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Paroedura spelaea GLAW, KÖHLER & VENCES, 2018

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common Names 
SynonymParoedura spelaea GLAW, KÖHLER & VENCES 2018 
DistributionW Madagascar (Mahajanga)

Type locality: Grotte Crystal near Andranopasasy (18°42'31'' S, 44°43'08'' E, 146 m a.s.l.), Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Mahajanga Province, western Madagascar.  
TypesHolotype: ZSM 27/2006 (field number FGZC 723), adult female, collected on 19 March 2006 by P. Bora, H. Enting, F. Glaw and J. Köhler.
Paratypes. ZSM 42/2006 (FGZC 752), unsexed juvenile, and UADBA 28529 (FGZC 743), male, from Grotte d’Anjahimbazimba (18°41'34'' S, 44°42'36'' E, 160 m a.s.l.), Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Mahajanga Province, western Madagascar, collected on 20 March 2006 by P. Bora, H. Enting, F. Glaw and J. Köhler. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Paroedura spelaea is a medium-sized, extremely slender species with long limbs. It differs from P. androyensis, P. bastardi, P. ibityensis, P. lohatsara, P. maingoka, P. picta, and P. vahiny by having the nostril in contact with the rostral scale. It further differs from all other Paroedura species except P. homalorhina and P. gracilis by the presence of a vertebral ridge from the neck to the pelvic region, and as far as known, from all species except P. homalorhina and possibly P. gracilis by longer forelimbs and hindlimbs (finger tip reaching nostril when forelimb is adpressed along body, versus typically reaching the eye in most other species. It also differs from P. masobe by much smaller size (SVL up to 60 mm versus 107 mm), much smaller eyes and absence of a dorsal row of paired spines on the tail; and from P. tanjaka by smaller size (SVL up to 60 mm versus 102 mm).
In its slender general appearance, Paroedura spelaea is most similar to its close relative P. homalorhina, and shares the presence of a vertebral ridge and long limbs only with this species and with P. gracilis. It can be distinguished from both these species by the absence of recognizable longitudinal rows of enlarged dorsal tubercles (Fig. 9A). In addition, P. spelaea differs from all other species in the genus by strong genetic differences (Fig. 1, Table 1), except for P. vahiny for which DNA sequences are not yet available. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an adjective derived from the Latin noun ‘spelaeum’, meaning ‘cave’. It refers to the assumed cave-dwelling habits of the species. 
  • Cocca, W., G. M. Rosa, F. Andreone, G. Aprea, P. E. Bergò, F. Mattioli, V. Mercurio, J. E. Randrianirina, D. Rosado, M. Vences & A. Crottini 2018. The herpetofauna (Amphibia, Crocodylia, Squamata, Testudines) of the Isalo Massif, Southwest Madagascar: combining morphological, molecular and museum data. Salamandra 54 (3): 178-200 plus Supplementary Material - get paper here
  • GLAW, FRANK; JÖRN KÖHLER & MIGUEL VENCES 2018. Three new species of nocturnal geckos of the Paroedura oviceps clade from xeric environments of Madagascar (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 4433 (2): 305–324 - get paper here
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