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Dixonius mekongensis PAUWELS, PANITVONG, KUNYA & SUMONTHA, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesThai: จิ้งจกดินแม่โขง (Djing-djok din Mekong
E: Mekong leaf-toed gecko
F: Dixonius du Mékong
G: Mekong Blattfingergecko 
SynonymDixonius mekongensis PAUWELS, PANITVONG, KUNYA & SUMONTHA 2021


 
DistributionE Thailand (Ubon Ratchathani Province: Pha Taem National Park and surroundings)

Type locality: sandstone platform (ca. 15°27’19.1”N, 105°34’12.0”E), Na Pho Klang Sub-district, Khong Chiam District, Ubon Ratchathani Province, eastern Thailand.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: AUP 02007 (field no. MS 561), adult male caught by T. Kaewmanee on 2 July 2009.
Paratypes: PSUZC-R 736 (field no. MS 624), adult male, and AUP 02008 (field no. MS 562), adult female. Same locality, collecting date and collector as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Dixonius mekongensis can be distinguished from all other congeneric species by the combination of its maximal known SVL of 51.2 mm; 16 longitudinal rows of dorsal tubercles; 32 to 34 paravertebral scales; 22 to 24 longitudinal rows of ventrals across the abdomen; seven precloacal pores in males, no pores in females; a marked canthal stripe; and a uniform or spotted dorsal pattern (Pauwels et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Dixonius mekongensis is distinguished from the Vietnamese D. aaronbaueri Ngo & Ziegler, 2009 based on its sensibly larger SVL (51.2 vs. 38.6 mm), higher ventral number (22–24 vs. 18 or 19), much higher dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 11), much lower paravertebral scale number (32–34 vs. 45–50), much lower number of paravertebral scales between limb insertions (20–24 vs. 29–32), and its higher precloacal pore number (7 vs. 5). It differs from the southern Thai Dixonius dulayaphitakorum Sumontha & Pauwels, 2020 by its much lower dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 22), its lower interciliary scale number (25–27 vs. 30–33), its marked (vs. unmarked) canthal stripe, and a very distinct dorsal pattern with smaller dorsal spots. It can be separated from the western Thai Dixonius hangseesom Bauer, Sumontha, Grossmann, Pauwels & Vogel, 2004 by its larger SVL (51.2 vs. 42.1 mm), higher dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 12–14), lower interorbital scale number (8 or 9 vs. 10) and a distinct dorsal pattern (uniform/spotted vs. banded/blotched). It differs from the peninsular Thai Dixonius kaweesaki Sumontha, Chomngam, Phanamphon, Pawangkhanant, Viriyapanon, Thanaprayotsak & Pauwels, 2017 by its larger SVL (51.2 vs. 41.6 mm), shorter original tail in females (TailL/SVL ratio 1.17 vs. 1.36–1.55), higher dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 12 or 13), higher interorbital scale number (8 or 9 vs. 6 or 7), lower supralabial number (7–9 vs. 10 or 11), lower precloacal pore number (7 vs. 9–11) and by its dorsal pattern (spotted or uniform vs. striped). It differs from the Laotian Dixonius lao Nguyen, Sitthivong, Ngo, Luu, Nguyen, Le & Ziegler, 2020 by its much lower dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 20–23), much lower paravertebral number (32–34 vs. 40–43), lower precloacal pore number (7 vs. 8), and by its marked (vs. unmarked) canthal stripe. It can be separated from Dixonius melanostictus Taylor, 1962 by its much higher dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 10 or 11), lower precloacal pore number (7 vs. 9), and by its dorsal pattern (uniform/spotted vs. striped). It is distinguished from the Vietnamese Dixonius minhlei Ziegler, Botov, Nguyen, Bauer, Brennan, Ngo & Nguyen, 2016 by its higher dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 14 or 15), lower paravertebral scale number (32–34 vs. 38–44), and smaller black dorsal spots. It differs from the peninsular Thai Dixonius pawangkhananti Pauwels, Chomngam, Larsen & Sumontha, 2020 by its larger SVL (51.2 vs. 42.6 mm), shorter original tail in females (TailL/SVL ratio 1.17 vs. 1.33), much higher ventral number (22–24 vs. 16), higher interorbital scale number (8 or 9 vs. 7), higher precloacal pore number (7 vs. 6), its continuous series of pores in males (vs. a series medially interrupted by a poreless scale), and by its dorsal pattern (uniform/spotted vs. banded/blotched). It differs from Dixonius siamensis by its smaller SVL (51.2 vs. 57.0 mm), its higher dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 10–14) and its marked (vs. unmarked) canthal stripe. Dixonius mekongensis can be distinguished from the Laotian D. somchanhae Nguyen, Luu, Sitthivong, Ngo, Nguyen, Le & Ziegler by its lower dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 19–21), lower paravertebral scale number (32–34 vs. 35–40), and higher precloacal pore number (7 vs. 5 or 6). It can be separated from the Vietnamese Dixonius taoi Botov, Phung, Nguyen, Bauer, Brennan & Ziegler, 2015 by its larger SVL (51.2 vs. 43.9 mm), much higher dorsal tubercle row number (16 vs. 11 or 12), higher precloacal pore number (7 vs. 5 or 6), and by its dorsal pattern (uniform/spotted vs. blotched). From Dixonius vietnamensis Das, 2004, it differs by its larger SVL (51.2 vs. 42.4 mm), higher ventral number (22–24 vs. 15–21), and its lower paravertebral number (32–34 vs. 36) (Pauwels et al. 2021).

