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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
DistributionLaos (Vientiane)

Type locality: Khuang Lang Cave National Park, Kasi District, Vientiane Province, Laos (18°09.876 ́N and 104°30.387 ́E, elevation 183 m a.s.l.).  
TypesHolotype: ZMMU R–14399, Adult male. Collected on 22 November 2011 by E.L. Konstantinov and A.B. Gavrilov. Paratypes. One adult female ZIN 28258 and one subadult male ZMMU R–14400. All specimens of the type series have the same collection data as the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The new species of Cyrtodactylus with a maximum SVL of 91 mm, is distinguished from all other congeners by the following combination of morphological characteristics. Dorsal pattern formed by oblong dark irregular butterfly-shaped blotches (Fig. 6a), with light contrast margins and a light mid- dorsal medial stripe running across them. Nuchal band with light edging consists of two separate parts, which contact in the occipital region. Dorsal head surface is light brown with roundish dark spots. The intact (not regenerated) tail with ten dark transverse bands. Roundish weakly keeled tubercles present on the dorsum, limbs, temporal region of the head and absent on the dorsal surface of the head. Ventrals in 36–39 longitudinal rows at midbody. Lateral folds weakly developed. Males with 8–9 precloacal pores in an angular continuous series. No femoral pores and enlarged femoral scales, 2–3 enlarged postcloa- cal spurs. One median row of transversally enlarged subcaudals.

Comparisons with Laotian congeners. The new species Cyrtodactylus spelaeus sp. nov. differs from C. buchardi by having the singe median row of sub- caudals and enlarged femoral scales (both lacking in C. buchardi), fewer dorsal tubercle rows (10 vs. 25), more ventral scales (37–39 vs. 30), and greater num- ber of subdigital lamellae under the fourth finger and toe (19–20 and 22–24 vs. 14 and 12, respectively).
The new species can be distinguished from C. in- terdigitalis by having transversal enlarged subcaudal scales (absent in C. interdigitalis); lesser number of precloacal and femoral pores in the singe row (8–9 vs. 32 in C. interdigitalis); roundish tail versus flat- tened tail; blotched dorsal pattern in the new species versus 4–5 wide brownish jagged transversal bands; no webbing between toes versus developed web on toe basis in C. interdigitalis. Cyrtodactylus spelaeus sp. nov. can be diagnosed from C. jaegeri by the larg- er body size (maximum SVL 91 mm vs. 68.5 mm), a higher number of ventral scales (37–39 vs. 31–32) and dorsal color pattern (dark irregular butterfly- shaped blotches vs. wide transversal dark bands in C. jaegeri). The new species differs from C. jarujini by having lesser number of pores (8–9 vs. 52–54 in C. jarujini), more ventral scales (37–39 vs. 30–38), and greater number of subdigital lamellae (LF4 19–20 and LT4 23–24 vs. 12–17 and 11–18 respectively). The new species is distinguishable from C. lomy- enensis by its larger body size (maximum SVL 91 mm vs. 72.1 mm in C. lomyenensis), a higher number of ventral scales (37–39 vs. 35–36), and dorsal col- oration pattern (butterfly-shaped blotches vs. wide bands in C. lomyenensis). Cyrtodactylus spelaeus sp. nov. differs from C. pageli by the following morpho- logical characters: dorsal color pattern (blotches vs. transversal dark bands in C. pageli), greater num- ber of precloacal pores (8–9 vs. 4–6 in C. pageli), somewhat fewer rows of enlarged dorsal tubercles (10 vs. 9–14 in C. pageli). From C. roesleri the new species is distinguishable by having a lesser number of pores (8–9 vs. 20–28), larger maximum body size (91 mm vs. 75.3 mm) and by dorsal pattern (irregu- lar, dark blotches vs. wide transverse dark bands in C. roesleri). The new species differs from C. teyniei in absence of pores in females versus 13 or 14 pores known for C. teyniei, as well as in dorsal coloration pattern (dark irregular butterfly-shaped blotches vs. dark brown oblong blotches in C. teyniei) and pres- ence of a nuchal loop (vs. nuchal loop absent in C. teyniei).
The new species is distinguishable from C. puhuen- sis by a higher number of precloacal pores (8–9 vs. 5 precloacal pores in C. puhuensis), and by a different dorsal coloration pattern (dark irregular blotches vs. light narrow bands in C. puhuensis). The new species differs from C. vilaphongi in having enlarged median row of subcaudals, higher number of ventral scales (37–39 vs. 34–36) and different dorsal coloration pattern (irregular, dark blotches vs. narrow yellowish white bands in C. vilaphongi).
The new species is morphologically quite similar with C. wayakonei, sharing many diagnostic features, such as the number of precloacal pores 8–9 in the new species versus 6–8 in C. wayakonei, quite similar dor- sal color pattern, lacking of femoral pores and similar state of subcaudal scalation in both species. But the new species is greately different from C. wayakonei in COI gene sequences (p = 16.7%) and can be further diagnosed from this species by having a fewer number of longitudinal rows of enlarged dorsal tubercles (10 vs. 17–19 in C. wayakonei) (Fig. 7c,f), somewhat higher number of subdigital lamellae (LF4 19–20 and LT4 22–24 vs. 17–18 and 19–20 respectively), by presence of distinct nuchal band versus not de- veloped nuchal band in C. wayakonei, and by dorsal surface of head having few dark roundish spots versus reticulated grey-brown patterns in C. wayakonei (Fig. 7a, d) [NAZAROV et al. 2014].

Habitat: limestone karst area covered with lush vegetation. 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe species epithet “spelaeus” is a Latin adjective in masculine, derived from the Latin “spelaeum”, “spelaean”, “living in a cave” referring to the habitat and the type locality of the new species – the Khuang Lang Cave in Kasi District of the Vientiane Province of Laos. 
  • 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
  • LUU, VINH QUANG; THOMAS CALAME, Truong QUang Nguyen, MICHAEL BONKOWSKI & THOMAS ZIEGLER 2015. A new species of Cyrtodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the limestone forest of Khammouane Province, central Laos. Zootaxa 4058 (3): 388–402 - get paper here
  • LUU, VINH QUANG; Truong QUang Nguyen, MINH DUC LE, MICHAEL BONKOWSKI, THOMAS ZIEGLER 2016. A new species of karst-dwelling bent-toed gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Khammouane Province, central Laos. Zootaxa 4079 (1): 087–102 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Nazarov, R.A.; N.A. Poyarkov Jr., N.L. Orlov, N.S. Nguyen, K.D. Milto, A.A. Martynov, E.L. Konstantinov and A.S. Chulisov 2015. A review of genus Cyrtodactylus (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae) in fauna of Laos with description of four new species. Труды Зоологического института РАН 318 (4): 391–423 [Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS 318(4):391-423, 2014]
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