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Pachydactylus waterbergensis BAUER & LAMB, 2003

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymPachydactylus waterbergensis BAUER & LAMB 2003
Pachydactylus weberi acuminatus — MERTENS 1955: 49 (part.)
Pachydactylus weberi werneri — GRIFFIN 2003: 33 (part.)
Pachydactylus waterbergensis — BAUER et al. 2006
Pachydactylus waterbergensis — MASHININI & MAHLANGU 2013 
DistributionN Namibia (Waterberg Plateau)

Type locality: Onjoka Settlement, Waterberg / Plateau Park [Otjiwarongo District, Otjozondjupa Region, Namibia, 20°25’S, 17°21’E]. Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
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.
 
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: NMNW (also NMWN) 6698; paratypes: TM 
CommentThis species has been previously referred to P. weberi acuminatus FitzSimons.
DNA sequence data reveal that this new species is more closely related to P. fasciatus Boulenger and P. tsodiloensis Haacke than to any of the recognised forms of P. weberi Roux. It is a moderately tuberculate member of the P. weberi-group sensu lato and is characterised by a dorsal pattern of 5-6 narrow pale crossbands edged with dark borders. Despite significant genetic divergence, the new species is morphologically very similar to the larger Tsodilo Hills endemic, P. tsodiloensis. Both species are highly substrate-specific, rupicolus forms and, as such, BAUER & TRIP hypothesise that they represent vicariant remnants of a widely distributed ancestor whose contiguous rocky habitat was fragmented by encroachment of the Kalahari sands.

DIAGNOSIS: Snout-vent length to 49.3 mm (largest female paratype); body sub-cylindrical, slightly depressed; rostral without groove; nostril surrounded by supranasal and two postnasals, rostral excluded from nostril, first supralabial excluded or narrowly entering nostril; dorsal and lateral scales tubercular, large, rounded, and conical on flanks and somewhat flatter, more elongate, and keeled on dorsum; approximately 20 somewhat irregular rows of enlarged tubercles across back to ventrolateral margins of trunk; ventral scales subimbricate, in approximately 29 rows across belly; enlarged conical tubercles present on dorsal surfaces of thigh, crus, and distal forelimb; enlarged scansorial lamellae under digit IV of pes 6; tail with whorls of enlarged tubercles dorsally; midventral subcaudal scales enlarged, arranged in row of alternating divided and undivided scales. Dorsal pattern with 5-6 more-or-less well defined cross bands (one on nape, one at forelimb insertion, 2- 3 on trunk, and one anterior to sacrum), each consisting of a thicker central pale band bordered anteriorly and posteriorly by a narrower dark band; original tail banded.

DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS: Pachydactylus waterbergensis sp. nov. may be distinguished from the basal members of the genus (P. bibronii (A. Smith, 1846), P. fitzsimonsi Loveridge, 1947, P. haackei Branch, Bauer & Good, 1996, P. kladaroderma Branch, Bauer & Good, 1996, P. namaquensis (Sclater, 1898), P. tetensis Loveridge, 1953, P. tuberculosus (Boulenger, 1895) and P. turneri (Gray, 1864); Lamb & Bauer 2002) on the basis of its much smaller body size (<45 mm vs. >85 mm SVL), and from P. austeni Hewitt, 1923, P. bicolor Hewitt, 1926, P. caraculicus FitzSimons, 1959, P. geitje (Sparrman, 1778), P. kochii FitzSimons, 1959, P. mariquensis A. Smith, 1849, P. punctatus Peters, 1854, and P. scherzi Mertens, 1954, by the presence of enlarged dorsal tubercles. The exclusion of the rostral from the nostril separates the new species from P. gaiasensis Steyn & Mitchell, 1967, P. oreophilus McLachlan & Spence, 1967, P. parascutatus Bauer, Lamb & Branch, 2002, P. sansteyni Steyn & Mitchell, 1967, P. scutatus Hewitt, 1927, and P. serval Werner, 1910, whereas broad anterior supranasal contact distinguishes it from the members of the P. rugosus-group (P. barnardi FitzSimons, 1941, P. formosus A. Smith, 1849, P. rugosus A. Smith, 1849; Lamb & Bauer 2000) and P. labialis FitzSimons, 1938. It differs from P. angolensis Loveridge, 1944, P. maculatus Gray, 1845, and P. oculatus Hewitt, 1927, in possessing enlarged median subcaudal scales, and from most members of the P. capensis-group (P. affinis Boulenger, 1896, P. oshaughnessyi Boulenger, 1885, P. tigrinus Van Dam, 1921, and P. vansoni FitzSimons, 1933; Bauer & Lamb 2002) in having the most proximal scansors of the toes entire and weakly curved or straight (vs. partly or wholly divided and strongly inflected). Pachydactylus waterbergensis sp. nov. differs from P. capensis (A. Smith, 1845) in a lower number of subdigital scansors on digit IV of the pes (six or fewer vs. seven or more) and in having much less broadly dilated digits. In addition, the new taxon may easily be distinguished from all of these taxa on the basis of its colour pattern and details of dorsal tuberculation. Pachydactylus waterbergensis sp. nov. is most similar to the members of the P. weberi-group and to its closest relatives, P. tsodiloensis and P. fasciatus. It may be distinguished from all of these taxa by its distinctive colour pattern consisting of 5-6 relatively narrow pale bands with even narrower darker borders. In comparison: P. w. weberi is characterised by a nape band and two body bands that are normally prominent in juveniles (Visser 1984), but are often obscured in adults (Girard 2002); P. w. acuminatus may possess a nape band, but the rest of the body is unicoloured or marked with dark flecks or spots (Girard 2002); P. w. werneri is mottled or has a pattern of broken bands that are never distinctive in adults (Girard 2002) and are always much thicker than in P. waterbergensis sp. nov.; P. robertsi has a thick pale nape band and few body markings (Bauer et al. 2002); P. fasciatus has three very wide cross bands (one on nape and two on the body; Barts 2002; Bauer et al. 1993; Branch 1998); P. tsodiloensis is most similar in colour pattern to the new species (Barts & Haacke 1997; Barts et al. 2001; Haacke 1966), but in this form, both the body bands and tail bands are generally thicker and often more irregular. In addition, the new species is markedly less tuberculate than P. fasciatus, has more strongly tuberculate flanks and thighs than the P. weberi subspecies, and has more conical and less imbricating tubercles than P. robertsi. Pachydactylus waterbergensis sp. nov. is similar in most aspects of scalation to P. tsodiloensis, but the latter is larger (to 60 mm SVL) and has slightly greater numbers of subdigital lamellae (Haacke 1966).

Distribution: see map in BRANCH et al. 2011.

HABITAT: sandstone cliffs, boulders, or exposures. 
EtymologyNamed after the locality where the type specimens have been found. 
References
  • Bauer, A.M. & Lamb, T. 2003. A new species of the Pachydactylus weberi-group (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Waterberg Plateau, Namibia. Cimbebasia 19: 1-12
  • Bauer, Aaron M. Lamb, Trip. Branch, William R. 2006. A revision of the Pachydactylus serval and P. weberi groups (Reptilia: Gekkota: Gekkonidae) of Southern Africa, with the description of eight new species. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 57 (12-24):595-709.
  • Branch, William R.; Aaron M. Bauer, Todd R. Jackman, and Matthew Heinicke 2011. A New Species of the Pachydactylus weberi Complex (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Namibrand Reserve, Southern Namibia. Breviora (524): 1-15. - get paper here
  • GRIFFIN, M. 2003. Annotated Checklist and Provisional National Conservation Status of Namibian Reptiles. Namibia Scientific Society, Windhoek. [2] + 169 pp.
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Mashinini, P. L. and Mahlangu, L. M. 2013. An annotated catalogue of the types of gekkonid lizards (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) in the Herpetology collection of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, South Africa. Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History 3: 165-181
  • Mertens,R. 1955. Die Herpetofauna Südwestafrikas. Abh. senckenb. naturf. Ges., Frankfurt, 529: 1-110
 
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