Cnemaspis pachaimalaiensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR, 2022
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Cnemaspis pachaimalaiensis?
|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Pachaimalai dwarf gecko|
|Synonym||Cnemaspis pachaimalaiensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR 2022: 1166|
|Distribution||India (Tamil Nadu)|
Type locality: near Mangalam waterfalls, (11.3422°N, 78.6047°E; ca. 650 m asl.), Pachaimalai hills, Trichy district, Tamil Nadu state, India
|Types||Holotype. NRC-AA-1230 (AK 711), adult male; collected by Akshay Khandekar, Ishan Agarwal, Swapnil Pawar and Tejas Thackeray on 30th May 2019.|
Paratypes. NRC-AA-1231 (AK 708), NRC-AA-1232 (AK 709), adult males, same data as holotype; NRC-AA-1233 (AK 712), adult male, NRC-AA-1234 (AK 713), adult female, from near Shri Kaliyamman temple (11.3642°N, 78.5910°E; ca. 960 m asl.); NRC-AA-1235 (AK 730), NRC-AA-1236 (AK 731), NRC-AA-1237 (AK 753), adult males, from Pachaimalai RF (11.3167°N, 78.6018°E; ca. 840 m asl.), same data as holotype.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: “A small-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length up to 33.6 mm (n = 8). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled, weakly conical, granular scales intermixed with a fairly regularly arranged rows of enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; last one or two rows of enlarged tubercles on flank short spine-like; 10–12 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body, 13–17 tubercles in paravertebral rows; ventral scales subcircular, smooth, subequal from chest to vent, 30–33 scales across belly at mid-body, 112–125 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca; subdigital scansors smooth, unpaired, unnotched; 9–11 lamellae under digit I of manus and 9–12 lamellae under digit I of pes, 15–18 lamellae under digit IV of manus and 18–22 lamellae under digit IV of pes; males with 4–7 femoral pores on each thigh separated by 7–11 poreless scales from continuous series of 2–5 precloacal pores (n = 7/8); tail with enlarged, strongly keeled, pointed, and spine-like tubercles forming whorls; median row of subcaudals smooth, roughly pentagonal, and distinctly enlarged. Dorsum orange, mottled with numerous light grey spots and fine black spots; a large central black dorsal ocellus on neck flanked anteriorly and posteriorly on each side by elongate dark ocelli, smaller ocellus on occiput flanked on each side by a smaller ocellus; indistinct rows of smaller dark ocelli may be present; venter off-white with black speckles, two distinct pairs of black streaks on throat; original tail in males with 9–11 alternating dark and light grey bands, regenerated tail orange.” (Agarwal et al. 2022)|
Comparison with members of C. gracilis clade. “Cnemaspis pachaimalaiensis sp. nov. is a member of the gracilis clade and can be easily distinguished from all members of the clade by a combination of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: males with continuous series of precloacal pores (versus precloacal pore series medially separated by at least one poreless scale in males of C. agarwali, C. agayagangai sp. nov., C. gracilis, C. jackieii, C. fantastica sp. nov., C. salimalii sp. nov. C. thackerayi, C. shevaroyensis; precloacal pores either absent or medially separated by 2–4 poreless scales in C. mundanthuraiensis); small-sized Cnemaspis with maximum SVL 32 mm (versus medium-sized Cnemaspis, SVL up to 41 mm in C. thackerayi, and C. salimalii sp. nov.); 13–17 tubercles in paravertebral rows (versus only a few irregularly arranged tubercles in paravertebral region in C. mundanthuraiensis, 11 or 12 in C. jackieii); 10–12 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body (versus eight or nine rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. jackieii, 6–8 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. mundanthuraiensis); short spine-like tubercles present on flanks (versus spine-like tubercles absent on flanks in C. agarwali, C. jackieii, C. shevaroyensis, and C. thackerayi); 30–33 ventral scales across belly at mid-body (versus 24–26 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. agarwali, 21–24 in C. shevaroyensis, and 22–25 in C. thackerayi); a large central black dorsal ocellus on neck flanked anteriorly and posteriorly on each side by elongate dark ocelli, smaller ocellus on occiput flanked on each side by a smaller ocellus; indistinct rows of smaller dark ocelli may be present (versus a single central dorsal ocellus each on occiput and neck in C. gracilis, C. mundanthuraiensis, C. thackerayi; single dorsal ocellus on occiput absent, single dorsal ocellus on neck present in C. salimalii sp. nov.; a single dorsal ocellus each on occiput and neck, a smaller pair on either side just anterior to forelimb insertion in C. jackieii). Cnemaspis pachaimalaiensis sp. nov. is diagnosed against Cnemaspis rudhira sp. nov. as part of its descriptions below.” (Agarwal et al. 2022)
