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Cyrtodactylus sommerladi LUU, BONKOWSKI, NGUYEN, LE, SCHNEIDER, NGO & ZIEGLER, 2016

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Sommerlad’s Bent-toed Gecko
Laotian: Ki Chiem Sommerlad 
SynonymCyrtodactylus sommerladi LUU, BONKOWSKI, NGUYEN, LE, SCHNEIDER, NGO & ZIEGLER 2016 
DistributionC Laos

Type locality: karst forest, Hang Toi region, Noong Ma Village (17°17.795’N, 106°08.738’E, elevation 572 m a.s.l.) within Hin Nam No NPA, Khammouane Province, central Laos.  
TypesHolotype: VNUF R.2013.22 adult male, collected on 05 May 2013 by V. Q. Luu and N. V. Ha. Paratypes. NUOL R-2013.23, IEBR A.2015.37, ZFMK 97196, VNUF R.2013.105, VNUF R.2014.87, NUOL R-2013.14, IEBR A.2015.39, NUOL R-2013.21, IEBR A.2015.38, VNUF R.2013.104, ZFMK 97197, VNUF R.2014.89, VNUF R.2013.67 the same locality as the holotype. IEBR A.2015.40 adult female, in karst forest, Cha Lou Village (17°18.880’N, 105°57.103’E, elevation 572 m a.s.l.) within Hin Nam No NPA, Khammouane Province, central Laos, collected on 25 May 2013. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Cyrtodactylus sommerladi sp. nov. is characterized by: Adult SVL 72.3 ± 3.8 mm (mean ± SD); dorsal head greyish brown without dark blotches; nuchal loop present, narrow, not enlarged posteriorly; five or six dark transverse bands between limbs; dorsal surface with homogenous, tubercle-like scales; ventral scales at midbody 31–39; ventrolateral skin folds present; ventral scale rows from mental to cloacal slit 168–192; scale rows at midbody 76–93; precloacal-femoral pores 20–26 in males, 17–21 in females; enlarged femoral and precloacal scales present; postcloacal tubercles 4–6; subcaudal scales slightly enlarged.

Variation. The nuchal loop in the adult female paratype (ZFMK 97197) is interrupted in the middle. Other paratypes have some indistinct spot markings on dorsal head and somewhat irregular and breaking transverse bands.

Sexual dimorphism. The females differ from the males by having fewer precloacal-femoral pores (17–21 versus 20–26 in the males) and females lack hemipenial swellings at the tail base (see Table 9 in Luu et al. 2016).

Comparisons. (with new species from Laos and neighbouring countries in the mainland Indochina region, including Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand based on data obtained from the literature (compiled and cited in Luu et al. 2016, see there for figure and table references) and based on the examination of specimens and photographs (see Appendix and Table 3). Cyrtodactylus sommerladi sp. nov. was well separated by the cluster and correspondence analyses from C. roesleri (Figs. 2–3). Molecular phylogenetic analyses also revealed the close relationships between these species (see Fig. 1).
The new species is most similar to C. roesleri from Vietnam in body size, and dorsal pattern. However, the new species can be distinguished from the latter by its larger size (maximal SVL 80.3 mm versus 73.5 mm), having more dark body bands: 5 or 6 (n=15) versus 4–5 (n=19), dorsal surface of the new species shows homogenous scales, all appear tubercle-like, with unclear dorsal tubercles (0–5) (versus dorsal tubercles being arranged in 13–19 rows) (Fig. 11), dorsal surface of tail without tubercles (versus present) (see Fig. 12A,B) and the shape of the rostral suture in the new species is just straight vertical versus Y-shaped in C. roesleri. In addition, Cyrtodactylus sommerladi sp. nov. can be distinguished from C. roesleri by the different head shape, the head of the new species is wider and flatter (Fig. 5, Luu et al. 2016). 
CommentNatural history. Specimens were collected at night from 19:20 to 21:43h, mainly on karst walls, ca. 1–4.5 m above the ground, near cave entrances in the limestone forest, at elevations between 269 and 614 m a.s.l. Two female specimens IEBR A.2015.38 and ZFMK 97197 were found on tree trunks, about 1–2 m from the forest floor. The surrounding habitat was karst forest dominated by species of Ebenaceae, Dracaenaceae, Arecaeae, Poaceae, Meliaceae, and Moraceae. The relative humidity was between 74% and 90%, and temperatures ranged from 22.7 to 29.9°C (see Table 10). Female specimens contained eggs in May, by contrast, no records of gravid females or hatchlings were made in March. Thus, the breeding season seems to start only in April or May. The majority of the caves, karst walls, and karst forests where Cyrtodactylus sommerladi sp. nov. have been explored had dry surfaces, without flowing streams inside (e.g., Ellis & Pauwels 2012). 
EtymologyNamed after Ralf Sommerlad, a friend of the authors, and late Regional vice chairman of the IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) for Europe, who passed away on 11 June 2015, to honor his lifework and strong commitment for reptile conservation 
  • Ellis, M. & Pauwels, O.S.G. 2012. The bent-toed geckos (Cyrtodactylus) of the caves and karst of Thailand. Cave and Karst Science, 39 (1): 16–22
  • 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
  • Kwet, Axel 2017. Neue Arten: Liste der im Jahr 2016 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Terraria-Elaphe 2017 (3): 54-70 - get paper here
  • LUU, VINH QUANG; MICHAEL BONKOWSKI, Truong QUang Nguyen, MINH DUC LE, NICOLE SCHNEIDER, HANH THI NGO, THOMAS ZIEGLER 2016. Evolution in karst massifs: Cryptic diversity among bent-toed geckos along the Truong Son Range with descriptions of three new species and one new country record from Laos. Zootaxa 4107 (2): 101–140 - get paper here
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