Goniurosaurus zhoui ZHOU, WANG, CHEN & LIANG, 2018
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Goniurosaurus zhoui?
|Higher Taxa||Eublepharidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Zhou’s Leopard Gecko|
Chinese: Zhou Shi Jian Hu
|Synonym||Goniurosaurus zhoui ZHOU, WANG, CHEN & LIANG 2018|
Type locality: karst area (at an altitude of 220-300 meters above sea level) in the central area of Hainan Island, China;exact locality withheld for conservation reasons; available to qualified researchers upon request.
|Types||Holotype: private collection, BL-RBZ-002 (apparently an acronym for Bin Liang and Run-Bang Zhou, two of the authors), an adult male, collected by Run-Bang Zhou on March 18th, 2017.|
Paratypes. Four paratypes, including two adult males (BL-RBZ-001, 007) and two adult females (BL-RBZ-003, 008) collected by Run-Bang Zhou from the same locality as the holotype. BL-RBZ-001 was collected on November 28th, 2015; BL-RBZ-003 on March 18th, 2017; BL-RBZ-007, and 008 on April 16th, 2017.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. Goniurosaurus zhoui sp. nov. differs from all other congeners by a combination of the following characters: moderate size, SVL (93.41–97.35 mm in adults); light purple-brown dorsal ground color of head, body and limbs in adults and mottled with irregularly shaped dark brown blotches; a posteriorly protracted nuchal loop present on nape, and four faint, purple-gray dorsal body bands with dark spots between the nuchal loop and the caudal constriction, bordered by wide dark bands anteriorly and posteriorly; blurred margins of these body bands and dark spots; dark tubercles in the dark spots within the light-colored body bands are always present; iris brown; eight nasal scales surrounding nares; one internasal; 49–62 eyelid fringe scales; upper eyelid scales similar in size with granular scales on the top of the head; absent of a row of slightly enlarged supraorbital tubercles; eight or nine supralabials, 7– 9 infralabials; 130–140 scales around midbody; 19–22 dorsal tubercle rows at midbody; 24–32 paravertebral tubercles between limb insertions; dorsal body tubercles surrounded by 11 granular scales; 36–38 precloacal pores in males and pores absent in females; claws sheathed by four scales, two lateral scales long and curved; two postcloacal tubercles.|
Comparisons. Given the collection locality of the new species, it is likely to be related to other species distributed in Hainan. Thus, morphometric comparison of the undescribed species was mainly conducted with species endemic to Hainan Island and G. lichtenfelderi from the nearby continent (although we reviewed the essential characters to distinguish it from other Goniurosaurus groups below). We also compared egg features of these taxa. Goniurosaurus zhoui sp. nov. lays two eggs per clutch, like its congeners (Kratochvil & Frynta 2006). However, it has larger eggs (length: 22.56 mm, width: 13.15 mm, weight: 2.25 g, n=2; Fig. 1A) compared with the species noted above (G. hainanensis: length: 15.97 mm, width: 11.97 mm, weight: 1.28 g, n=2; G. bawanglingensis: length: 19.52 mm, width: 10.42 mm, weight: 1.25 g, n=2; G. lichtenfelderi: length: 19.98 mm, width: 12.00 mm, weight: 1.57 g, n=8, at Day 1 fide Kratochvil & Frynta 2006).
As to adult morphological traits, G. zhoui sp. nov. has a moderate body size, with adult SVL significantly longer than G. hainanensis (95.34 versus 80.93 mm, p<0.01, Table 2), but possibly shorter than G. bawanglingensis (holotype SVL = 104 mm) and other members of the G. luii group. Moreover, the TaL of the new species is also significantly longer than G. hainanensis (p<0.001, Table 2). The precloacal pores (PPs) are important traits that typically exist in male eublepharid geckos (Fairbairn et al. 2007). The number of PP varies considerably among Goniurosaurus species and is a key trait for species discrimination. The new species has 36–38 PPs (Fig. 2D) — fewer than G. bawanglingensis (37–46, p<0.01), but more than G. hainanensis (24–31, p<0.001), G. lichtenfelderi (21–31, p<0.001) and other Goniurosaurus species (Table 2). Indeed, all Hainan Goniurosaurus as well as G. lichtenfelderi have a greater number of PPs than members of the other groups (members of the G. luii group exclusive of G. bawanglingensis have 16–29 PPs; members of the G. yingdeensis group have 9–13 PPs; species in the G. kuroiwae group have no PPs, Wang et al. 2014). This suggests that the species in Hainan Island may be closely related, although future molecular work is needed to elucidate the phylogenetic and biogeographic history of this genus. Scalation data also support the distinctiveness of G. zhoui sp. nov. (Tables 1–2, Fig. 2), which has significantly fewer eyelid fringe scales (49–62) and more scales around midbody (130–140) than G. hainanensis and G. bawanglingensis (Table 2). Moreover, we found that the new species has fewer (11) granular scales surrounding dorsal tubercles than does G. hainanensis (11–15, p<0.05), and a smaller number of paravertebral tubercles between limb insertions (24–32) than G. bawanglingensis (32–36, p<0.001). In addition, Goniurosaurus zhoui sp. nov. exhibits a pale purple-brown dorsal ground color in adults, which easily distinguishes it from G. hainanensis (Fig. 1B-D) and G. lichtenfelderi, both of which have a dark purple-brown ground color, and from G. bawanglingensis which has immaculate dull yellow-gray color (Fig. 1B-C, E-F). A posteriorly protracted nuchal loop on nape and four body bands in the new species are also different from the round nuchal loop and three bands in G. hainanensis and G. lichtenfelderi. The new species differs from the G. kuroiwae group in having a posteriorly protracted nuchal loop as opposed to being rounded posteriorly, having 36–38 precloacal pores in males (versus pores lacking), having deep axillary pockets rather than shallow pockets or no pockets, and having claws being sheathed by four scales, as opposed to being unsheathed. Goniurosaurus zhoui sp. nov. further differs from G. yingdeensis Wang, Yang & Cui, 2010 and
G. zhelongi Wang, Jin, Li & Grismer, 2014 in having dark spots and dark tubercles within the light-colored body bands and in having more precloacal pores.
|Etymology||Goniurosaurus zhoui sp. nov. is named after Mr. Hai-quan Zhou, the great-grandfather of the discoverer, who was a landlord and a prestige patriarch in Xiwu village, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. He was a wild animal enthusiast and he educated all his descendants to contribute to the wildlife conservation. Additionally, since Goniurosaurus zhoui sp. nov. is the third eyelid gecko found in Hainan Island, this specific epithet also commemorates the Zhou Dynasty, the third dynasty in Chinese history.|