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Cnemaspis balerion PAL, MIRZA, DSOUZA & SHANKER, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis balerion PAL, MIRZA, DSOUZA & SHANKER 2021 
DistributionIndia (Baba Budan Hills, Karnataka)

Type locality: Dattathreyapeeta, Baba Budan Hills, Karnataka (13.450 °N, 75.751°E; 1410 m asl)  
TypesHolotype: BNHS 2623, adult male collected by Saunak Pal and team on 23rd September 2011.
Paratypes: CESL 416, adult male and CESL 417, adult female; collected along with the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium sized, robust Cnemaspis species (SVL up to 45.0 mm) characterised by the presence of granular, homogeneous dorsal scales; gradually increasing in size on the dorsolateral aspect of flanks, juxtaposed; absence of spine like tubercles on flank; ventrals smooth, subimbricate, 121–127 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca, 22– 24 midventral scales; two to three pairs of postmentals, first pair separated by a single enlarged scale, each postmental surrounded by five to six scales including median scale; males with eight to nine elongated femoral pores separated by 14–16 poreless scales, precloacal pores absent; postcloacal spur absent; subcaudals smooth, median row enlarged, a large subpentagonal scale alternating with slightly smaller subtriangular scale; seven to eight supralabials to the angle of jaw; 19–20 lamellae on digit IV of manus and 22–23 lamellae on digit IV of pes. (Pal et al. 2022) 
CommentBelongs to the wynadensis clade 
EtymologyNamed after “Balerion”, a famous dragon from George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel series, ‘A song of Ice and fire’. The dragon was also known as ‘the black dread’ due to presence of black scales. Like Balerion, this new species shows the presence of distinct clusters of black scales forming spots on the dorsum. 
  • Pal, S., Mirza, Z. A., Dsouza, P., & Shanker, K. 2021. Diversifying on the Ark: multiple new endemic lineages of dwarf geckos from the Western Ghats provide insights into the systematics and biogeography of South Asian Cnemaspis (Reptilia: Squamata). Zoological Research, 42(6): 675-691 - get paper here
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