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Cnemaspis uttaraghati KHANDEKAR, THACKERAY, & AGARWAL, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesIndia (Maharashtra) 
SynonymCnemaspis uttaraghati KHANDEKAR, THACKERAY, & AGARWAL 2021
 
DistributionIndia (Maharashtra)

Type locality: Kedareshwar caves on Harishchandragad mountain in Kalsubai-Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary, (19.392° N, 73.779° E; ca. 1200 m asl), Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra state, India.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: NRC-AA-1122 (AK 1233), adult male.
Paratypes: BNHS 2799 (AK 1234), adult male; NRC-AA-1123 (AK 1235), BNHS 2800 (AK 1236), adult females. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small-sized Cnemaspis, snout to vent length less than 39 mm (n=4). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous; weakly keeled, granular scales intermixed with large, weakly keeled, regularly arranged tubercles, enlarged tubercles gradually increasing in size towards flank, lowest row largest, spine-like; eight or nine rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body, 7–10 paravertebral tubercles between forelimb and hindlimb insertions; ventral scales smooth, sub-imbricate, sub-equal from chest to vent, 27–32 scales across belly at mid-body, 124–132 longitudinal scales from mental to cloaca; subdigital scansors smooth, mostly entire, unnotched; 10–12 lamellae under digit I of manus and 10 or 11 lamellae under digit I of pes, 17 or 18 lamellae under digit IV of manus and 19–22 lamellae under digit IV of pes; males with four femoral pores on each thigh separated medially by 22–24 poreless scales (n=2); dorsal pholidosis of tail with strongly keeled, granular scales, 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 forming whorls, six tubercles in first eight whorls; median row of subcauda ls smooth, slightly enlarged, regularly arranged with condition of two slightly larger scales alternating with a large divided scale. Dorsal colouration greenish-brown with six dark vertebral blotches running from the occiput to the sacrum, speckled with fine saffron granules, limbs with light yellow bands (KHANDEKAR et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Cnemaspis uttaraghati can be distinguished from all other Indian congeners on the basis of the following differing or non-overlapping characters: small-sized Cnemaspis SVL 36–39 mm (versus medium-sized Cnemaspis SVL 40–50 mm in C. anandani Murthy, Anandan, Sengupta & Deepak, C. bangara Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal & Khandekar, C. boiei (Gray), C. chengodumalaensis Cyriac, Palot, Deuti & Umesh, C. jerdonii (Theobald), C. kolhapurensis Giri, Bauer & Gaikwad, C. heteropholis Bauer, C. kottiyoorensis Cyriac & Umesh, C. nairi Inger, Marx & Koshy, C. nilagirica Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. graniticola Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal & Khandekar, C. yelagiriensis Agarwal, Thackeray, Pal & Khandekar, C. wynadensis (Beddome), C. ornata (Beddome), and C. thackerayi Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal); large-sized Cnemaspis SVL >50 mm in C. anamudiensis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, & Palot, C. beddomei (Theobald), C. maculicollis Cyriac, Johny, Umesh, & Palot, C. magnifica Khandekar, Thackeray, Pal & Agarwal, C. sisparensis (Theobald), C. zacharyi Cyriac, Palot, Deuti & Umesh); spine-like tubercles present on flanks (versus spine-like tubercles absent on flanks in C. aaronbaueri Sayyed, Grismer, Campbell & Dileepkumar, C. adii Srinivasulu, Kumar & Srinivasulu, C. agarwali Khandekar, C. ajijae, C. amba, C. anamudiensis, C. australis Manamendra-Arachchi, Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, C. bangara, C. beddomei, C. boiei, C. chengodumalaensis, C. girii, C. graniticola, C. heteropholis, C. indica (Gray), C. kolhapurensis, C. kottiyoorensis, C. limayei, C. maculicollis, C. magnifica, C. mahabali, C. nairi, C. ornata, C. palakkadensis Sayyed, Cyriac & Dileepkumar, C. ranganaensis Sayyed & Sulakhe, C. shevaroyensis Khandekar, Gaitonde & Agarwal, C. sisparensis, C. thackerayi, C. wynadensis, and C. yelagiriensis, C. zacharyi); scales on dorsal aspect of trunk heterogeneous (versus scales on dorsal aspect of trunk homogeneous in C. adii, C. assamensis Das & Sengupta, C. boiei, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kolhapurensis, C. littoralis, C. nilagirica, C. palakkadensis, C. sisparensis, C. wynadensis, and C. zacharyi); caudal tubercles enlarged, strongly keeled, distinctly pointed, forming whorls (versus scales on dorsal aspect of tail smooth, without whorls of enlarged tubercles in C. anamudiensis, C. beddomei, C. boiei, C. chengodumalaensis, C. heteropholis, C. indica, C. kolhapurensis, C. kottiyoorensis, C. maculicollis, C. magnifica, C. sisparensis, C. wynadensis, C. zacharyi); sub-caudal scales smooth, median row slightly enlarged, scales in median row regularly arranged with condition of two slightly larger scale alternating with a large divided scale (versus sub-caudal scales smooth, median row not enlarged in, C. amba, C. ajijae, C. australis, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. limayei and C. koynaensis; subcaudal scales smooth, median row distinctly enlarged in C. aaronbaueri, C. agarwali, C. anandani, C. bangara, C. boiei, C. chengodumalaensis, C. gracilis (Beddome), C. graniticola, C. heteropholis, C. indica, C. jerdonii, C. kolhapurensis, C. magnifica, C. nairi, C. nilagirica, C. ornata, C. shevaroyensis, C. sisparensis, C. thackerayi, C. wynadensis, C. yelagiriensis, C. zacharyi; median row of sub-caudal scales slightly enlarged, without slightly larger scale alternating with a large divided scale in C. amboliensis, C. avasabinae Agarwal, Bauer & Khandekar, C. goaensis, C. mahabali, C. monticola, C. mysoriensis (Jerdon), C. otai Das & Bauer, C. rishivalleyensis Agarwal, Thackeray & Khandekar, C. stellapulvis Khandekar, Thackeray & Agarwal and C. yercaudensis Das & Bauer); males with four femoral pores on each thigh, separated medially by 22–24 poreless scales (versus femoral pores absent, only precloacal pores present in C. aaronbaueri, C. anamudiensis, C. beddomei, C. maculicollis, C. nairi, and C. ornata; males with both femoral and precloacal pores present in C. adii, C. agarwali, C. amboliensis, C. australis, C. avasabinae, C. bangara, C. goaensis, C. gracilis, C. graniticola, C. mysoriensis, C. otai, C. ranganaensis, C. rishivalleyensis, C. shevaroyensis, C. stellapulvis, C. thackerayi, C. yelagiriensis, and C. yercaudensis; both femoral and precloacal pores absent in C. assamensis and C. boiei; a continuous series of 26–28 precloacal-femoral pores in C. kolhapurensis). Cnemaspis uttaraghati closely resembles members of girii clade (C. ajijae, C. amba, C. flaviventralis, C. girii, C. koynaensis, C. limayei, C. mahabali). However, it can be further distinguished from all by having 7–10 paravertebral tubercles between forelimb and hindlimb insertions (versus 17–22 paravertebral tubercles between forelimb and hindlimb insertions in C. ajijae and C. amba; 18 in C. flaviventralis, 20–22 in C. girii, 18–25 in C. koynaensis and 13–15 in C. limayei); eight or nine rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body (versus 11–14 rows of dorsal tubercles at mid-body in C. amba, 12 or 13 in C. flaviventralis, 12–14 in C. girii, and 10–14 in C. koynaensis); 27–32 ventral scales across belly at mid-body (versus 22–24 ventral scales across belly at mid-body in C. amba, 20–26 in C. koynaensis, and 26 in C. mahabali); 124–132 longitudinal ventral scales from mental to cloaca (versus 141–149 longitudinal ventral scales from mental to cloaca in C. amba, and 133–139 in C. girii); 17 or 18 lamellae under digit IV of manus (versus 15 or 16 lamellae under digit IV of manus in C. ajijae, C. flaviventralis and C. mahabali, 15 in C. limayei); SVL up to 36–39 mm (versus maximum SVL < 34 mm in C. amba, C. girii, C. koynaensis, C. limayei, C. mahabali) (KHANDEKAR et al. 2021).

