Cnemaspis rishivalleyensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR, 2020
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|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Rishi Valley dwarf gecko|
|Synonym||Cnemaspis rishivalleyensis AGARWAL, THACKERAY & KHANDEKAR 2020: 454|
Cnemaspis mysoriensis — GIRI et al. 2009 [part]
|Distribution||India (Andhra Pradesh: Chittoor District)|
Type locality: Cave Rock Hill, Rishi Valley School (13.632° N 78.457° E; ca. 730 m elevation, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh state, India.
|Types||Holotype: NCBS-BH723 (AK 659), adult male, collected by Akshay Khandekar, Ishan Agarwal, Nikhil Gaitonde and Joshua Muyiwa on 12 March 2019.|
Paratypes. NCBS-BH724 (AK 660), NCBS-BH725 (AK 661), NCBS-BH726 (AK 662), NCBS-BH727 (AK 663), adult females, same collection data as holotype.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length less than 31 mm. Dorsal pholidosis heterogenous, with weakly keeled granular scales increasing in size towards flank, smallest on paravertebral rows and largest on flanks; intermixed with two or three irregularly arranged rows of large, weakly keeled, distinctly pointed, spine-like tubercles on either side of the flanks. Ventral scales smooth, imbricate, 23–25 scale rows across belly, 102–112 scales in a single longitudinal column from mental to cloaca. Subdigital scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; lamellae under digit IV of pes 17–20. Males with a single femoral pore on each thigh, separated on either side by ten poreless scales from a continuous series of three precloacal pores. Tail with six enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, conical tubercles forming whorls; median row of sub-caudals smooth, slightly enlarged. Dorsal colouration grey-brown with a broad, light mid-dorsal streak formed by seven fused elongate chain-links that runs from occiput to tail base, single medial dark spot on nape flanked by a slightly smaller ocellus and two much smaller ocelli, six pairs of dark spots, one on either side of mid-dorsal streak between forelimb insertions and tail base.|
Comparison with peninsular Indian congeners: Cnemaspis rishivalleyensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Indian congeners on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: A small-sized Cnemaspis SVL up to 31 mm (versus medium-bodied Cnemaspis SVL 40–50 mm in C. anandani Murthy, Anandan, Sengupta & Deepak, C. bangara Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal & Khandekar, C. graniticola, C. kolhapurensis Giri, Bauer & Gaikwad, C. heteropholis Bauer, C. kottiyoorensis Cyriac & Umesh, C. nilagirica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. sisparensis (Theobald), C. wynadensis (Beddome), C. ornata (Beddome), and C. yelagiriensis Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal & Khandekar; large-sized Cnemaspis SVL >50 mm in C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, & Palot, C. beddomei (Theobald), C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, & Palot, C. nairi Inger, Marx & Koshy); spine-like tubercles present on flanks (versus spine-like tubercles absent in C. aaronbaueri Sayyed, Grismer, Campbell & Dileepkumar, C. adii Srinivasulu, Kumar & Srinivasulu, C. agarwali Khandekar, C. ajijae Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. amba Khandekar, Thackeray & Agarwal, C. anamudiensis, C. bangara, C. beddomei, C. boiei, C. girii Mirza, Pal, Bhosale & Sanap, C. gracilis (Beddome), C. graniticola, C. heteropholis, C. indica Gray, C. kolhapurensis, C. kottiyoorensis, C. limayei Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. maculicollis, C. mahabali Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. nairi, C. ornata, C. otai, C. shevaroyensis Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, C. sisparensis, C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, C. wynadensis, C. yelagiriensis, C. yercaudensis) scales on dorsal aspect of trunk heterogeneous (versus scales on dorsal aspect of trunk homogeneous in C. adii, C. assamensis, C. australis, C. boiei, C. indica, C. jerdonii (Theobald), C. kolhapurensis, C. littoralis Jerdon, C. nilagirica and C. sisparensis); tail with median row of sub-caudal scales smooth and slightly enlarged (versus median row of sub-caudal scales smooth and not enlarged in C. adii, C. amba, C. ajijae, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. limayei, and