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Ancylodactylus kenyaensis MALONZA & BAUER, 2022

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAncylodactylus kenyaensis MALONZA & BAUER 2022: 106 
DistributionC Kenya

Type locality: Mt. Kenya Forest, Chuka Block, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya (00.30101° S, 37.58712° E; 1680 m)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. NMK-220L/2 (Field No. Chuka 2), adult male, collected 9 May 2019 by Patrick K. Malonza & Joash O. Nyamache.
Paratypes. NMK-220L/1 (Field No. Chuka 1), adult female, Mt. Kenya Forest, Chuka Block, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi Couinty, Kenya (00.30463° S, 37.56624° E; 1862 m), collected 9 May 2019, by Patrick K. Malonza & Joash O. Nyamache; NMK-L3888/2, adult female, Karura Forest, Nairobi County, Kenya (01.24068° S, 36.84965° E; 1663 m), collected 16 February 2017 by Patrick K. Malonza, Washington Wachira & Vincent Muchai; NMK-L3131/3, adult male, Ngaya Forest, Nyambene Hills, Meru County, Kenya (00.371667° N, 38.02114° E; 1232 m), collected 21–27 April 2008 by Patrick K. Malonza & Vincent Muchai; NMK-L3186/2, adult female, Chogoria Forest Block-Meru, Mt. Kenya Forest, Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya (00.23914° S, 37.58914° E; 1724 m), collected 6 March 2009 by Patrick K. Malonza, Joash Nyamache & Vincent Muchai. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large Ancylodactylus, (to 60 mm SVL in males and 65 mm in females). Dorsal scalation heterogeneous, minute granular scales with enlarged, irregularly-arranged, rounded tubercles in 11–14 irregular longitudinal rows at midbody, extending posteriorly from the nape or occiput. Limbs and digits long, with enlarged basal lamellae under and proximal to penultimate interphalangeal joint (6 under digit IV). Original tail slightly longer than SVL; dorsal scalation of tail lacking tubercles; median subcaudal scales with alternating pattern of single enlarged scales and pairs of somewhat smaller scales. Male precloacal pores in a single continuous row of eight. Dorsal pattern of chevrons, broken bands and spots on a light brown to grayish-brown background. Ventral coloration whitish with faint darker markings on throat and trunk. (MALONZA & BAUER 2022)

Comparisons with Congeners. Ancylodactylus kenyaensis sp. nov. may be distinguished from A. spinicollis and A. petrodroma in lacking an enlarged preaxial metatarsal scale and from these two species plus A. alantika in having a series of flattened, rectangular lamellae subtending the second and third phalanges of the pedal digits, rather than single enlarged, rounded scale (plaque of Perret 1986) at the penultimate joint of each digit. It is distinguished from A. uzungwae, A. quattuorseriatus, A. dickersonae, A. petrodroma, A. occidentalis, A. spinicollis, A. alantika, A. kituiensis sp. nov., and A. spawlsi sp. nov. by lacking tubercles on the post-pygal (autotomic) portion of the tail dorsum. It has substantially more longitudinal rows of dorsal trunk tubercles (11–14) than A. quattuorseriatus, A. dickersonae, A. dilepis, A. mathewsensis sp. nov., A. laikipiensis sp. nov., A. spawlsi, sp. nov., and A. chyuluensis sp. nov. (maximum 6 rows), and a greater maximum number than all remaining species (8–12 rows). It possesses a lower number of precloacal pores (8) than A. africanus (9–12), A. barbouri (14), A. alantika (11), and A. gigas (15–16) and a higher number than A. mathewsensis sp. nov., A. laikipiensis sp. nov., and A. spawlsi, sp. nov. (6–7), It may also be distinguished in having an enlarged median series of subcaudals consisting of alternating single and paired scales from A. africanus, A. dilepis, A. gigas, A. alantika, A. mathewsensis sp. nov., A. laikipiensis sp. nov., A. spawlsi, sp. nov., and A. chyuluensis sp. nov. (all with a single median row of enlarged subcaudals) and from A. spinicollis, A. petrodroma, and A. occidentalis (irregular subcaudals). In lacking any yellow or orange ventral coloration A. kenyaensis sp. nov. may be distinguished from A. africanus, A. koehleri, A. dilepis, A. spinicollis, A. petrodroma, A. occidentalis, A. alantika, A. mathewsensis sp. nov., A. laikipiensis sp. nov., and A. spawlsi, sp. nov. This last feature also distinguishes the new species from A. elgonensis, which it resembles in size and most features of scalation. A. kenyaensis sp. nov., with a maximum size of 65 mm SVL, is the largest member of its genus in Kenya and is at least 50% larger than A. barbouri, A. uzungwae, A. quattuorseriatus, A. dickersonae, A. dilepis, A. mathewsensis sp. nov., A. laikipiensis sp. nov., A. spawlsi, sp. nov., and A. chyuluensis sp. nov. (MALONZA & BAUER 2022)

Coloration (in life). In life, during the day, the dorsal color is predominantly light brown to grayish brown, with a series of irregular, yellowish- or pinkish-brown spots or diamond-shaped marks. Additional longitudinal rows of yellowish markings in paravertebral position and on flanks; collectively the markings form a broken chevron-like pattern on the dorsum (Fig. 3A). The original tail is mainly brownish with about 6–7 yellowish-brown to whitish diamond-shaped marks formed by the fusion of the paravertebral markings continuing from the trunk. The head is light brownish with some dark scattered markings yielding an irregular, ill-demarcated, reticulated pattern. Dorsal color may occasionally be affected by the substrate on which the gecko is resting and/or external stimuli like prevailing weather conditions. Throat and belly are largely off-white, becoming more grayish under the tail and under distal portions of the limbs and feet. Some faint speckling of throat and chest (Fig 3B). Post-cloacal spur bright white or yellow (Figs. 3A, 3C). (MALONZA & BAUER 2022)

Variation. Mensural data for the type series is given in Table 1. All paratypes are in generally good condition and all retain at least partial tails. Paratypes generally similar to holotype in most aspects. In some individuals a mixture of yellow, dark brown and pale brown granules may yield a speckled appearance (Fig. 3C). The dorsal markings may fuse to form more complete chevrons or transverse bands, and the vertebral spots or diamonds may fuse to yield a more-or-less continuous vertebral stripe (Fig. 3C). No clear sexual dichromatism but females achieve slightly larger sizes than males. Males have a continuous single series of 8 precloacal pores (Table 1). (MALONZA & BAUER 2022) 
CommentDistribution: see map in MALONZA & BAUER 2022: 104 (Fig. 1). 
EtymologyNamed for the Mt. Kenya region and the central Kenya highlands where the species occurs. 
References
  • MALONZA, P. K., & BAUER, A. M. 2022. Resurrection of the African gecko genus Ancylodactylus Müller, 1907 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) and description of six new species from Kenya. Zootaxa 5141 (2): 101-139 - get paper here
 
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