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Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis AGARWAL, 2016

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Rishi Valley Geckoella 
SynonymCyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis AGARWAL 2016
Geckoella collegalensis — GANESH & ASOKAN 2010 (not of BEDDOME) 
DistributionIndia (Andhra Pradesh), elevation above 1000 m

Type locality: Horsley Hills, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India  
TypesHolotype: NCBS AQ742, adult female. Collected by Aparna Lajmi, Aniruddha Datta-Roy, and V. Deepak, 14 March 2014. Paratypes. NCBS AQ744, adult male, same collection data as holotype; NCBS AQ743, adult male; ESV 103, BNHS 2326, adult females; same collection data as holotype except collected by Ishan Agarwal, 23 June 2013; ESV 104 juvenile, same collection data as holotype, except collected by Shreekant Deodhar, Aniruddha Datta-Roy, and Avinash Dawari, 25 July 2010. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all Cyrtodactylus (including other Geckoella) by its homogenous granular dorsal scalation, and the absence of femoral or precloacal pores, no enlarged femoral or precloacal scales, and no precloacal groove. The banded dorsal pattern of the new species (two dark dorsal bands covering more than 2/3 of dorsum) differentiates it from the spotted forms C. collegalensis and C. srilekhae sp. nov. (three rows of dorsal spots) and C. varadgirii (4–6 pairs of dorsal spots), as well as C. yakhuna (1–2 rows of spots/bands, equal to or narrower than interspaces). The new species is most similar to Cyrtodactylus speciosus in colour pattern, both species with two dark bands between the limbs. Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis sp. nov. can be diagnosed from C. speciosus in several aspects of colour pattern: limbs darker than light interspaces on back, often as dark as darker markings (vs. limbs lighter than dark dorsal markings, usually as light as lighter interspaces); anterior and posterior black border of dark dorsal markings continuous, occasionally wavy, never notched (vs. black border of dark markings notched or broken up in at least one band); lighter interspaces sometimes enclosed by dark markings on dorsum (vs. lighter interspaces usually opening onto flanks); anterior and posterior margins of dark collar approximately parallel when viewed dorsally, portions of margin occasionally wavy, contiguous with postocular streak, no pronounced notch above ear opening (vs. dark collar V shaped or at least with V shaped anterior margin; usually contiguous with postocular streak, but with a notch on either side above ear opening; Fig. 2). Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis sp. nov. also has relatively longer forelimbs than C. speciosus (FL/SVL 0.169 ± 0.006 vs. 0.153 ± 0.007; Fig. 3), the nostril relatively closer to the snout tip (NE/SE 0.723 ± 0.012 vs. 0.703 ± 0.025; Fig. 3), and the eye relatively further from the ear (EE/SE 0.804 ± 0.055 vs. 0.738 ± 0.039). 
CommentSympatry: Hemidactylus frenatus, H. giganteus, H. leschenaultii, H. parvimaculatus, H. reticulatus, H. treutleri, H. triedrus. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an adjective that refers to the Rishi Valley, the north-western margin of which is formed by the mountain range that includes the type locality. The name also honours Rishi Valley School (< 6 km from the type locality), where the author studied and spent many years exploring the outdoors and furthering my interests in reptiles and natural history. 
  • Agarwal, I. & Bauer, A.M. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Cyrtodactylus rishivalleyensis (Rishi Valley Geckoella). Herpetological Review 48 (4): 811 - get paper here
  • AGARWAL, ISHAN 2016. Two new species of ground-dwelling Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) from the Mysore Plateau, south India. Zootaxa 4193 (2): 228-244 - get paper here
  • Ganesh S. R., Asokan J. R. 2010. Catalogue of Indian herpetological specimens in the collection of the Government Museum Chennai, India. Hamadryad 35 (1): 46 – 63
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