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Monilesaurus montanus PAL, VIJAYAKUMAR, SHANKER, JAYARAJAN & DEEPAK, 2018

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymMonilesaurus montanus PAL, VIJAYAKUMAR, SHANKER, JAYARAJAN & DEEPAK 2018 
DistributionIndia (Karnataka)

Type locality: Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka (1307'54" N, 07516'39" E; 1534.9 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: BNHS 2411, adult male, collected by SPP, SPV and KPD on 28th September 2011. Paratypes: BNHS 2412, adult male and BNHS 2413, adult female collected from Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka by SPV and ADR on 21st August 2009; CESL 131, adult female collected from Siruvani reserve forest, Kerala by SPP and MPV on 06th July 2010; CESL 133, adult female collected from Walakkad, Silent Valley National Park, Kerala by SPP and MPV on 23rd November 2010; CESL 330 adult female and CESL 331 an adult male collected from Naduvattam, Tamil Nadu by SPP on 23rd June 2011 and CESL 529 adult male collected from Narimala, Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka by SPP and SRC on 09th March 2012. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and comparison. A medium sized Monilesaurus with a maximum SVL of 83.4 mm, arboreal species characterized by the backward and downward orientation of lateral body scales; presence of antehumeral fold, throat fold not prominent as the antehumeral fold; 46–52 midbody scale rows; nuchal crest composed of 3–6 small spines; two small separated supratympanic spines; a very small tubercle like postorbital spine barely distinguishable from the surrounding head scales; dorsal and lateral scales feebly keeled, stronger towards ventrals, ventral scales strongly keeled; scales on ventral thigh region feebly keeled; paired postmentals, first pair separated by a single scale; 21–24 subdigital lamellae under fourth finger, 25–30 subdigital lamellae under fourth toe; 9–10 supralabials and 8–9 infralabials; greenish brown above with darker dorsum, a white band below the eye extending till end of jaw.
Monilesaurus montanus gen. et sp. nov. can be distinguished from its sister species based on the combination of following characters: larger body size: adult SVL 61–83.4 mm, n=8 (vs. M. ellioti comb. nov. adult SVL 59.4– 73.8 mm, n=9; M. rouxii comb. nov. adult SVL 51.4–74.8 mm, n=9); lower number of midbody scale rows 46–52 (vs. 62–64 in Monilesaurus acanthocephalus gen. et sp. nov., 52–58 in M. ellioti comb. nov., 52–56 in M. rouxii comb. nov.), presence of a very small, indistinct tubercle like, isolated spine in the posterior corner of orbit (vs. absent in M. rouxii comb. nov., long, distinct isolated spine in M. ellioti comb. nov. and M. acanthocephalus gen. et sp. nov.), 3–6 small nuchal spines (vs. 7–8 small nuchal spines in M. rouxii comb. nov., 6 much longer nuchal spines in C. acanthocephalus gen. et sp. nov., 3–4 long nuchal spines in M. ellioti comb. nov.); small isolated spine on the back of head and above tympanum (vs. longer, prominent spines in M. ellioti comb. nov. and M. acanthocephalus gen. et sp. nov.) presence of white band below the eye (vs. none in M. rouxii comb. nov.; in the form of a spot in M. ellioti comb. nov. and M. acanthocephalus gen. et sp. nov.). 
CommentBehavior: diurnal

Habitat: semi-arboreal to arboreal in habit and so far, has been recorded from montane shola forests. Individuals were mostly found at night, sleeping on branches of stunted trees within sholas or actively moving on tree trunks. 
EtymologyThe species epithet is derived from the word ‘montane’ referring to the restricted distribution of this species to high elevation forests (> 1500 m a.s.l). 
References
  • PAL, SAUNAK; S.P. VIJAYAKUMAR, KARTIK SHANKER, ADITI JAYARAJAN & V. DEEPAK 2018. A systematic revision of Calotes Cuvier, 1817 (Squamata: Agamidae) from the Western Ghats adds two genera and reveals two new species. Zootaxa 4482 (3): 401–450 - get paper here
 
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