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Cnemaspis nandimithrai KARUNARATHNA, POYARKOV, DE SILVA, MADAWALA, BOTEJUE, GORIN, SURASINGHE, GABADAGE, UKUWELA & BAUER, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Nandimithras’ day gecko
Sinhala: Nandimithrage diva-seri hoona 
SynonymCnemaspis nandimithrai KARUNARATHNA, POYARKOV, DE SILVA, MADAWALA, BOTEJUE, GORIN, SURASINGHE, GABADAGE, UKUWELA & BAUER 2019: 257 
DistributionSri Lanka (Ampara District)

Type locality: granite cave in Kudumbigala, Kumana, Ampara District, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka (6.667519° N, 81.747839° E, WGS1984; elevation 28 m  
Reproductionoviparous. Eggs were observed in granite rock crevices, typically laid in pairs. The eggs were pure white in color almost spherical in shape (mean diameter 4.8 ± 0.02 mm), with a slightly flattened side attached to the rocky substrate. 
TypesHolotype. NMSL.2019.03.01, adult male, 27.9 mm SVL (Fig. 4), collected around 10.00 hrs) on 15 August 2018 by Suranjan Karunarathna and Anslem de Silva.
Paratypes. NMSL.2019.03.02, adult male, 31.7 mm SVL, and NMSL.2019.03.03, adult female, 29.7 mm SVL, collected from granite cave in Kudumbigala, Kumana, Ampara District, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka (6.658708° N, 81.753736° E, WGS1984; el- evation 31 m; around 11.00 hrs), on 15 August 2018 by Suranjan Karunarathna and Anslem de Silva. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Cnemaspis nandimithrai sp. nov., can be readily distinguished from its Sri Lankan congeners by a combination of the following morphometric and meristic characteristics as well as color pattern: maximum SVL 31.7 mm; dorsum with homogeneous, smooth granular scales; 2/2 supranasals, 2 internasals and 1/1 postnasal present; 3 enlarged postmentals; postmentals bounded by 5 chin scales; chin, gular, pectoral and abdominal scales smooth, subimbricate; 25–27 belly scales across midbody; 3–4 weakly developed tubercles on posterior flank; 95 – 99 paravertebral granules linearly arranged; 2–4 precloacal pores, 2–4 femoral pores on each side in males, separated by 9–11 unpored anterior femoral scales, 5–7 unpored posterior femoral scales; 108–112 ventral scales; 87–89 midbody scales; subcaudals smooth, median row comprising an irregular series of oval shaped, small scales; 5–6 supralabials; 6 infralabi- als; 12–13 total lamellae on fourth digit of manus, and 19 total lamellae on fourth digit of pes.

Comparisons with other species. Among species of the C. kandiana clade sensu Agarwal et al. (2017), Cnemaspis nandimithrai sp. nov. differs by having smooth ventral scales versus keeled scales in C. pava Manamendra- Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. pulchra Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. samanalensis Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, 2007, C. silvula Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. tropidogaster (Boulenger, 1885), and C. upendrai Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, and also in having smooth gular scales versus keeled in C. amith Manamendra- Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007; it can also be diagnosed from C. ingerorum Batuwita, Agarwal & Bauer, 2019, C. kallima Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. kandiana (Kelaart, 1852), C. menikay Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, and C. retigalensis Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, 2007 by having homogeneous (versus heterogeneous) dorsal scales; the new species differs from C. kumarasinghei Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, 2007, and C. latha Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007 by having a greater number of belly scales (25 – 27 versus 17 – 21 and 13 – 15, respectively), having a lower number of supralabial scales (5 – 6 versus 7 – 8 and 7 – 8, respectively), and having greater number of paravertebral granules (95 – 99 versus 61 – 68 and 72 – 79, respectively); further it can be differentiated from C. kumarasinghei by having a lower number of ventral scales (108 – 112 versus 120 – 134). Among species of the C. podihuna clade sensu Agarwal et al. (2017), the new species differs from C. alwisi Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, 2007, C. gemunu Bauer, de Silva, Greenbaum & Jackman, 2007, C. godagedarai de Silva, Bauer, Botejue & Karunarathna, 2019, C. kandambyi Batuwita & Udugampala, 2017, C. molligodai Wickramasinghe & Munindradasa, 2007, C. nilgala Karunarathna, Bauer, de Silva, Surasinghe, Somaratna, Madawala, Gabadage, Botejue, Henkanaththegedara & Ukuwela, 2019, C. phillipsi Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. podihuna Deraniyagala, 1944, C. punctata Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007, C. rajakarunai Wickramasinghe, Vidanapathirana & Rathnayake, 2016, C. rammalensis Vidanapathirana, Rajeev, Wickramasinghe, Fernando & Wickramasinghe, 2014, and C. scalpensis (Ferguson, 1877) by having smaller and more irregularly shaped subcaudal scales (versus clearly enlarged hexagonal or subhexagonal scales), and by the presence (versus absence) of precloacal pores except in C. kandambyi, C. molligodai and C. podihuna, which can be differentiated from C. nandimithrai sp. nov. by having a greater number of belly scales (23 – 25 versus 16 – 17, 15 – 19, and 13 – 20, respectively). 
CommentHabitat: tropical dry mixed semi-evergreen forest with a Manilkara-dominant floristic community. Microhabitat associations of this species were restricted to rock outcrops and the interior of granite caves in forested areas, and are found up to a height of up to 8 m on vertical surfaces. These microhabitats were well-shaded (light intensity 0 – 643 Lux), relatively moist (relative humidity: 71 – 83%), cool and shady (ambient temeratur: 30.5 – 32.2 °C, rock-surface temperature: 26.6 – 28.4 °C, canopy cover: 60 – 75%).

Sympatry: Calodactylodes illingworthorum and Hemidactylus hunae) and other generalist species (Cnemaspis podihuna, Gehyra mutilata, Hemidactylus depressus, H. frenatus, H. triedrus,
H. parvimaculatus.) 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an eponym Latinized (nandimithrai) in the masculine genitive singular, honouring ‘Nandimithra Yodaya’ (a gladiator, one of the ten giant warriors of King Dutugemunu’s army) for his valiant services to his king and his contribution to rebuilding the Kudumbigala monastery (granite caves, especially Maha Sudharshana Lena), later gifted to the Buddhist Monks. 
References
  • Karunarathna, Suranjan; Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Anslem de Silva, Majintha Madawala, Madhava Botejue, Vladislav A. Gorin, Thilina Surasinghe, Dinesh Gabadage, Kanishka D.B. Ukuwela & Aaron M. Bauer 2019. Integrative taxonomy reveals six new species of day geckos of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from geographically-isolated hill forests in Sri Lanka. Vertebrate Zoology 69 (3): 247–298 - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2020. Liste der im Jahr 2019 neubeschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2020 (3): 44-67
 
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