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Cnemaspis lokugei KARUNARATHNA, DE SILVA, GABADAGE, BOTEJUE, MADAWALA & UKUWELA, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Lokuge’s day gecko
Sinhala: Lokugege diva-seri hoona 
SynonymCnemaspis lokugei KARUNARATHNA, DE SILVA, GABADAGE, BOTEJUE, MADAWALA & UKUWELA 2021
Cnemaspis sp. 5 — AGARWAL et al. 2017
Cnemaspis sp. 4 — KARUNARATHNA et al. 2019
 
DistributionSri Lanka (Uva)

Type locality: granite cave bordering a stream, Haputale, Badulla District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka (6.7753°N; 80.9667°E, WGS1984; elevation 1510 m  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. NMSL.2021.01.01, adult male, 32.9 mm SVL, collected around 10:00 hrs) on 18 December 2019 by Suranjan Karunarathna.
Paratypes. NMSL.2021.01.02, adult female, 30.8 mm SVL and NMSL.2021.01.03, adult female, 30.2 mm SVL, collected from a granite cave bordering a stream, Idalgashinna, Badulla District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka (6.7791°N; 80.8967°E, WGS1984; elevation 1565 m; around 09:00 hrs) on 19 December 2019 by Suranjan Karunarathna. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Cnemaspis lokugei sp. nov., can be readily distinguished from its Sri Lankan congeners by a combination of the following morphological and meristic characteristics: maximum SVL 32.9 mm; dorsum scalation heterogeneous, mixed with smooth and keeled large granular scales; 1/1 supranasals, 1 internasal, 1/1 postnasal; 3 enlarged postmentals; postmentals bounded by 5 enlarged chin scales; chin, gular, pectoral and abdominal scales smooth, subimbricate; 15–17 belly scales across mid-body; 5 or 6 feebly-developed tubercles on posterior flank; 122–132 paravertebral granules linearly arranged; 3 precloacal pores, 4 or 5 femoral pores in males, separated by 8 or 9 proximal femoral scales lacking pores, 7 or 8 distal femoral scales lacking pores; 143–159 ventral scales; 95–103 mid-body scales; smooth subcaudals, median row comprising an irregular series of diamond shaped, small scales; 7 or 8 supralabials; 7 or 8 infralabials; 15 or 16 total lamellae on fourth digit of manus and 17 or 18 total lamellae on fourth digit of pes.

Colour in life. Dorsum of head, body and limbs generally reddish-brown; yellow spot with black outer edge on neck dorsally; broken faded, yellow vertebral stripe running from occiput to tail (Fig. 3); seven irregular blackish-brown, chevron shaped paravertebral markings present. Tail dark brown dorsally, with 10 faded brown irregular cross-bands; pupil circular and black with the surrounding iris yellow; two very faint postorbital stripes on each side; supralabials and infralabials yellowish with tiny black spots; chin and gular scales yellow, with dark spots; pectoral, abdominal, cloacal and subcaudal scales are cream and intermixed with irregular stippling; dorsum of limbs with faded black markings; manus and pes with alternating black and cream-white cross bands.

Comparisons with other Sri Lankan species. Morphologically, Cnemaspis lokugei sp. nov. most closely resembles C. butewai, C. ingerorum, C. kivulegedarai, C. kallima, C. kandiana, C. kotagamai, C. menikay and C. retigalensis because of the presence of a dorsum with heterogeneous scales and smooth belly scales (see the species comparison and Table 4 for more details). Amongst species of the C. kandiana clade sensu Agarwal et al. (2017), Cnemaspis lokugei sp. nov. differs by having heterogeneous (vs. homogeneous) dorsal scales from C. amith, C. dissanayakai, C. gotaimbarai, C. kawminiae, C. kumarasinghei, C. latha and C. nandimithrai. It can also be distinguished from C. butewai, C. kandiana, C. menikay, C. pava, C. pulchra, C. retigalensis, C. samanalensis, C. silvula, C. tropidogaster and C. upendrai by having smooth (vs. keeled) gular scales. The new species differs from C. ingerorum and C. kivulegedarai by having more ventral scales (143–159 vs. 88–95 and 109–114) and by having more mid-body scales (95–103 vs. 62–69 and 69–76); from C. kallima by having more mid-body scales (95–103 vs. 67–74) and by having more paravertebral granules (122–132 vs. 99–107); from C. kotagamai by having more mid-body scales (95–103 vs. 79–84) and by fewer scales across belly (15–17 vs. 21–22).
Amongst species of the C. podihuna clade sensu Agarwal et al. (2017), Cnemaspis lokugei sp. nov. differs by the absence of clearly enlarged, hexagonal or subhexagonal subcaudal scales from the following species with homogeneous dorsal scales: C. alwisi, C. anslemi, C. gemunu, C. godagedarai, C. hitihamii, C. kandambyi, C. kohukumburai, C. molligodai, C. nilgala, C. phillipsi, C. podihuna, C. punctata, C. rajakarunai, C. rammalensis and C. scalpensis. The new species also differs from C. alwisi, C. anslemi, C. gemunu, C. godagedarai, C. hitihamii, C. kohukumburai, C. nilgala, C. phillipsi, C. punctata, C. rajakarunai, C. rammalensis and C. scalpensis by having precloacal pores (vs. absence). 
CommentConservation status. Application of the IUCN Red List Criteria indicates that C. lokugei sp. nov. is Critically Endangered (CR) due to its having an area of occupancy (AOO) < 10 km2 (3.84 km2 in total assuming a 100 m radius around the seven georeferenced locations), severely frag- mented habitat and a projected decline in the area, extent and the quality of habitat [Applicable criteria B2ab (iii)]. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an eponym Latinised (lokugei) in the masculine genitive singular, honouring Mr. Ajith Nethkelum Lokuge, a pioneer ecologist, analogue forestry specialist and a senior member of Young Zoologist’s Association of Sri Lanka, for his significant contribution towards environmental conservation and research in Sri Lanka. 
References
  • Karunarathna, S., De Silva, A., Gabadage, D., Botejue, M., Madawala, M., & Ukuwela, K. D. 2021. A new species of day gecko (Reptilia, Gekkonidae, Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887) from Sri Lanka with an updated ND2 gene phylogeny of Sri Lankan and Indian species. Zoosystematics and Evolution, 97: 191-209 - get paper here
 
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