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Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai PURKAYASTHA, LALREMSANGA, BOHRA, BIAKZUALA, DECEMSON, MUANSANGA, VABEIRYUREILAI & RATHEE, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymCyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai PURKAYASTHA, LALREMSANGA, BOHRA, BIAKZUALA, DECEMSON, MUANSANGA, VABEIRYUREILAI & RATHEE 2021 
DistributionIndia (Mizoram)

Type locality: Sailam Community Reserved Forest in the Aizawl District of the state of Mizoram, India.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MZMU1989, Adult male, from Sailam Community Reserved Forest (23.342758°N, 92.800058°E; elevation 1372 m asl.), outskirts of Sailam village, Aizawl District, Mizoram state, northeast India, collected on 14 October 2020 by Lal Muansanga, Ht Decemson, Gospel Zothanmawia Hmar, and Fanai Malsawmdawngliana.
Paratypes: Two adult males (MZMU1987; Figs. 5b, 7a; MZMU1990), three adult females (MZMU1985; MZMU1986; MZMU1988), same collection details as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. is a moderate-sized gecko (adult SVL 54.9–72.5mm); 9–11 supralabials; 7–11 infralabials; dorsal tubercles are rounded, conical to weakly keeled and are in 22–26 longitudinal rows; 35–41 paravertebral tubercles; 37–42 mid-ventral scale rows; 5–7 precloacal pores in males; 15–19 subdigital lamellae under toe IV; no single row of transversely enlarged subcaudal scales; 7–9 pairs of dark brown blotches on the dorsum of the body (Purkayastha et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. is a species of the mountain clade within the south of Brahmaputra clade (see Agarwal et al. 2018). Based on ND2 gene sequence Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. is sister to the above described C. aaronbaueri and C. montanus and differs by an uncorrected p-distance of 0.085–0.121 from C. aaronbaueri and 0.108–0.121 from C. montanus. Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. can be morphologically distinguished from C. aaronbaueri by having a lower TRL/SVL ratio (min 0.43, max 0.49, avg 0.46 versus min 0.5, max 0.56, avg 0.52 in C. aaronbaueri). Except for single specimen (MZMU1990) with seven PcP Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. has the least number of PcP (5) of all the examined specimens (versus 7-8 in C. aaronbaueri). Furthermore, female specimen of Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. have 4-5 pitted scales in precloacal region (versus 6-8 in C. aaronbaueri). Morphologically, Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. can be differentiated from the following species by having a smaller maximum adult size, SVL 72.5, N=6 (versus C. kazirangaensis 80.0 mm, N=3; C. arunachalensis 81.7 mm, N=5; C. ayeyarwadyensis 78.0 mm, N=9; C. khasiensis 81.1 mm, N=7; C martinstolli 82.0 mm, N=18; C. tamaiensis 90.0 mm, N=1; C. cayuensis 79.78 mm, N=18; C. urbanus 74.0 mm, N=7; C. jaintiaensis 96.2 mm, N=3; C. montanus 78.2 mm, N=5); from C. himalayicus by having a larger maximum adult size, SVL 72.5 mm, N=6 (versus 64.5 mm, N=2);Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. has the lowest number of precloacal pores in males, 5–7, N=6 ( versus 10–11 PcP,N=3, in C. kazirangaensis; 10–12 PcP, N=7 in C. khasiensis; 14 PcP, N=2 in C. septentrionalis; 9–12 PcP, N=7 in C. urbanus; 11–12 PcP, N=3, in C. jaintiaensis; 8–10 PcP, N=5 in C. montanus; 7 PcP, N=2, in C. markuscombaii; 10 PcP, N=2, in C. himalayicus; 10–28 PcFP, N=25,in C. ayeyerwadyensis; 26–39 PcFP, N=8, in C. guwahatiensis; 29–37 PcFP, N=11 , in C. tripuraensis and 40 PcFP, N=1, in C. tamaiensis. Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. has a higher MVSR, N=6 (37–42) than C. guwahatiensis, N=8(30–34); C. septentrionalis, N=2 (35–38); C. ayeyarwadyensis, N=25 (32-37); C. montanus, N=5(21-23); C. urbanus, N=7 (30–34) and C. nagalandensis N=2 (34–35). Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. has higher DTR, N=6 (22–26) in comparison to C. tripuraensis, N=11, (19–21); C. tamaiensis, N=1, (21); C. jaintiaensis, N=3, (19–20); C. nagalandensis, N=2 (16–18); C. himalayicus, N=2, (19–21); C. mandalayensis, N=1 (18); C. markuscombaii, N=2 (14–15). Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. differs from C. kazirangaensis, N=3 (11–12) by having a lower number of supralabials, N= 6 (9–11 in Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov.). Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. does not have enlarged plate like scales in subcaudals, N=6 (versus present in C. khasiensis N=7; C. martinstoli, N=18 and C. cayuensis, N= 18). Cyrtodactylus bengkhuaiai sp. nov. has a single row of enlarged scales below PcP bearing scales (versus 3-4 rows of enlarged scales in C. arunachalensis , N=5).

Color in life: Dorsal surface of the head is primarily yellowish brown with dark brown patches forming a reticulation pattern. Dark brown chevron marking on the nape. On the lateral side of the head, a prominent dark brown stripe runs from the snout to the eye passing through below the eye, terminating just above the ear opening. Ventral side of the head off white in colour without any markings. Dorsum yellowish brown with dark brown markings often bordered by white patches. Three dark brown stripes extend from behind the chevron marking of the nape to the axillary region. Dark brown blotches forming a pair runs along the body from just behind axilla to the groin. A total of seven pairs of such blotches are present. Ventral surface of the body off white in colour without any markings. Three fourth of the tail regenerated without any features. The dorsal surface of the original portion of the tail light brown with three pairs of dark brown markings as in the dorsum. Ventral surface of the tail of white in colour with intermittent dark patches limited to anterior portion of the tail. (Purkayastha et al. 2021). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet bengkhuaiai is an eponym honouring Bengkhuaia (~1830–1879), the Mizo chief of Sailam village, one of the most formidable chiefdoms. 
References
  • PURKAYASTHA, J., LALREMSANGA, H. T., BOHRA, S. C., BIAKZUALA, L., DECEMSON, H., MUANSANGA, L., VABEIRYUREILAI,M., Chauhan,S & RATHEE, Y. S. 2021. Four new Bent-toed geckos (Cyrtodactylus Gray: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from northeast India. Zootaxa 4980 (3): 451-489 - get paper here
 
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