Gonatodes lichenosus ROJAS-RUNJAIC, INFANTE-RIVERO, CABELLO & VELOZO, 2010
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|Higher Taxa||Sphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Perijá Lichen-Gecko|
S: Tuqueque Liquenoso de Perija
|Synonym||Gonatodes lichenosus ROJAS-RUNJAIC, INFANTE-RIVERO, CABELLO & VELOZO 2010|
Type locality: Manastara, Yukpa indigenous community, Río Negro basin, Parque Nacional Sierra de Perijá, Municipio Machiques de Perijá, Sierra de Perijá, Estado Zulia, Venezuela (10°02’52.0”N, 72°48’42.8”W; elevation 1132 m asl),
|Reproduction||oviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022)|
|Types||Holotype: MHNLS 19116, adult male (field number SP191), collected on 18 March 2009, by Fernando J. M. Rojas-Runjaic, Pedro Cabello, and Pablo Velozo.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. The new species can be readily distinguished from all congeners by the combination of the following characters: (1) body size moderate, with males from 39.05 to 41.4 mm, and females from 40.65 to 44.45 mm; (2) supraciliary spine absent; (3) dorsolateral light spots that coincide with clusters of enlarged, conical to spinelike scales; (4) 100 to 106 scales around midbody; (5) 42 to 45 ventral scales counted in a longitudinal row; (6) males with escutcheon area on belly and undersurface of thighs; (7) two lateral rows of scales on distal parts of fingers and toes; (8) ventral surface of tail with a pattern of scales consisting of two to four basal series of single midventral scales in contact posterolaterally on each side with one scale followed by a divided midventral scale in contact with two scales per side (1’2”), and continuing distally with repetitive series of single midventral scale in contact posterolaterally with one scale per side and single midventral in contact with two scales per side (1’1”); (9) males and females with cryptic coloration pattern dorsally, and yellow to ocher ventrally, without sexual dichromatism.|
Gonatodes lichenosus, together with G. alexandermendesi Cole & Kok from Guyana and southeastern Venezuela (Cole & Kok 2006, Schargel et al. 2010), G. hasemani Griffin from south of the Amazonas River (Avila-Pires 1995), and G. superciliaris Barrio-Amorós & Brewer-Carías from Sima Mayor of Sarisariñama tepui, southern Venezuela (Barrio-Amorós & Brewer-Carías 2008), are the only species of Gonatodes in which clusters of enlarged conical to spinelike scales along the body are present (data from Avila-Pires 1995, Barrio-Amorós & Brewer-Carías 2008, Cole & Kok 2006, Rivero-Blanco 1979). However, Gonatodes lichenosus differs from these species (characters in parenthesis) in not having an elongate supraciliary spine (supraciliary spine present), having a subcaudal pattern 1’2” basally, that changes to 1’1” distally (medial subcaudal scales not distinctly differentiated from adjacent scales in G. hasemani; and, 1’1” pattern in G. alexandermendesi and G. superciliaris), and not having sexual dichromatism (sexual dichromatism present, with males showing bright and conspicuous colors, and females showing cryptic color patterns).
Only one other species of Gonatodes, from La Azulita (Estado Mérida, Venezuela) and until now undescribed (Rivero-Blanco 1979) exhibits poorly defined sexual dichromatism; nevertheless there are some some evident color differences between sexes in this species, like the “golden appearance on the body” and the “flat gray gular region” in males. Gonatodes lichenosus differs from this undescribed species (characters in parenthesis) in not having any sexually dichromatic character (sexual dichromatism poorly defined but present as above mentioned), by the subcaudal pattern (subcaudal pattern 1’1’1”), and in having only two lateral rows of scales on distal the parts of fingers and toes (three lateral rows of scales on fingers and toes).
Three other species of Gonatodes are known from Sierra de Perijá: G. albogularis, G. vittatus and G. petersi; the former two species inhabit the foothills up to 400 m, whereas the later is widely distributed on the eastern slope of Perijá from 200 to 1200 m (Rojas-Runjaic & Infante 2009) and is likely sympatric with the new species. These three species, unlike G. lichenosus, have a subcaudal pattern of 1’1’2” (G. albogularis) or 1’1’1” (G. vittatus and G. petersi), and show very marked sexual dichromatism, with males exhibiting a very conspicuous light vertebral stripe (G. vittatus and G. petersi) or a yellow to orange head with a blue blotch on the cheeks (G. albogularis).
|Comment||Behavior: mainly diurnal|
Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017).
|Etymology||The specific epithet lichenosus is a Latin adjective (masculine) derived from “lichen” (Latin name for composite organisms made up from symbiotic association of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner algae or cyanobacteria) + -osus (an adjectival suffix meaning “full of”). The name was given in allusion to the aspect of the dorsal color pattern (particularly on the head) of this species that resembles the complex color designs of lichens covering the bark of trees and rock surfaces in environments with high humidity.|
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