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Oedura elegans HOSKIN, 2019

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common NamesE: Elegant velvet gecko 
SynonymOedura elegans HOSKIN 2019: 256 
DistributionAustralia (S Queensland, N New South Wales)

Type locality: 15 km south of Yuleba (-26.751° S, 149.382° E, 340 m a.s.l.)  
TypesHolotype: QM J59673; Paratypes: QM 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Oedura elegans sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of traits: moderately large adult size (SVl mean 77.4, max 89.4 mm); relatively long and rounded original and regrown tail (original: Tl/SVl = 0.66–0.83, TW/Tl = 0.13–0.18, TD/TW = 0.63–0.74; regrown: Tl/SVl = 0.60–0.76, TW/ Tl = 0.18–0.22, TD/TW = 0.71–0.81); relatively narrow head (HW/SVl = 0.17–0.18); rostral scale only partially divided by medial vertical groove; single cloacal spur on each side; moderate number of interorbital scales (17–21); < 18 pre-cloacal pores in males (mean 15, range 13–17), split medially by 1–3 scales without pores; iris copper coloured; unbroken pale bar on the nape; dorsal colouration consisting of a vertebral series of paired, connected white spots (dumbbells), each surrounded by thin dark edging and not connected to each other; dorsal background and lateral surfaces evenly flecked; no broad dark band connecting back of eye to nape marking; no spots on limbs; original tail with paired white spots along dorsal midline.

Comparison with other species. See the Comparison for O. monilis, above, for comparison with congeners outside the tryoni group.
Within the tryoni group, O. elegans sp. nov. is readily distinguished from O. castelnaui and O. argentea by having a nape bar enclosed in black (versus full nuchal band in those species) and dorsal pattern of blotches and bars (versus full body bands in those species) (Fig. 2 in Hoskin 2019). Distinguished from O. coggeri by lack of white spots on limbs (versus obvious white spots), larger body size (max 89.4 mm versus 80.7 mm), narrower head (HW/SVl 0.17–18 versus 0.19–0.22), longer original and regrown tail (Table 1), and original tail pattern of paired blotches on the dorsal midline (versus irregular white bands). Distinguished from O. tryoni by, typically, unbroken bar on nape (versus many spots or few blotches), dorsal pattern restricted to paired, large blotches (dumbbells) on midline (ver- sus, typically, evenly spotted or blotched), lack of white spots on limbs (versus usually spots at least on hindlimbs), smaller body size (max 89.4 mm versus 103.1 mm), narrower head (HW/SVl 0.17–0.18 versus 0.17–0.22), lower interorbital count (typically < 20 versus typically > 20), and, typically, lower number of pre-cloacal pores in males (typically 17 or less versus typically 17 or more) (Tables 1, 2).
Differs from O. monilis in having a thin black line running from below the back of the eye to below the nape marking (versus a dark band running from the back of the eye to the nape marking), dorsal markings surrounded by thin black edging but nape bar and none of the dumbbells connected to each other (versus black markings connect- ing at least the nape bar and anterior-most dorsal markings), prominent markings restricted to dorsal midline, with no spots on lateral surfaces (versus at least some indication of obscure white spots on mid-lateral line), original tail pattern of paired blotches on dorsal midline (versus irregular bands), head relatively narrow (versus head broad), original and regrown tail relatively longer and narrower (Tables 1, 2).
Differs from O. picta sp. nov. in having prominent dorsal markings restricted to the midline (versus more evenly spread across dorsum), original tail pattern of paired blotches on dorsal midline (versus irregular bands), iris typically dark copper coloured (versus gold), larger size (max 89.4 mm versus max 79.7 mm), head shorter (Hl/ SVl 0.21–0.24 versus 0.23–0.26) and narrower (HW/SVl 0.17–0.18 versus 0.18–0.21), and regrown tail narrower (TW/Tl 0.18–0.22 versus 0.21–0.28) (Tables 1, 2).
Differs from O. lineata sp. nov. in having an unbroken nape bar (versus V- or Y-shaped broken bar), dorsal pattern of paired dumbbells along midline (versus linearly-arranged lines, spots and black markings on either side of thin, pale midline), lateral surfaces finely flecked (versus heavily marked with white spots and black markings), a thin black line running from below the back of the eye to below the nape marking (versus a dark band running from the back of the eye and usually to the nape marking), hindlimbs mottled (versus usually small white spots on at least base of hindlimbs), larger size (max 89.4 mm versus max 79.0 mm), relatively more flattened original tail (TD/TW 0.63–0.74 versus 0.79–0.81), lower interorbital count (17–21 versus 21–23), lower number of supralabi- als (9–11 versus 11–13), and series of pre-cloacal pores in males generally separated by fewer scales medially (1–3 versus 2–6) (Tables 1, 2). 
CommentEcology and habitat: Oedura elegans sp. nov. occurs in dry woodlands, particularly complex woodlands with cypress pines and shrubby elements. Arboreal; individuals are typically found at night foraging on stems and branches of trees or shrubs, or on fallen timber. 
EtymologyFrom the latin elegans, meaning elegant; in reference to the fine pattern and form of this species. 
  • HOSKIN, CONRAD J. 2019. Description of three new velvet geckos (Diplodactylidae: Oedura) from inland eastern Australia, and redescription of Oedura monilis De Vis. Zootaxa 4683 (2): 242–270 - get paper here
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