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Cnemaspis gunawardanai AMARASINGHE, KARUNARATHNA, MADAWALA & DE SILVA, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymCnemaspis gunawardanai AMARASINGHE, KARUNARATHNA, MADAWALA & DE SILVA 2021
Cnemaspis cf. alwisi –– AMARASINGHE et al. 2016
Cnemaspis cf. alwisi –– AMARASINGHE & KARUNARATHNA 2020 
DistributionSri Lanka (Western Province)

Type locality: Pilikuttuwa (7˚03'28.14'' N, 80˚02'53.18'' E; alt. 52 m a.s.l.), Gampaha District, Western Province, Sri Lanka  
ReproductionOviparous (Amarasinghe et al. 2021). 
TypesHolotype: NMSL 2021.08.01, adult male, collected by Anslem de Silva, on 22 November 2005
Paratypes: NMSL 2021.08.02, adult female, other details same as holotype 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The following combination of characters distinguishes the new species from all other congeners: adult males reaching 37.4 mm SVL, adult females reaching 40.5 mm SVL; 8 or 9 supralabials; dorsal granules homogeneous, 148–155 paravertebral granules; three or four spine-like tubercles on flanks; throat, pectoral, and abdominal scales smooth; 159–162 ventrals; no precloacal pores and six or seven femoral pores (per thigh) in males, 23 interfemoral scales; 96–98 midbody scales, 25–27 ventral scale rows across belly; 22 or 23 subdigital lamellae on fourth toe; subcaudals smooth, hexagonal shaped, median row of subcaudals greatly enlarged; the differences are summarized for geographically close congeners (Table 2) and for all Sri Lankan species in Karunarathna et al. (2019c, and their table 9). (Amarasinghe et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Cnemaspis gunawardanai sp. nov. is most similar to C. rajakarunai, C. hitihamii, and other congeners of the alwisi group, and its diagnostic characters within that group are listed in Table 2. The new species distinctly differs from its two sympatric Cnemaspis species, C. manoae by having no precloacal pores in males (present), 6 or 7 femoral pores in males (9), 59–162 ventrals (117–121), 25–27 ventral scale rows across belly (15–17), 96–98 scale rows at mid body (79–83), 148–155 paravertebral granules (119–126), 21–23 lamellae beneath fourth toe (15–16); and from C. tropidogaster by having homogeneous dorsal granules (heterogeneous), smooth ventral side (keeled), enlarged subcaudals (not enlarged), no precloacal pores (present).
The new species is distinguished from C. kandambyi, C. molligodai, and C. podihuna by having no precloacal pores in males (present), 25–27 ventral scales across belly (15–19), 96–98 mid body scale rows (71–83), 159–162 ventrals (less than 135), and 148–155 paravertebral granules (less than 126); from Cnemaspis scalpensis, C. gemunu, C. phillipsi, C. godagedarai, and C. anslemi by having 6 or 7 femoral pores in males (11–16), 23 interfemoral scales (7–14), 159–162 ventrals (less than 143), 25–27 ventral scales across belly (less than 23 in C. anslemi, C. gemunu C. godagedarai, and C. scalpensis), 96–98 mid body scale rows (less than 91 in C. anslemi, C. gemunu C. phillipsi, and C. scalpensis, and more than 98 in C. godagedarai), 148–155 paravertebral granules (less than 112), and 3 or 4 spine-like tubercles on flank (9–11 in C. scalpensis).
Unlike the new species, none of the species listed below have enlarged median subcaudals: Cnemaspis butewai, C. ingerorum, C. kallima, C. kandiana, C. kivulegedarai, C. kotagamai, C. menikay, C. retigalensis; C. pava, C. pulchra, C. samanalensis, C. silvula, C. tropidogaster, C. upendrai, C. amith, C. dissanayakai, C. gotaimbarai, C. kawminiae, C. kumarasinghei, C. latha, C. nandimithrai, and C. lokugei. Furthermore, C. butewai, C. ingerorum, C. kallima, C. kandiana, C. kivulegedarai, C. kotagamai, C. menikay, C. pava, C. pulchra, C. retigalensis, C. samanalensis, C. silvula, C. tropidogaster, C. upendrai, and C. lokugei have heterogeneous dorsal granules (vs homogeneous in C. gunawardanai sp. nov.). Finally, C. pava, C. pulchra, C. samanalensis, C. silvula, C. tropidogaster, and C. upendrai have keeled ventral scales (vs smooth in C. gunawardanai sp. nov.). (Amarasinghe et al. 2021).

Color in life: The holotype had a dorsal pattern of cream and yellowish vertebral markings on a uniform dark brown background color; snout light brown; the neck had a black spot, and a vertebral cream stripe shading posteriorly; several pale and dark blotches scattered on the dorsum, middorsally visible like flower petals; arms and legs uniform dark brown with pale and dark blotches; dark brown tail had six pale yellow markings on the original tail, the regenerated tail uniform brown; ventral side of the whole body white. (Amarasinghe et al. 2021).
 
CommentSimilar species: C. rajakarunai, C. hitihamii

IUCN conservation status: Critically Endangered (CR) [criteria is B1a,b (iii)] 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a noun in the genitive singular case, honoring a leading environmental activist, conservationist, and a lawyer, Dr. Jagath Gunawardana for his major efforts and contributions to biodiversity conservation in Sri Lanka, as well as his support, motivation, and encouragements for the first three authors to accomplish their research and career goals. His valuable contributions to popularizing environmental law among the general public are highly commendable. Currently he is an advisor to many government institutions such as Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Department of Wildlife Conservation and Department of Forestry etc. Dr. Gunawardana is also a senior member and a former instructer of the Young Zoologists’ Association (YZA) of Sri Lanka. 
References
  • Amarasinghe, A. T., Karunarathna, S., Madawala, M., & de Silva, A. 2021. TWO NEW RUPICOLOUS DAY GECKOS OF THE Cnemaspis alwisi GROUP (REPTILIA: GEKKONIDAE) FROM SRI LANKA. TAPROBANICA, 10 (1): pp. 23–38
  • Amarasinghe, A.A. THASUN; PATRICK D. CAMPBELL, MAJINTHA B. MADAWALA, W. MADHAVA S. BOTEJUE, DINESH E. GABADAGE, ANSLEM DE SILVA, D.M.S. SURANJAN KARUNARATHNA 2016. The Re-discovery of live populations of Cnemaspis tropidogaster (Boulenger, 1885) (Sauria, Gekkonidae) from Sri Lanka after 120 years. Zootaxa 4200 (3): - get paper here
  • Amarasinghe, A.A.T. & S. Karunarathna 2020. A new diminutive day gecko species of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from Pilikuttuwa, near the capital of Sri Lanka. TAPROBANICA 9 (1): 71-82 - get paper here
 
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