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Pristurus masirahensis TAMAR, MITSI, SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, TEJERO-CICUÉNDEZ, AL-SARIRI & CARRANZA, 2019

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymPristurus masirahensis TAMAR, MITSI, SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, TEJERO-CICUÉNDEZ, AL-SARIRI & CARRANZA 2019
Pristurus minimus — ARNOLD 1977: 93 (part.)
Pristurus minimus — ARNOLD 1980: 287 (part.)
Pristurus minimus — SINDACO & JEREMCENKO 2008: 121 (part.)
Pristurus minimus — BADIANE et al. 2014: 40 (part.)
Pristurus minimus — GARDNER 2013: 174 (part.)
Pristurus minimus — CARRANZA et al. 2018: 60 (S2 Appendix online) (part.) 
DistributionOman (endemic to Masirah Island)

Type locality: 1 km north-east of Urf, Masirah Island, Oman (20. 25509 N, 58. 74441E WGS84; locality 31 in Fig. 1 in Tamar et al. 2019)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. BMNH (NHMUK) 2019.2894 (sample code CN8253), adult male, collected by Salvador Carranza on 13 August 2017.
Paratypes. IBECN 4038, IBECN 7238, two adult females, and IBECN 7961, IBECN 8038, two adult males, same data as the holotype; IBECN 7257 and IBECN 8650, two adult males, from the southern edge of Masirah Island, Oman, collected by Salvador Carranza on 13 August 2017; IBECN 8063 and IBECN 8961, two adult males, from 3.5km west of Sur Masirah, Masirah Island, Oman, collected by Salvador Carranza on 13 and 14 August 2017; IBECN 8029 and IBECN 8976, two adult females, from 1 km north-east of Dafiyat, Masirah Island, Oman, collected by Salvador Carranza on 11 August 2017. ONHM 4238 (sample code S1857), adult male, from Maghilah, Masirah Island, Oman, collected by Nicolas Arnold, Salim Alrabei, and Salvador Carranza on 27 October 2008. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A new species of Pristurus endemic to Masirah Island, belonging to the Spatalura clade sensu Arnold (2009), characterized by the combination of the following characters: (1) small size (up to 21.5 mm from snout to vent); (2) number of lower labial scales 3–4; (3) lateral down-growths of frontal bone not meeting on mid-line; (4) nasal process of premaxilla extending to about level of the anterior margins of orbits; (5) large area of contact between palatal sections of the maxillae behind the premaxilla; (6) low presacral vertebral count; (7) reduction of lateral arms of interclavicle; (8) nostril not bordered by rostral scale; (9) tails of males com- pressed, with sagittal ridges.

Differential diagnosis. Pristurus masirahensis sp. nov. differs from P. minimus mainly in its smaller size (SVL max. 21.5mm, compared with max. 28.4mm) and in having fewer lower labial scales (3–4 vs 4–5). It further differs by a genetic distance of 7% in the 12S mitochon- drial gene and in the presence of private alleles in the ACM4, c-mos, and MC1R nuclear genes analysed (Fig. 2.2). It is distinguished from the sympatric P. carteri by its smaller size, fewer lower labials, and different colour pattern. It is distinguished from the morphologically similar P. crucifer by its smaller size, upper profile of head less bulbous, nostril nearly always situated between three scales (instead of within one or between two as is usual in P. crucifer), fewer coarser scales across mid-orbits on upper surface of head, flanks often have extensive dark grey pigment reducing the pale ground colour to more or less vertical wavy lines, low crest on midline of tail made up of two longitudinal rows of scales instead of one row. It is distinguished from P. rupestris sensu lato which was recently found on Masirah Island (S. Carranza pers. comm.) by its smaller size, colour pattern, nostril not in contact with rostral scale, tail not laterally compressed and with no pronounced dorsal fringe of elongated scales on midline (mainly in males). 
CommentHabitat: flat sandy areas with few stones and scattered low vegetation, mainly in the coastal plains and in suitable habitats inland; underneath shrubs as Crotalaria aegyptiaca (family Fabaceae). 
EtymologyThe species epithet 'masirahensis' is an adjective that refers to the distribution range of the spe- cies, restricted to Masirah Island, Oman. 
References
  • Arnold, E. N. 1977. Little-known geckoes (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from Arabia with descriptions of two new species from the Sultanate of Oman. The Scientific Results of the Oman Flora and Fauna Survey, 1975. Journal of Oman Studies, Special Report, (1):81—110 [1975]
  • Arnold, E. N. 1980. The reptiles and amphibians of Dhofar, southern Arabia. Journal of Oman Studies, Special Report, 2: 273–332
  • BADIANE, ARNAUD; JOAN GARCIA-PORTA, JAN ČERVENKA, LUKÁŠ KRATOCHVÍL, ROBERTO SINDACO, MICHAEL D. ROBINSON, HERNAN MORALES, TOMÁŠ MAZUCH, THOMAS PRICE, FÈLIX AMAT, MOHAMMED Y. SHOBRAK, THOMAS WILMS, MARC SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, FARAHAM AHMADZADEH, THEODORE J. 2014. Phylogenetic relationships of Semaphore geckos (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae: Pristurus) with an assessment of the taxonomy of Pristurus rupestris. Zootaxa 3835 (1): 033–058 - get paper here
  • Carranza S, Xipell M, Tarroso P, Gardner A, Arnold EN, Robinson MD, et al. 2018. Diversity, distribution and conservation of the terrestrial reptiles of Oman (Sauropsida, Squamata). PLoS One 13 (2): e0190389 - get paper here
  • Gardner, A.S. 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Oman and the UAE. Edition Chimaira, 480 pp.
  • Sindaco, R. & Jeremcenko, V.K. 2008. The reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 579 pp. - get paper here
  • Tamar, Karin; Pelagia Mitsi, Marc SimÓ-Riudalbas, Héctor Tejero-Cicuéndez, Thuraya Al-Sariri & Salvador Carranza 2019. Systematics, biogeography, and evolution of Pristurus minimus (Squamata, Sphaerodactylidae) with the discovery of the smallest Arabian vertebrate. Systematics and Biodiversity, DOI: 10.1080/14772000.2019.1614694 - get paper here
 
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