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Phyllodactylus benedettii RAMÍREZ-REYES & FLORES-VILLELA, 2018

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Higher TaxaPhyllodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymPhyllodactylus benedettii RAMÍREZ-REYES & FLORES-VILLELA 2018
Phyllodactylus benedettii — FRENCH et al. 2022 
DistributionMexico (Jalisco)

Type locality: Chamela Biological Station, La Huerta, state of Jalisco (19.50 N, -105.44 W WGS84), elevation 100 m  
Reproductionoviparous. Males of P. benedettii have an extended period of reproduction (August–March) with two peaks, one in rainy season (August–October) and another one in dry season (November–March). Reproductive behavior (courtship and mating) begins in August which coincides with the beginning of rainy season. The females produce clutches of two eggs, with up to three clutches during the breeding season, with a peak of egg production from December to March coinciding with the dry season (Ramírez-Sandoval et al. 2006). 
TypesHolotype: MZFC 28774, adult male collected on September 15, 2014 by Tonatiuh Ramírez Reyes and Alfredo Villarruel. Paratypes (14): An adult female (MZFC 28773) collected at Chamela Biology Station, La Huerta municipality (19.50 N, -105.44W) on September 15, 2014 by Tonatiuh Ramírez Reyes and Alfredo Villarruel; (MZFC 21817- male, MZFC 21818-male, MZFC 21877, MZFC 21878-male, MZFC 21879, MZFC 21880-female, MZFC 21885- male) collected at the Chamela Biology Station, La Huerta municipality (19.50 N, -105.44 W) by Oscar Flores Villela in 2007; an adult female (IBH 2133-2) and five adult males (IBH 2133-3, 2133-4, 2133-5, 2133-7, 2133-9) collected at 2 km. SE, of the Station of Biology, Chamela (19.51 N, -104.94 W) on October 27, 1971 by Cornelio Sánchez; an adult female (IBH 2138-4) collected at 5 km. S., de Chamela, Biology Station, UNAM, municipality La Huerta (19.49 N, -104.95 W) on May 25, 1974 by Gustavo Casas Andreu. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Phyllodactylus benedettii sp. nov. is a species with the largest average size within the P. lanei complex, with a maximum SVL of 75.2 mm. Dixon (1964) established three fundamental characteristics to include species and subspecies within the P. lanei complex and differentiate them from P. tuberculosus: species of the P. lanei complex have a low number of interorbital scales (12–19), white venter and low number of scales across the snout between the third labials (does not specify range of values). Phyllodactylus benedettii shows white-yellow venter, 14.4 interorbital scales on average, and 22.3 scales across the snout between the third labials.
Within the P. lanei complex (including insular and continental species), the only species that exceed 70 mm of SVL are P. lupitae and P. lanei, two species that are very isolated geographically. It is clearly different from the nearest species P. rupinus, which has a maximum SVL of 69.4 mm, considered as a medium size species. According to the statistical analyzes previously carried out, the combination of diagnostic morphological characters are the following (in addition to the SVL): It differs clearly from all species of Phyllodactylus as it presents 62.6 (60–69) longitudinal scales, 27 (24–30) tubercles from head to tail, 14 (11–13) interorbital scales, 29 (25–32) scales across venter, 22 (22–23) third labial–snout scales, 13 (13–14) rows of tubercles across dorsum. Although P. benedettii is very similar to P. lupitae in some meristic characters, they present differences in the morphometric space (Fig. 7). Some measures allow us to differentiate these species are the head-length and axilla- groin length: P. benedettii (17.9 mm and 28.4 mm) and P. lupitae (16.86 mm and 27.93 mm). According to Castiglia et al. (2009; 2010), the karyotypes of P. l. lanei (Tierra Colorada, Guerrero) and P. l. rupinus from Chamela, Jalisco (here named P. benedetti) are different. According to their studies P. lanei has 2n = 33–34 and FN = 40–41, while P. benedettii has 2n = 38 and FN = 38.
Phyllodactylus benedettii has fewer than 30 tubercles from head to tail (24–30, 27.4 avg.) similar to P. lupitae (27–31, 28.8 avg.), P. paucituberculatus (28.7), P. kropotkini (25–31, 28.4 avg.) and P. rupinus (26–30, 28 avg.); other species have more than 30 tubercles from head to tail on average: P. lanei (32–34, 33.2 avg.), P. isabelae (30– 35, 32.2 avg.), P. t. magnus (35–40, 37 avg.), P. muralis (30–40, 33 avg.) and P. tuberculosus (33–41, 36.4 avg.). Phyllodactylus benedettii showed 62 longitudinal ventral scales (LVS) on average (60–69), other values were P. isabelae (52–58, 56.2 avg.), P. lupitae (60–64, 61.8 avg.), P. lanei (60–74, 66 avg.), P. rupinus (56–67, 63 avg.), P. kropotkini (63–73, 67 avg.), P. t. magnus (52–58, 54 avg.), P. muralis (57–61, 59 avg.) and P. tuberculosus (51–64, 57 avg.). Phyllodactylus benedettii presents 14.4 interorbital scales similar to P. kropotkini (14–16, 14.6 avg.) and differs from P. isabelae (14–20, 15.1 avg.), P. lupitae (14–20, 16.8 avg.), P. lanei (15–17, 15.5 avg.), P. rupinus (14–17, 15.5 avg.), P. t. magnus (21–23, 23.3 avg.), P. muralis (21–27, 23.2 avg.), and P. tuberculosus (16–22, 19.2 avg.). Phyllodactylus benedettii presents 29 scales across venter and differs from P. isabelae (26–29, 27.8 avg.), P. lupitae (26–29, 24.6 avg.), P. lanei (29–32, 30 avg.), P. rupinus (24–28, 26.5 avg.), P. kropotkini (29–33, 30.6 avg.), P. t. magnus (26–29, 27.3 avg.), P. muralis (33) and P. tuberculosus (27–33, 30.2 avg.). Phyllodactylus benedettii presents 22 third labial–snout scales on average (22–23) and differs from P. isabelae (19–24, 21.4 avg.), P. lupitae (23–28, 25.5 avg.), P. lanei (20–23, 21.2 avg.), P. rupinus (18–22, 20.6 avg.), P. kropotkini (19–21, 20.2 avg.), P. t. magnus (24–26, 24.6 avg.), P. muralis (24–28, 25.2 avg.) and P. tuberculosus (21–26, 24.2 avg.). Phyllodactylus benedettii presents 13.8 rows of tubercles across dorsum on average (13–14) and differs from P. isabelae (15–18, 16.7 avg.), P. lupitae (14–15, 14.8 avg.), P. lanei (14–16, 15.6 avg.), P. rupinus (13–15, 14 avg.), P. kropotkini (12– 14, 13.4 avg.), P. t. magnus (13–15, 14.3 avg.), P. muralis (12–13, 12.2 avg.) and P. tuberculosus (12–17, 14 avg.). Finally, P. benedettii presents the largest values in the following measures: 5.50 mm in length of the 4th toepad and 35.8 mm in axilla-groin length (LAG); compared to P. isabelae (4.1 mm, 22.2 mm), P. lupitae (4.9 mm, 31 mm), P. lanei (4.6 mm, 21.1 mm), P. rupinus (5 mm, 25.6 mm) and P. kropotkini (5 mm, 23 mm). 
CommentHabitat: The microhabitats for this species are diverse: soil, trees, shrubs and in habitats modified by man as houses or bridges or some other constructions (meteorological stations). They are particularly abundant in rocks and crevices and in people's houses or buildings.