Color in life: (Figure 5A) Dorsal ground colour of head, body, limbs, and tail light brown; head with numerous dark brown blotches, brille dirty yellow. Dark brown preorbital streak from orbit forming an indistinct preorbital streak on snout; yellow and dark grey alternating bands on upper labials; two dark brown postorbital streaks, upper one small, half the length of lower, which continues until ear-opening. Dorsum with six dark vertebral blotches, each followed by an indistinct light grey blotch speckled with scattered saffron granules; vertebral blotches flanked by same number of blotches forming indistinct wavy cross-bars, minutely speckled with dirty saffron between forelimb and hind insertions; spine-like tubercles dirty yellow. Dorsum of limbs with light yellow bands; digits with alternating dark and dirty yellow markings; dorsum of original portion of tail with alternating dark brown and ashy bands, dark brown bands speckled with saffron, tail tip orangish (Figure 5A, C). Gular, pectoral, abdominal region, and underside of limbs and tail off white with no dark markings; postcloacal spur and conical tubercles in lateral and ventrolateral rows on tail close to the cloacal opening light yellow. Pupil black, iris golden (KHANDEKAR et al. 2021). 
CommentSimilar species: girii clade, See comparison. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is used as a noun in apposition and is derived from the Sanskrit ‘uttara’ for north and ‘ghat’ for mountains, as this mountain locality represents the currently known northern limit of Cnemaspis distribution in the Western Ghats. 
References
  • KHANDEKAR, AKSHAY; TEJAS THACKERAY, ISHAN AGARWAL 2021. A novel small-bodied rupicolous Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the northern Western Ghats, Maharashtra, India, with comments on the status of C. indraneildasii, Bauer 2000. Zootaxa 4969: 331–350 - get paper here
 
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