Description of the holotype. “Adult male in good state of preservation except tail slightly bent towards left (Fig. 15A–E). SVL 28.8 mm, head short (HL/SVL 0.24), wide (HW/HL 0.68), not strongly depressed (HD/HL 0.45), distinct from neck. Loreal region marginally inflated, canthus rostralis not distinct. Snout half of head length (ES/ HL 0.50), almost 2.5 times eye diameter (ES/ED 2.33); scales on snout and canthus rostralis subcircular, subequal, weakly keeled, somewhat conical, and much larger than those on forehead and interorbital region; scales on forehead similar to those on snout and canthus rostralis except smaller and elongated, and weakly conical; scales on interorbital region even smaller, granular; scales on occipital and temporal region heterogeneous, enlarged, keeled, conical tubercles intermixed with much smaller, weakly keeled and weakly conical granular scales (Fig. 16A). Eye small (ED/HL 0.21) with round pupil; supraciliaries short, larger anteriorly; five interorbital scale rows across narrowest point of frontal bone; 28–30 scale rows between left and right supraciliaries at mid-orbit (Fig. 16A, C). Ear-opening deep, oval, small (EL/HL 0.05); eye to ear distance greater than diameter of eye (EE/ED 1.60) (Fig. 16C). Rostral more than twice as wide (1.40 mm) as high (0.55 mm), incompletely divided dorsally by a strongly developed rostral groove for more than half of its height; a single enlarged supranasal on each side, slightly larger than upper postnasal, separated from each other by a much smaller, elongated internasal scale and still smaller scale on snout; two postnasals, upper postnasal slightly larger than lower; rostral in contact with supralabial I, nostril, supranasal, and weakly in contact with lower postnasal on either side; nostrils oval, surrounded by two postnasals, supranasal, and rostral on either side; one or two rows of scales separate orbit from supralabials (Fig. 16C). Mental enlarged, subtriangular, marginally wider (1.64 mm) than high (1.30 mm); two pairs of postmentals, inner pair roughly rectangular, much shorter (0.63 mm) than mental, separated from each other below mental by a single enlarged median chin shield; inner pair bordered by mental, infralabial I, outer postmental, enlarged median chin shield and an enlarged chin shield on either side; outer postmentals roughly rectangular, even smaller (0.52 mm) than inner pair, bordered by inner postmentals, infralabial I and II, and four enlarged chin shields on either side; three enlarged gular scales between left and right outer postmentals; all chin scales bordering postmentals flat, subcircular, smooth, and slightly smaller than outermost postmentals; scales on rest of throat granular, small, smooth (Fig. 16B). Infralabials bordered below by a row or two of slightly enlarged, much elongated scales, decreasing in size posteriorly. Eight supralabials up to angle of jaw and six at midorbital position on either side; supralabial I largest, rest of the series gradually decreasing in size posteriorly; seven infralabials up to angle of jaw, five at midorbital position on either side; infralabial I largest, rest of the series gradually decreasing in size posteriorly (Fig. 16C).
Body relatively slender (BW/AGL 0.46), trunk less than half of SVL (AGL/SVL 0.39) without ventrolateral folds; short spine-like scales on flank present (Fig. 17A–C). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled granular scales intermixed with a fairly regularly arranged row of enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; tubercles in approximately 11 longitudinal rows at mid-body including short spine-like scales at lower flank; 14 (left) and 16 (right) tubercles in paravertebral row from above forelimb insertion to the hind limb insertion (Fig. 17A, C). Ventral scales much larger than granular scales on dorsum smooth, subcircular, subimbricate, subequal from chest to vent; mid-body scale rows across belly 31; 115 scales from mental to anterior border of cloaca (Fig. 17B). Scales on base of neck similar to those on belly, marginally smaller; gular region with much smaller, smooth, granular scales, those bordering postmentals enlarged, smooth, subcircular, and flattened (Fig. 16B). Five femoral pores on left thigh and four on right, separated by 10 poreless on either side from continuous series of three precloacal pores (Fig. 16D).