C. koynaensis; C. amboliensis Sayyed, Pyron & Dileepkumar, C. australis ManamendraArachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. goaensis Sharma, C. monticola Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, with keeled sub-caudals; median row of subcaudal scales smooth and distinctly enlarged in C. adii, C. agarwali, C. boiei, C. gracilis, C. heteropholis, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kolhapurensis, C. nairi, C. nilagirica, C. ornata, C. shevaroyensis, C. sisparensis, C. thackerayi, and C. wynadensis; males with single femoral pore on each thigh, separated on either side by ten poreless scales from continuous series of three precloacal pores (versus precloacal pores absent, femoral pores present in C. ajijae, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kottiyoorensis, C. limayei, C. littoralis, C. mahabali, C. sisparensis, C. heteropholis, C. wynadensis; only precloacal pores present in C. aaronbaueri, C. anamudiensis, C. beddomei, C. maculicollis, C. nairi, C. ornata, C. avasabinae Agarwal, Bauer & Khandekar; both femoral and precloacal pores absent in C. boiei, and C. assamensis Das & Sengupta; two femoral and two precloacal pores in C. adii; 4–6 femoral pores, separated on either side by eight poreless scales from four precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by a single poreless scale in C. agarwali; four or five femoral and three precloacal pores in C. australis; two femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by 11 poreless scales from continuous series of two precloacal pores in C. bangara; 2–4 femoral and three precloacal pores in C. goaensis; 3–5 femoral pores, separated on either side by 7–10 poreless scales from two precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by two poreless scales in C. gracilis; two femoral and two precloacal pores in C. mysoriensis; three femoral and four precloacal pores in C. otai; three femoral pores on each thigh, separated on either side by eight or nine poreless scales from continuous series of four precloacal pores in C. graniticola; four femoral pores, separated on either side by 7–9 poreless scales from 2–4 precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by two or three poreless scales in C. shevaroyensis; 5–9 femoral pores, separated on either side by 1–6 poreless scales from five or six precloacal pores, precloacal pores separated medially by one or two poreless scales in C. thackerayi; three femoral pores, separated on either side by five or six poreless scales from two precloacal pores in C. yercaudensis; a continuous series of 26–28 precloacal-femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis).
Colouration in life. (Fig. 4A) Dorsal ground colour of head, body, limbs and tail grey-brown; head mottled, with fine light and dark speckles and larger dark blotches. Fine dark brown preorbital streak runs from supralabial II to orbit, two fine dark brown postorbital streaks extend till neck; labials light grey/ brown with lighter and darker bars. A straw-coloured mid-dorsal streak that is formed by seven fused elongate chain-links runs from occiput to tail base; a dark ocellus fringed by a few orange scales anterior to forelimb insertions forms the posterior boundary of the first chain-link, flanked on either side by a similar, smaller ocellus and two much smaller ocelli close to forelimb insertions; followed by six indistinct dumbbell-shaped crossbars at the posterior boundary of each chain link consisting of paired dark brown blotches connected by a narrow, less distinct cross-bar. Flank with smaller dark spots and light yellow markings. Tail suffused with orange, with 10 incomplete bands. Dorsum of forelimbs with few light and dark blotches, hindlimbs with brown bands and two strong dark streaks on the posterior of femur, digits with alternating dark and light bands, tail tip black. Ventral surfaces dull-white, mottled with brown under limbs especially prominent under forelimbs, throat with a pair of light grey longitudinal stripes on each side, no dark markings on belly, underside of tail lined by a fine dark border. Pupil black, iris silver with an orange streak toward the posterior of the pupil.
|Etymology||The specific epithet is a toponym for the Rishi Valley, the type and only known locality for the new species.|
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