christian LANGNER 2012. Neue Namen und alte Bekannte – Gattungsrevision der Neukaledonischen Riesengeckos (Rhacodactylus) und weiterer Geckogattungen Neukaledoniens. Terraria-Elaphe 2012 (6): 58-65 - get paper here
 
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