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Sitana ponticeriana CUVIER, 1829

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Pondichéry Fan Throated Lizard
F: Sitane de Pondichéry
E: Bahir’s Fan- throated Lizard [bahiri]
Sinhala (local): Bahirgë Theli Katussa [bahiri]
French: Sitane de Bahir [bahiri] 
SynonymSitana ponticeriana CUVIER 1829: 43 (fide SMITH 1935)
Semiophorus pondiceriana — WAGLER 1830
Semiophorus Pondicerianus — WIEGMANN 1834: 14
Sitana ponticeriana — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837: 437
Litana Ponticereana [sic] — KELAART 1854: 138
Sitana minor GÜNTHER 1864 (fide BOULENGER 1885)
Sitana deccanensis JERDON 1870: 76
Sitana minor — ANDERSON 1871: 166
Sitana ponticeriana — BOULENGER 1885: 270
Sitana ponticeriana — COPE 1900
Sitana pondicerianus — SCHMIDT 1926
Sitana ponticeriana — SMITH 1935: 144
Sitana ponticeriana ponticeriana — DERANIYAGALA 1953
Sitana ponticeriana deccanensis — DERANIYAGALA 1953
Sitana ponticeriana — TAYLOR 1957
Sitana ponticeriana — WERMUTH 1967: 96
Sitana ponticeriana mucronata DERANIYAGALA 1958 (nom. dubium)
Sitana ponticeriana — MANAMENDRA-ARACHCHI & LIYANAGE 1994
Sitana ponticeriana — ERDELEN 1998
Sitana ponticeriana — MANTHEY & SCHUSTER 1999: 104
Sitana ponticertiana — BAHIR & SURASINGHE 2005 (in error)
Sitana ponticeriana — DAS & DE SILVA 2005
Sitana ponticeriana — DE SILVA 2006
Sitana ponticeriana — JANZEN et al. 2007
Sitana ponticeriana — SOMAWEERA & SOMAWEERA 2009
Sitana ponticeriana — MANTHEY 2010
Sitana ponticeriana — AMARASINGHE et al. 2015
Sitana bahiri AMARASINGHE et al. in AMARASINGHE et al. 2015
Sitana bahiri — DAS & DAS 2017 
DistributionNepal, India (Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Kerala etc.)

Type locality: “Indes orientales”, restricted to “Ponidcherry” by SMITH 1935.

minor: Type locality: “Madras”

bahiri: SE Sri Lanka (drier coastal areas); Type locality: Block 1, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka (6°22′N, 81°31′E), elevation 5 m  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 6901 (designated by Amarasinghe et al. 2014), paratype: MNHN-RA 6902.
Holotype. NMSL (= WHT) 1434A, Male, SVL 45.0 mm, collected by D. Gabadage, 27 May 1995. Paratypes. Males, NMSL (= WHT) 7377, NMSL (= WHT) 0206C–D, respective SVL 40.5 mm, 50.0 mm, and 48.8 mm, collected at Bundala National Park, Sri Lanka (6o11′N, 81o16′E), alt. 5 m, by A. Silva & K. Maduwage, 19 August 2006; Male, NMSL (= WHT) 0619, SVL 44.7 mm, collected at Weligatta-Bundala, Sri Lanka, by D. Gabadage, 27 May 1995; Male, ZMH R06344, SVL 43.3 mm, collected in S.E. Sri Lanka, gift from Nat. Mus. Basel, collector Sarasin, 13 December 1904; Females, NMSL (= WHT)195A–B, respective SVL 46.8 mm and 46.9 mm, collected at Mahapelessa, Kirinda, Sri Lanka (6°23′N, 81°31′E), alt. 5 m, by D. Gabadage, 9 January 1993; Females, NMSL (= WHT) 0206A–B, respective SVL 44.1 mm and 43.6 mm, collected at Bundala National Park, Sri Lanka, by D. Gabadage, 27 May 1995; Subadult male, NMSL (= WHT) 1434B, SVL 32.9 mm, collected at Block 1, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka (6°22′N, 81°31′E), alt. 5 m, by D. Gabadage, 27 May 1995; Subadult female, NMSL (= WHT) 1434C, SVL 34.0 mm, collected at Block 1, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka (6°22′N, 81°31′E), alt. 5 m, by D. Gabadage, 27 May 1995 [bahiri] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus). Small to medium-sized lizards, male SVL 36.6-56.6 mm, females 36.4-52.1 mm; head scales unequal, strongly keeled; supraciliary edge sharp; fourth toe extending well beyond third, fifth toe absent; exposed tympanum, no preanal or femoral pores, no prominent dorsal crest; presence of enlarged scales on the lateral side of the trunk and a single enlarged keeled scale on the thigh region. Scales on the dorsum within the dark brown line marking are relatively larger than the adjoining smaller scales on the lateral side of the body. Dewlap size varies from small to large depending on the species. Sitana can be differentiated from their closest living genus Otocryptis by the absence of fifth toe and an exposed tympanum (Deepak et al. 2016: 85). 
CommentDistribution: Not confirmed from Pakistan (KHAN, pers. comm.). Specimens from Maharashtra and Karnataka may be S. deccanensis. Not in Gujarat where it is replaced by Sitana spinaecephalus (see Deepak et al 2016).

Synonymy mostly after WERMUTH 1967. Sitana deccanensis JERDON 1870 was revalidated by Amarasinghe et al. 2014. There is some doubt surrounding the taxon Sitana ponticeriana mucronata Deraniyagala, 1957. Its type is lost and no live populations have been found since its original description; therefore, we here consider this trinomen as a nomen dubium. Bahir & Silva (2005) argued that S. p. mucronata could refer to a misidentified Otocryptis wiegmanni Wagler, 1830 (fide Amarasinghe et al. 2014). Sitana bahiri was synonymized with S. ponticeriana by Deepak et al. 2018.

Abundance: Common in Sri Lanka (BAHIR & SURASINGHE 2005).

Type species: Sitana ponticeriana CUVIER 1829 is the type species of the genus Sitana CUVIER 1829.

Habitat: open scrub jungles on dusty or sandy ground [bahiri] 
EtymologyCuvier (1829) in his description did not mention anything about the generic name. Jerdon (1853) mentioned that Sitana is the name that it was known by at Puducherry, with the genus name a Latin termination of the word “Shaitan” or Devil. Jerdon also notes that the name was sometimes applied to it by the Musulmans of South India. More recently Schleich and Kästle (2002), without any reference, suggested that the generic name is derived from the Tamil language sit wona, small lizard. Sit wona does not translate to small lizard in Tamil: it is either siri-yawona or chinnawona. There is no mention about the etymology of the genus by past herpetologists (Günther, 1864, Boulenger, 1890, Smith, 1935). Since Jerdon’s information was published during the same century, we suggest his version of the genus etymology is more likely to be accurate (Deepak et al. 2016: 85).

Etymology (bahiri). The species epithet is an eponym Latinised in the genitive singular, honouring Mohomed Mujythaba Bahir for his generous friendship, and remarkable contributions to Sri Lankan herpetology, carcinology and biodiversity conservation. Currently he spends his valuable time promoting science, biodiversity and conservation to the general public, especially the younger generation. 
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