Sympatry: (species in the area are) Hemidactylus frenatus, Boa constrictor, Lampropeltis triangulum, Leptodeira maculata, Pseudoficimia frontalis, Senticolis triaspis, Tropidodipsas philippii (Sibon philippi), Tantilla bocourti, Thamnophis valida, Trimorphodon biscutatus, Micrurus distans, Agkistrodon bilineatus, and Crotalus basiliscus (García & Ceballos 1994). 
EtymologyThe species is dedicated to the memory of the great Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti in recognition of his prolific literary production and critical thinking of great importance in the political and social life of Latin America. 
  • French, C. M., Berezin, C. T., Overcast, I., Méndez De La Cruz, F. R., Basu, S., Martínez Bernal, R. L., ... & Blair, C. 2022. Forest cover and geographical distance influence fine-scale genetic structure of leaf-toed geckos in the tropical dry forests of western Mexico. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society - get paper here
  • RAMÍREZ-REYES, TONATIUH; OSCAR FLORES-VILLELA 2018. Taxonomic changes and description of two new species for the Phyllodactylus lanei complex (Gekkota: Phyllodactylidae) in Mexico. Zootaxa 4407 (2): 151–190 - get paper here
  • Ramírez-Reyes, T., Blair, C., Flores-Villela, O., Piñero, D., Lathrop, A., Murphy, R. 2020. Phylogenomics and molecular species delimitation reveals great cryptic diversity of leaf-toed geckos (Phyllodactylidae: Phyllodactylus), ancient origins, and diversification in Mexico. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (2020), doi: - get paper here
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