Color in life (holotype): Dorsal surface of head gray with numerous small and irregular black blotches. On each side of the head a black canthal stripe runs from the nostril through the eye and extends to the ear; it is bordered below and above by a light gray thin area. After an interruption at the level of the tympanum, the black stripe continues till above the shoulder. On the snout, at about mid-length between the eyes and the tip of the snout, a transversal bars links the left and right canthal stripes. The supralabials and infralabials are whitish. Similarly to the dorsal surface of the head, the neck, the dorsum and the dorsal surface of the original portion of the tail show a gray background color with numerous, irregularly disposed, black spots. Flanks lighter than the dorsum and less punctuated. Dorsal surfaces of members gray with small black spots. Ventral surfaces of head, body, members and tail whitish. In preservative the colors strongly fade and become less contrasted (Pauwels et al. 2021).
 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet refers to the Mekong River and the Greater Mekong Subregion. A cliff bordering the type-locality offers a spectacular view of this majestic river. 
References
  • PAUWELS, O. S., CHOMNGAM, N., LARSEN, H., & SUMONTHA, M. 2020. A new limestone-dwelling leaf-toed gecko (Gekkonidae: Dixonius) from coastal hills in Cha-am, peninsular Thailand. Zootaxa 4845 (1): 97-108 - get paper here
  • PAUWELS, OLIVIER S. G.; NONN PANITVONG, KIRATI KUNYA, MONTRI SUMONTHA 2021. A new sandstone-dwelling leaf-toed gecko (Gekkonidae: Dixonius mekongensis) from the Thai-Lao border. Zootaxa 4969: 526–538 - get paper here
  • SUMONTHA, MONTRI; NIRUT CHOMNGAM, EAKARIT PHANAMPHON, PARINYA PAWANGKHANANT, CHUTINTON VIRIYAPANON, WANLADA THANAPRAYOTSAK & OLIVIER S. G. PAUWELS 2017. A new limestone-dwelling leaf-toed gecko (Gekkonidae: Dixonius) from Khao Sam Roi Yot massif, peninsular Thailand. Zootaxa 4247 (5): 556–568 - get paper here
  • SUMONTHA, MONTRI; OLIVIER S. G. PAUWELS 2020. A new leaf-toed gecko (Gekkonidae: Dixonius) from the city of Ranong, southwestern Thailand. Zootaxa 4852 (2): 166–176 - get paper here
 
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