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Cyrtodactylus medioclivus OLIVER, RICHARDS & SISTROM, 2012

IUCN Red List - Cyrtodactylus medioclivus - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymCyrtodactylus medioclivus OLIVER, RICHARDS & SISTROM 2012 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Southern Highlands Province)

Type locality: ‘Tualapa Camp’, 3 km N Wanakipa Village (05°10’ 12.11", 142°17’ 54.56"), 1115 m elevation, Upper Strickland Valley, Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea  
TypesHolotype: SAMA R66091 (Field number SJR 10607), male, collected by S. Richards on 15 July 2008, tissue stored in alcohol at the South Australian Museum. Paratype. AMSR 122411 brought in by local collectors at Bobole (06°12’ S 142°46’ E), 1080 m a. s. l., Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, preserved by S. Donnellan and K. Aplin, October 1985, frozen liver tissue stored at the South Australian Museum. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and comparisons. Distinguished from all other Melanesian and Wallacean Cyrtodactylus by the following unique combination of character states: moderately large size (SVL up to 103.4mm); moderately wide head (HW ⁄ SVL 0.20); medial row of mostly single transversely enlarged subcaudal scales approximately a third to a half width of tail; continuous series of enlarged precloacal and femoral scales extending full length of femur; adult males with open chevron of 12–13 precloacal pores, separated by one to three scales from long series of 19–24 femoral pores extending to the knee; caudal tubercles extending <30 mm from base of cloaca and on dorsal surface only; dorsal cephalic tubercles sparse in the mid-dorsal region posterior to orbitals; relatively low number (20) of dorsal tubercle rows at mid-point of body; dorsal coloration con- sisting of five or six indistinct jagged dark-brown bands on a light grey-brown background; and iris bronze in life.

Cyrtodactylus medioclivus can be easily distinguished from most other species of Melanesian Cyrtodactylus by the com- bination of moderately large size (adult male SVL up to at least 103 mm), moderately but not greatly widened sub- caudal scales (generally less than half width of tail) and the presence of enlarged precloacal and femoral scales. Of the remaining taxa, Cytodactylus aaroni and C. mimikanus differ in their lower total number of pores (<36 vs. 53–57), more widely separated femoral and precloacal pore series (more than three intervening scales); and dorsal pattern consist- ing of six or seven wide brown bands separated by very thin, strongly defined light-buff bands with a dark-brown borders (vs. five or six very indistinct, wide and dark-grey bands on a greyish-brown background) (Günther & Rösler 2003); and Cytodactylus arcanus differs in having a narrower head (HW⁄SVL=0.18 vs. 0.19–0.20); a simpler dorsal pattern consisting of thin (<4 mm) and relatively even edged dark-brown bands [vs. wide (>4 mm) and jagged dark-brown bands], and probably smaller adult size (known maximum 92 mm vs. 103 mm).
Cyrtodactylus medioclivus is most similar to its sister taxon Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus and overlaps with this species in most aspects of size, caudal scalation, tuberculation, pore arrangement and colour pattern frequently used to diagnose Melanesian Cyrtodactylus: based on available data, the fol- lowing differences diagnose C. medioclivus from C. boreocli- vus; eye colour bronze (versus yellowish-white); on average slightly higher number of dorsal tubercles in transverse ser- ies (20 vs. 16–19); tendency for dark dorsal bands to lack lighter-grey posterior borders (versus present); and the presence of three enlarged postcloacal tubercles (vs. 1–2). Additional material is required to confirm the utility of the above characters and to search for additional significant dif- ferences between these two genetically divergent sister taxa. 
EtymologyLatin ‘medio’ (middle, half) and ‘clivus’ (slopes), in reference to known localities at moderate altitudes at the approximate mid-point of New Guinea, and alluding to this species’ relationship with Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus from the North Papuan Ranges (Oliver et al. 2011). 
  • Grismer, L. L., Wood, P. L., Poyarkov, N. A., Le, M. D., Kraus, F., Agarwal, I., ... & Grismer, J. L. 2021. Phylogenetic partitioning of the third-largest vertebrate genus in the world, Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Reptilia; Squamata; Gekkonidae) and its relevance to taxonomy and conservation. Vertebrate Zoology 71: 101–154 - get paper here
  • Oliver, Paul M.; Stephen J. Richards, Mark Sistrom 2012. Phylogeny and systematics of Melanesia’s most diverse gecko lineage (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae, Squamata). Zoologica Scripta 41: 437–454 - get paper here
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