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Cnemaspis palakkadensis SAYYED, CYRIAC & DILEEPKUMAR, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Palakkad Dwarf Gecko 
SynonymCnemaspis palakkadensis SAYYED, CYRIAC & DILEEPKUMAR 2020 
DistributionSW India (Kerala)

Type locality: Anakkal (10°52’50”N, 76°39’23”E; ca. 140 m asl), Palakkad District, Kerala, south-western India (Fig. 1 in Sayyed et al. 2020).  
TypesHolotype. BNHS 2790, an adult male, 32.2 mm SVL, collected by Amit Sayyed, 18 May 2019.
Paratype. BNHS 2791, an adult male, 31.5 mm SVL, and BNHS 2792, an adult female, 34.1 mm SVL; collected from same locality as holotype by Vivek Vaidyanathan and Abhijit Nale, 19 May 2019. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and comparison with Indian congeners. A small-sized Cnemaspis, SVL < 35 mm; dorsal pholidosis homogenous with small, smooth, granular scales in the vertebral and paravertebral regions; conical or spine-like tubercles absent on flank; ventral scales smooth, imbricate; males with 15–16 femoral pores on each thigh and no pre-cloacal pores; supralabials to angle of jaw 7–8, infralabials to angle of jaw 6–8; lamellae under fourth digit of manus 12–15, and pes 14–17; tail without whorls of enlarged tubercles; median subcaudals enlarged, imbricate, smooth, post cloacal spur absent in both sexes.
Cnemaspis palakkadensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Indian congeners on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: Spine-like tubercles absent on flanks [versus spine-like tubercles present on flank in C. amboliensis Sayyed, Pyron, and Dileepkumar, C. assamensis Das and Sengupta, C. anandani Murthy, Nitesh, Sengupta, and Deepak, C. flaviventralis Sayyed, Pyron, and Dahanukar, C. goaensis Sharma, C. gracilis (Beddome), C. jerdonii (Theobald), C. koynaensis Khandekar, Thackery, and Agarwal, C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita, and Pethiyagoda, C. mysoriensis (Jerdon), C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita, and Pethiyagoda, C. nilagirica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita, and Pethiyagoda, and C. otai Das and Bauer]. Dorsal scales on midbody homogenous [versus heterogeneous in C. aaronbaueri Sayyed, Grismer, Campbell, and Dileepkumar, C. agarwali Khandekar, C. ajijae Sayyed, Pyron, and Dileepkumar, C. amba Khandekar, Thackery, and Agarwal, C. amboliensis, C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, and Palot, C. anandani, C. andersonii (Annandale), C. australis Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita, and Pethiyagoda, C. avasabinae Agarwal, Bauer, and Khandekar, C. bangara Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal, and Khandekar, C. beddomei (Theobald), C. chengodumalaensis Cyriac, Palot, and Deutiand Umesh, C. flaviventralis, C. girii Mirza, Pal, Bhosale, and Sanap, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. graniticola Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal, and Khandekar, C. heteropholis Bauer, C. kottiyoorensis Cyriac and Umesh, C. koynaensis, C. limayei Sayyed, Pyron, and Dileepkumar, C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, and Palot, C. mahabali Sayyed, Pyron, and Dileepkumar, C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita, and Pethiyagoda, C. nairi Inger, Marx, and Koshy, 1984, C. ornata (Beddome), C. shevaroyensis Khandekar, Gaitonde and Agarwal, C. sisparensis (Theobald), C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde, and Agarwal, C. wicksii (Stoliczka), C. yelagiriensis Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal, and Khandekar, and C. yercaudensis Das and Bauer]. Presence of a series of 15–16 femoral pores on each side and the absence of pre-cloacal pores in males [versus absence of femoral pores in C aaronbaueri, C. anamudiensis, C. avasabinae, C. assamensis, C. beddomei, C. boiei (Gray), C. maculicollis, C. nairi, and C. ornata; presence of both pre-cloacal and femoral pores in C. adii, C. agarwali, C. amboliensis, C. andersonii, C. australis, C. bangara, C.gracilis, C. goaensis, C. graniticola, C. mysoriensis, C. otai, C. shevaroyensis, C. thackerayi, C. wicksii, C. yelagiriensis, and C. yercaudensis]; and from the following species by presence large number of femoral pores [versus < 10 femoral pores on each side in C. ajijae, C. amba, C. anandani, C. chengodumalaensis, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. heteropholis, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kottiyoorensis, C. koynaensis, C. limayei, C. mahabali, C. nilagirica, C. sisparensis, C. wynadensis, and C. zacharyi Cyriac, Palot, and Deutiand Umesh; and a continuous series of precloacal-femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis]. Median subcaudals enlarged [versus small median subcaudals in C. adii, C. ajijae, C. amba, C. andersonii, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. gracilis, C. koynaensis, and C. limayei].
Cnemaspis palakkadensis sp. nov. could be confused with the morphologically similar C. littoralis (Jerdon), but can be distinguished by its longer trunk length (AG 46–49% of SVL versus AG 37–46% of SVL in C. littoralis); much smaller eyes (ED 13–14% of HL versus ED 16–21% of SVL in C. littoralis); absence of conical or spine-like tubercles on flanks (versus small spine-like tubercles present on flanks in C. littoralis); supralabials to angle of jaw 7–8 (versus 9–10 supralabials in C. littoralis); number of scales between eye and tympanum 18–19 (versus 17); mid-dorsal scales 54–57 (versus 52); midventral scales 130–134 (versus 122); number of mid-body scales 32–38 (versus 26); absence of a small post-cloacal spur on both sides of the tail and absence of whorls of enlarged tubercles on the tail (versus a single post-cloacal spur present on each side of the tail and whorls of small but enlarged tubercles on the dorsal side of the tail in C. littoralis) (Sayyed et al. 2020).

Coloration in life (Fig. 6A–C). Male and female of the new species are the same in dorsal appearance. Dorsum of head mottled with brown and yellow; ventral side of head bright orange-yellow in males but white in females, bordered by a dark brown line up to the throat; nape with a small, black ocelli-like marking. Iris yellow with thin dark yellow line bordering pupil; pupil circular, black; supraciliaries yellow; supralabials and infralabials yellow. Dorsum of the body and limbs dull grey with brown and pale yellowish mottling; vertebral region pale yellow with 6–7 dark-edged lighter markings. Tail dull brown dorsally, with irregular faded yellow spots. Ventral side of body and tail white (Sayyed et al. 2020).

Variation of the type series (Tables 1–3). The SVL of adult specimens in the type series of Cnemaspis palakkadensis sp. nov. (n = 3) ranges from 31.5 to 34.1 mm; number of posterior postmentals, 8–10; scales between eye and tympanum,18–19; number of interorbitals, 30–32; number of canthal scales, 14–15; number of dorsal paravertebral scales, 109–113; number of mid-dorsal scales, 54–57; number of midventral scales from mental to cloaca, 130–134; number of mid-body scales across belly, 32–38; lamellae under fourth digit of manus (MLamIV) and pes (PLamIV), 12–15 and 14– 17, respectively. Male and female paratypes match the holotype in overall coloration, except for the coloration on the throat (Sayyed et al. 2020). 
CommentSimilar species: C. littoralis. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet palakkadensis refers to the Palakkad district, from which the type series was collected. 
  • Sayyed A, Cyriac VP, Dileepkumar R. 2020. A new cryptic species of Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae), in the C. littoralis complex, from Anakkal, Palakkad, Kerala, India. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 14 (3) [Taxonomy Section]: 31–45 (e251) - get paper here
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