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Cnemaspis avasabinae AGARWAL, BAUER & KHANDEKAR, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Sabin’s Nellore dwarf gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis avasabinae AGARWAL, BAUER & KHANDEKAR 2020 
DistributionIndia (Andhra Pradesh)

Type locality: along a small stream near Penchalakona (14.31775°N, 79.43127° E; ca. 170 m asl.), Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh state, India  
TypesHolotype: NCBS-BH754, adult male, collected by Aparna Lajmi, Aniruddha Datta-Roy, V. Deepak and Ishan Agarwal on 17 March 2014. Paratypes: NCBS-BH755, NCBS-BH756, adult males, same collection data as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length less than 29 mm. Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled granular scales in the vertebral and paravertebral region, intermixed with a few scattered, enlarged, weakly keeled, conical tubercles on the flanks; enlarged tubercles absent in paravertebral rows; spine-like scales absent on flanks. Ventral scales smooth, imbricate, 17–20 scales across belly, 102–114 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca. Subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; nine lamellae under digit I of both manus and pes; 14 or 15 lamellae under digit IV of manus and 16–18 lamellae under digit IV of pes. Males with continuous series of 3–5 precloacal pores, no femoral pores. Tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles forming whorls; a median row of sub-caudals smooth, slightly enlarged and covering less than 1/3rd tail base. Dorsal colouration pink-grey with a broad, light mid-dorsal streak running from occiput onto tail, single medial dark spot on nape which forms an indistinct cross bar, six pairs of dark paired spots on either side of mid-dorsal streak between forelimb insertions and tail base.

Comparison with Indian congeners. Cnemaspis avasabinae sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Indian congeners on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: A small-sized Cnemaspis SVL up to 29 mm (versus medium-sized Cnemaspis SVL 40–50 mm in C. anandani Murthy, Anandan, Sengupta & Deepak, C. bangara, C. boiei (Gray), C. jerdonii (Theobald), C. kolhapurensis Giri, Bauer & Gaikwad, C. heteropholis Bauer, C. kottiyoorensis Cyriac & Umesh, C. nilagirica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. graniticola, C. yelagiriensis, C. sisparensis (Theobald), C. wynadensis (Beddome), C. ornata (Beddome) and C. thackerayi; large-sized Cnemaspis SVL >50 mm in C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, & Palot, C. beddomei (Theobald), C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, & Palot, C. nairi Inger, Marx & Koshy; spine-like scales absent on flanks (versus spine-like scales present on flanks in C. amboliensis Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. assamensis Das & Sengupta, C. flaviventralis Sayyed, Pyron & Dahanukar, C. goaensis Sharma, C. jerdonii, C. koynaensis Khandekar, Thackeray & Agarwal, C. littoralis (Jerdon), C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. mysoriensis, C. nilagirica, C. otai, and C. yercaudensis); scales on dorsal aspect of trunk heterogeneous (versus scales on dorsal aspect of trunk homogeneous in C. adii, C. assamensis, C. australis Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. boiei, C. indica (Gray), C. jerdonii, C. kolhapurensis, C. littoralis, C. nilagirica and C. sisparensis); sub-caudal scales smooth, median row slightly enlarged (versus sub-caudal scales smooth, median row not enlarged in, C. amba Khandekar, Thackeray & Agarwal, C. ajijae Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. flaviventralis, C. girii Mirza, Pal, Bhosale & Sanap, C. limayei Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar and C. koynaensis; keeled sub-caudals in C. amboliensis, C. australis, C. goaensis and C. monticola; sub-caudal scales smooth, median row slightly enlarged in C. adii, C. agarwali,, C. boiei, C. gracilis (Beddome), C. heteropholis, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kolhapurensis, C. nairi, C. nilagirica, C. ornata, C. shevaroyensis, C. sisparensis, C. thackerayi, and C. wynadensis); males with continuous series of 3–5 precloacal pores and no femoral pores (versus precloacal pores absent, femoral pores present in C. ajijae, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kottiyoorensis, C. limayei, C. littoralis, C. mahabali Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. sisparensis, C. heteropholis, C. wynadensis; both femoral and precloacal pores present in C. adii, C. agarwali, C. australis; C. bangara, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. graniticola, C. mysoriensis, C. otai, C. shevaroyensis, C. thackerayi, C. yelagiriensis, C. yercaudensis; both femoral and precloacal pores absent in C. boiei, and C. assamensis; femoral pores absent and a continuous series of 7–9 precloacal pores in C. beddomei, ten continuous precloacal pores in C. maculicollis, seven or eight continuous precloacal pores in C. nairi, 6–8 continuous precloacal pores in C. ornata; and a continuous series of 26–28 precloacal-femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis).

Colouration in life: Dorsal ground colour of head, body, limbs and tail grey-pink; head finely speckled with white and black. Faint brown preorbital streak runs from nostril to orbit; labials dull grey with lighter and darker bars. A broad straw-coloured mid-dorsal streak runs from occiput to tail base, interrupted on the nape by a horizontally elliptical dark ocellus fringed by a few orange scales that forms an indistinct cross-bar, six pairs of dark brown blotches on dorsum. Flank with some smaller black spots and elongate light yellow markings. Tail suffused with orange, indistinctly banded. Dorsum of forelimbs with few dark tubercles, hindlimbs with light brown bands, digits with alternating dark and light bands; dorsum of tail with 11 alternating brown and light grey bands, tail tip yellow. Ventral surfaces dull-white, mottled with brown under limbs, gular region with a pair of dark streaks below the chin, no dark markings on belly and underside of tail. Pupil black, iris silver with an orange streak toward the posterior of the pupil. 
CommentHabitat: among rocks on the edge of a small stream in a dry evergreen patch of forest.

Activity: dusk and just after dark.

Similar species: C. mysoriensis, C. otai, C. yercaudensis 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “avasabinae” honors Ava Sabin of the Sabin family, philanthropic supporters of herpetofaunal conservation. 
  • AGARWAL, ISHAN; AARON M BAUER, AKSHAY KHANDEKAR 2020. A new species of South Asian Cnemaspis (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Eastern Ghats, India. Zootaxa 4802 (3): 449–462 - get paper here
  • Ganesh S.R., Bubesh Guptha 2021. Herpetological diversity in the Central Eastern Ghats, Peninsular India. Journal of Animal Diversity, 3(3): 18-44 - get paper here
  • KHANDEKAR, AKSHAY; TEJAS THACKERAY, ISHAN AGARWAL 2020. A new cryptic Cnemaspis Strauch (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from an isolated granite hill on the Mysore Plateau, Karnataka, India. Zootaxa 4845 (4): 509–528 - get paper here
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