Teratoscincus mesriensis NAZAROV, RADJABIZADEH, POYARKOV, ANANJEVA, MELNIKOV & RASTEGAR-POUYANI, 2017
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Teratoscincus mesriensis?
|Higher Taxa||Sphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Synonym||Teratoscincus mesriensis NAZAROV, RADJABIZADEH, POYARKOV, ANANJEVA, MELNIKOV & RASTEGAR-POUYANI 2017|
|Distribution||Iran (Isfahan Province)|
Type locality: Iran, Isfahan Province, environs of Mesr; 34°04’ N 54°47’ E; elevation 845 m a.s.l.
|Reproduction||oviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022)|
|Types||Holotype: ZMMU R-15156. Adult female, collected on June 22, 2013 by Roman A. Nazarov and Mehdi Radjabizadeh. Paratypes. ZMMU R-15157, R-15158, R-15159; R-15385; R-15386; R-15387; ZISP-29577, 29578, 29579, 29580 all with the same collection data as the holotype.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: Medium sized gecko with SVLmax up to 93.6 mm. A member of the genus Teratoscincus based on the following combination of morphological attributes: (1) fingers and toes not flattened or laterally compressed with numerous spiny scales on lower surface; laterally fringed with enlarged elongated scales; (2) body covered with enlarged rounded imbricate “scincoid” scales, head with small tubercular scales, getting larger at snout and jaws; (3) dorsal surface of tail with nail-shaped scales, ventrally with small uniform scales; (4) precloacal or femoral pores absent (following Szczerbak and Golubev, 1986). The species can be distinguished from all other congeners by the following set of morphological characters: dorsal surface of body covered by rows of enlarged imbricate juxtaposed scales, scale rows around the body 34–42 and along the body 35–41(vs. SAB 29–37 for T. keyserlingii and 26 – 36 for T. scincus). These enlarged scales not reaching occipital region (vs. enlarged scales covering occipital region both in T. keyserlingii and T. scincus). Head large and well-defined from body, covered by small granular scales. Nostril in contact with rostral, enlarged supranasal, two large nasals and a small additional scale; first supralabial separated from nostril. Fingers and toes with fringed edges formed by large elongated triangle scales. Claws strongly compressed laterally. Small imbricate scales cover the lower surface of digits; the distal part of fingers and toes only with few transversely widened scales. Ventral scales of approximately the same size as dorsal scales. No precloacal and femoral pores. Hemipenial swellings moderate in size; a single precloacal spur on the each side at the base of tail. Tail rounded in cross section, tail shorter than SVL (SVLGTailL ratio 1.4), dorsal surface of tail covered by 11 – 18 enlarged nail-like scales. Adults in live with a light gray dorsal ground coloration with bright red-orange pattern. Dorsal pattern formed by indistinct longitudinal red-orange stripes, which are more distinct on the lateral sides of body, becoming interrupted and forming irregular pattern on the middle of dorsum. Dark brown pattern may be present on forelimbs and in the neck region. Dorsal surface of head light gray or yellowish occasionally with irregular reddish spots; wide interspaces between these spots make head dorsal coloration lighter than that of body. No distinct markings on limbs and tail. Young specimens with four transverse wide dark bars on dorsum; interspaces between them wider than the transverse bars (vs. dark transverse bars equal in width or wider than the interspaces between them in T. keyserlingii). Four dark transverse bars on tail in young specimens. Ventral surfaces of body and limbs white. In preservative specimens grayish-white with dark brown patterns.|
Comparisons. Morphologically a new species is most closely allied to Teratoscincus keyserlingii, however it can be distinguished from all known congeners by the large rounded imbricate dorsal scales not reaching to the occiput as in other Teratoscincus, but usually extending anteriorly as far as the shoulder area (Fig. 6a). In other congeners having enlarged imbricate dorsal scales, i.e., in T. keyserlingii sensu stricto (Fig. 6b ), T. roborowskii, T. rustamowi, and T. scincus, these scales always cover the occipital region, so this diagnostic character seems to be quite important.
We have examined the available type specimen of T. keyserlingii; paralectotype ZMB 6872 has the enlarged dorsal scales clearly reaching the occipital region (Fig. 7). Similarly, the type specimen (holotype) of T. zarudnyi ZISP 8804 has the same position of the enlarged dorsal scales, which cover the occipital region (Fig. 8).
The new species can be further distinguished from T. keyserlingii by smaller body size (SVLmax up to 93.6 mm in the new species vs. up to 116.5mm in T. keyserlingii), comparatively smaller size of the enlarged rounded scales on dorsum (SAB 35 – 42 in the new species vs. 29 – 37 in T. keyserlingii; SLB 35 – 41 in the new species vs. 32 – 38 in T. keyserlingii). For other morphological differences between the new species and its congeners, see Table 4.
The new species can be differentiated from other congeners by the following morphological characters:
••• From Teratoscincus bedriagai by bigger body size
(SVLmax up to 93.6 mm in the new species vs. up to 73.4 mm in T. bedriagai), by smaller number of scales around midbody (SAB 34 – 42 in the new species vs. SAB 44 – 53 in T. bedriagai) and by presence of one or two pairs of enlarged postmentals in the new species vs. no enlarged postmentals in T. bedriagai. The two species also have markedly different dorsal patterns (Fig. 9d, g ).
••• From Teratoscincus przewalskii by different dorsal pattern and coloration: longitudinal dorsal patterns on a reddish or orange background in the new species vs. wide dark brown cross-bands on grayish to ochre background in T. przewalskii (Fig. 9d, e). Scalation characters are similar with the new species.
••• FromTeratoscincusroborowskiithenewspeciescan be distinguished by having smaller number of the enlarged round dorsal scales (SAB 34 – 42 in the new species vs. SAB 24 – 30 in T. roborowskii, the latter has the largest size of dorsal scales among all species of the genus (Fig. 10), they also reach the occipital region in T. roborowskii (Fig. 9f ).
••• From Teratoscincus scincus the new species differs by position of enlarged dorsal scales which extend anteriorly as far as the level of forelimb insertion not covering the occipital part of head; SAB 34 – 42 in the new species vs. 30 – 40 in T. scincus; coloration patterns are also different between the two species (Fig. 9d, h ).
••• Dorsal surface of Teratoscincus microlepis is covered by numerous homogenous granular scales vs. enlarged rounded imbricate scales in the new spices. The two species also have markedly different dorsal patterns and coloration (Fig. 9d, h ).
|Etymology||The new species is named after the name of a village where it was discovered — Mesr (Isfahan Province, Iran). The species epithet is a Latinized toponymic adjective.|
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