Scales on palms and soles granular, smooth, rounded, and flattened; scales on dorsal aspects of limbs heterogeneous in shape and size; mixture of small granular, weakly keeled, imbricate scales which are twice the size of granules on the body dorsum, largest on anterolateral aspect of the hands and feet; posterolateral aspect of limbs with small weakly keeled to smooth granular scales; ventral aspect of forelimbs with small, smooth, subimbricate scales, larger on lower arm than upper arm; ventral aspect of hindlimb with enlarged, smooth, flattened, subimbricate scales, slightly larger than body ventrals (Fig. 15A, B). Forelimbs and hindlimbs moderately long, slender (LAL/SVL 0.14; CL/SVL 0.17); digits long, with strong, recurved claw, distinctly inflected, distal portions laterally compressed conspicuously. Digits with unpaired lamellae except for a few basal lamellae which are paired, separated into a basal and narrower distal series by single enlarged lamella at inflection; basal lamellae series: (1-3-3-4-3 right manus, 1-4-5-6-5 right pes), (1-3-3-4-3 left manus, Fig. 16E; 1-4-6-7-5 left pes, Fig. 16F); distal lamellae series: (9-11-12-11-10 right manus, 8-10-13-12-12 right pes), (8-9-11-11-11 left manus, Fig. 16E; 8-11-13-12-13 left pes, Fig. 16F). Relative length of digits (measurements in mm in parentheses): IV (2.5) > III (2.3) > V (2.0) = II (2.0) > I (1.5) (left manus); IV (3.1) > V (3.0) > III (2.9) > II (2.6) > I (1.9) (left pes).
Tail original, entire, subcylindrical, slender, marginally longer than snout-vent length (TL/SVL 1.11; Fig. 15C–E). Dorsal scales on tail base weakly keeled, granular, similar in size and shape to granular scales on mid-body dorsum, gradually becoming larger, flattened, imbricate posteriorly, intermixed with enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles; enlarged tubercles on the tail forming whorls; six tubercles each on first nine whorls, four in 10–13th whorls, rest of the tail with only paravertebral tubercles (Fig. 15A, C). Scales on ventral aspect of tail much larger than those on dorsal aspect, subimbricate, smooth; median series distinctly larger than rest, roughly pentagonal; scales on tail base slightly smaller than those on mid-body ventrals, smooth, imbricate; a single enlarged, conical, and smooth postcloacal spur on each side (Fig. 15B).” (Agarwal et al. 2022)
Colouration in life (Fig. 6D). “Dorsum of head, body, limbs and tail base orange-brown. Head with numerous yellow blotches and some black spots, yellow and dark bands on labials. Three dark postorbital streaks, all terminating anterior to forelimb insertions, suborbital streak continues onto throat. A large central black dorsal ocellus on neck flanked anteriorly and posteriorly on each side by elongate dark ocelli, smaller ocellus on occiput flanked on each side by a smaller ocellus; approximately three rows of three smaller dark ocelli; all ocelli with a diffuse orange margin. Dorsum mottled with smaller light-grey spots and fine black spots. Dorsum of limbs more muted than back, digits with alternating dark and light bands. Tail with seven or eight alternating light grey and black bands with an orange regenerated tip. Venter off-white with black speckles, two distinct pairs of black streaks on throat.” (Agarwal et al. 2022)
Variation and additional information from type series. “Mensural, meristic and additional character state data for the type series is given in Tables 12–14 respectively. There are six adult male and a single adult female specimens ranging in size from 28.6–33.6 mm (Fig. 18A). All paratypes resemble holotype except as follows: supranasals in contact with each other behind internasal in NRC-AA-1233 and NRC-AA-1237; upper postmentals in contact with each other below mental in NRC-AA-1231, NRC-AA-1233, NRC-AA-1234, and NRC-AA-1237; upper postmentals separated from each other below mental by two median enlarged chin shields in NRC-AA-1236; upper postmentals bordered by mental, infralabial I, outer postmental, and by a single large chin scale on either side in NRC-AA-1231, NRC-AA-1233, NRC-AA-1236; upper postmentals bordered by mental, infralabial I, outer postmental, median chin shield, and by a single large chin scale on either side in NRC-AA-1234, NRC-AA-1237. Outer postmental bordered by inner postmental, infralabials I & II in all types, additionally, five chin scales on either side in NRC-AA-1231, five chin scales on right in NRC-AA-1233 and NRC-AA-1236, three scales on right in NRC-AA-1232 and NRC-AA-1237; outer postmental separated from each other medially by two enlarged chin scales in NRC-AA-1231, NRC-AA-1233. Three paratypes — NRC-AA-1232, NRC-AA-1233, and NRC-AA-1235 with original and complete tails, slightly longer than body (TL/SVL 1.11, 1.27, and 1.30 respectively); tail entire but partially regenerated in NRC-AA-1234, NRC-AA-1236, and NRC-AA-1237, marginally to slightly longer than body (TL/SVL 1.08, 1.12, and 1.33 respectively); original tail entirely lost, small regenerated portion present in NRC-AA-1231. Ocelli on body between limb insertions are highly variable in all paratypes; original tail banded in all paratypes; regenerated tail orangish in life and yellowish-grey in preservative. (Fig. 18A).” (Agarwal et al. 2022)
|Etymology||The specific epithet is a toponym for the Pachaimalai hills in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu, the type and currently only known locality for this species.|