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Goniurosaurus gollum QI, WANG, GRISMER, CHEN, LYU & WANG, 2020

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Higher TaxaEublepharidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Gollum Leopard Gecko
Chinese: “guǎng dōng jiǎn hǔ” (广东睑虎) 
SynonymGoniurosaurus gollum QI, WANG, GRISMER, CHEN, LYU & WANG 2020 
DistributionChina (Guangdong)

Type locality: Huaiji County, Zhaoqing City, Guangdong Province, China  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. SYS r002420, adult male (Figs 2, 3A, 4A, 5), collected by Shuo Qi, Jian Wang and Hong-Hui Chen on 21 May 2020. Exact locality available to only qualified researchers upon request. Paratypes. One adult male (SYS r002421) and one adult female (SYS r002422) share the same collection information as the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Goniurosaurus gollum sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) adult body size moderate, 91.0–93.4 mm SVL; (2) nasal scales surrounding nares seven or eight; (4) internasal single; (5) eyelid fringe scales 59–63; (6) granular scales of upper eyelids similar in size to those on top of head; (7) scales around midbody 121–128; (8) longitudinal dorsal tubercle rows at midbody 16 or 17; (9) paravertebral tubercles between limb insertions 25 or 26; (10) claws sheathed by four scales, dorsal claw scales small, two lateral claw scales short and shell-shaped; (11) axillary pockets deep; (12) presence of 10 or 11 precloacal pores in males and absent in females; (13) dorsal ground color of head, body, and limbs in adults yellowish brown and mottled with irregularly shaped dark-brown blotches; (14) nuchal loop complete, rounded posteriorly; (15) presence of three or four thin dorsal body bands between nuchal loop and caudal constriction, with black anterior and posterior borders, bands usually irregularly shaped; (16) iris orange, gradually darker on both sides.

Comparisons. Goniurosaurus gollum sp. nov. can be distinguished from the other 21 known species in the genus by the following combination of characters: base of claws being sheathed by four scales, two lateral claw scales short and shell-shaped (vs. claws sheathed by four scales, two lateral scales of claw long, curved in G. lichtenfelderi group and G. luii group, and not sheathed in G. kuroiwae group); having 10 or 11 precloacal pores in males (vs. 17–46 in G. lichtenfelderi group, 16–33 in G. luii group and absent in G. kuroiwae group); and lacking an enlarged row of supraorbital tubercles (present in G. lichtenfelderi group and G. luii group).
Goniurosaurus gollum sp. nov. can be distinguished from its closest relatives in the Goniurosaurus yingdeensis group by the following combination of characters: scales around midbody 121–128 (vs. 101–110 in G. varius, 101–116 in G. yingdeensis, 99– 109 in G. zhelongi); longitudinal dorsal tubercle rows at midbody 16 or 17 (vs. 21–24 in G. varius, 20–25 in G. yingdeensis, 23–28 in G. zhelongi); absence of ten precloacal pores in females (vs. present in G. yingdeensis); nuchal loop and body bands immaculate (vs. having black spots in G. varius); iris orange, gradually darker on both sides (vs. iris orange-red in G. varius, iris gray and becoming orange near the pupil in G. yingdeensis, iris gray-white and tinged with orange in G. zhelongi). Additional comparisons of morphological characteristics are provided in Table 4 and Figure 4 in Qi et al. 2020.

Coloration in life. Dorsal ground color of head, neck, body, and limbs yellowish brown, mottled with irregularly shaped dark-brown blotches; nuchal loop complete and rounded posteriorly, anterior ends terminating at posterior margins of ear openings, edged dorsally and ventrally by wide dark-brown margin, yellow. Only two complete body bands can be recognized between nuchal loop and caudal constriction: first band located posterior to axilla; second band inserts onto dorsal surface of thigh, bands on limbs dirty yellow, lacking dark spots, edged by broad dark-brown borders anteriorly and posteriorly, other blotches incomplete, not forming a complete bands. Supralabials and infralabials grayish brown; pupils vertical and appear black; iris orange, gradually darkening on both sides; dorsal surface of limbs light grayish brown with dark brown and dirty yellow tubercles and dark spots and blotches; chin, throat, thorax, and ventral surfaces of body pink, tinged brownish, with dark-brown lateral spots; ventral surface of limbs pink, tinged brownish, without dark-brown spots; digits light grayish brown; ground color of original tail dark brown with nine immaculate white caudal bands completely encircling the tail, and a white tip. Body color becomes darker after capture. 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “gollum” is named after the fictional character, Gollum, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings book series. This new species and Gollum have similar cave-dwelling habit and emaciated body. 
References
  • Qi S, Wang J, Grismer LL, Chen H-H, Lyu Z-T, Wang Y-Y 2020. The Stoor Hobbit of Guangdong: Goniurosaurus gollum sp. nov., a cave-dwelling Leopard Gecko (Squamata, Eublepharidae) from South China. ZooKeys 991: 137–153 - get paper here
 
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