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Cnemaspis krishnagiriensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Krishnagiri dwarf gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis krishnagiriensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR 2021

 
DistributionIndia (Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: from behind Kugai Periya Mariamman Temple, near Krishnagiri fort, (12.544, 78.224 ca. 550 m asl.), Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu, India.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: NRC-AA-1120 (AK 896), SVL 40 mm, adult male.
Paratypes: NRC-AA-1121 (AK 897) SVL 39.5 mm, adult female; BNHS 2798 (AK 898) SVL 27.2 mm, sub-adult female. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized Cnemaspis, maximum SVL 40 mm (n=3). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, weakly keeled, granular scales intermixed with large, strongly keeled, conical tubercles, seven or eight longitudinal rows of dorsal tubercles, 13 or 14 tubercles in paravertebral rows, spine-like tubercles absent on flank; ventral scales on belly smooth, imbricate, 23–25 scales across the belly, 120–123 longitudinal scales between mental to anterior border of cloaca; subdigital scansors smooth, mostly entire, unnotched, lamellae under digit IV of pes 22–25; male with four femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by nine or 10 poreless scales from a continuous series of three precloacal pores; dorsal pholidosis of tail heterogeneous, weakly keeled, granular scales intermixed with enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles forming four whorls on only anterior portion, six tubercles in first whorl, four tubercles in second to fourth whorls, enlarged tubercles restricted to only paravertebral region on rest of the tail, lacking lateral and ventrolateral rows, median row of sub-caudals smooth and distinctly enlarged. A single large central black ocellus anterior to forelimb insertions flanked by smaller spots on each side; dark dorsal markings with fine yellow speckles; tail tip orange in adults, distal half of tail orange in juveniles; gular region with a broken dark streak on each side (Agarwal et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Comparison with members of the bangara clade. C. krishnagiriensis can be distinguished from its closest relatives C. bangara, C. graniticola and C. yelagiriensis (opposing character states in parentheses) in having seven or eight longitudinal rows of dorsal tubercles (versus dorsal tubercles irregularly arranged in C. bangara); 13 or 14 tubercles in paravertebral rows (versus 7–9 in C. bangara and 14–16 in C. yelagiriensis); 23–25 scales across the belly (versus 20 in C. bangara); 120–123 longitudinal scales between mental to anterior border of cloaca (versus 116–120 in C. bangara, 115–121 in C. graniticola and 125–137 in C. yelagiriensis); four femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by nine or 10 poreless scales from a continuous series of three precloacal pores (versus three or four femoral pores separated on either side by 9–11 poreless scales from a continuous series of two precloacal pores which may be separated by a single poreless scale in C. yelagiriensis; two femoral pores separated on either side by 11 poreless scales from a continuous series of two precloacal pores in C. bangara; three femoral pores separated on either side by eight or nine poreless scales from a continuous series of four precloacal pores in C. graniticola). Additionally, C. krishnagiriensis sp. nov. is 9.2 % divergent from C. yelagiriensis, 16.9 % divergent from C. bangara, and 17.6 % divergent from C. graniticola in ND2 sequence data (Agarwal et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal ground colour of head, body, limbs and tail pale brown; head and dorsum with darker speckling throughout, brille dull yellow. Dark brown preorbital streak runs from nostril to orbit; upper labials dull white with dark blotches. Two dark brown postorbital streaks, upper one merging with its counterpart from the other orbit to form an indistinct )-shaped band on occiput; lower one continuing until ear opening. A single large central black ocellus anterior to forelimb insertions, flanked by slightly smaller spots on each side; all dark dorsal markings with fine yellow speckles. Four indistinct dark bands from axilla to tail base alternating with lighter, elongate mid-dorsal blotches; dorsum of forelimbs and hindlimbs with dark blotches and bands, dark blotches speckled with yellow scales, digits with alternating dark and light bands; dorsum of half broken tail with four alternating brown and light grey bands. Ventral surfaces dull white, gular region with a broken dark streak on each side, both running along lower labials up to lower postmentals, underside of tail marbled with grey. Pupil black, iris golden (Agarwal et al. 2021). 
CommentSimilar species: bangara clade, See comparison. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a toponym for Krishnagiri in Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu, the type and only known locality for this species. 
References
  • AGARWAL, ISHAN; TEJAS THACKERAY, AKSHAY KHANDEKAR 2021. A new medium-sized rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) of the C. bangara clade from granite boulder habitats in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India. Zootaxa 4969: 351–366
 
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