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Hemidactylus achaemenidicus TORKI, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymHemidactylus achaemenidicus TORKI 2019
Hemidactylus turcicus - TORKI et al. 2011
Hemidactylus persicus - CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2012
Hemidactylus persicus - Šmíd et al. 2013 
DistributionIran (Bushehr)

Type locality: the end of the southern Zagros Mountains, Kangan, Bushehr Province, Southern Iran, (27°18’N, 52°42’E, 50–221 m elevation).  
TypesHolotype: ZFMK 98567, adult male, collected on 10 May 2008.
Paratypes: ZFMK 97750–97753; ZFMK 98568–73; and FTHM 005110, six adult male specimens (ZFMK 97750–97752; ZFMK 98569–70; FTHM 005110), and four adult female specimens (ZFMK 97753; ZFMK 98568, 71, 72), same data as for holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small sized Hemidactylus, maximum snout-vent length 39.8 mm; tubercles distributed over the entire dorsum (except for forelimbs); granules cover head and extend to neck; tubercle rugosity dimorphism occurs between males and females over dorsal body, limbs, and tail (males have more rugose tubercles than females); proximal portion of tail (ventral view) covered by small scales without femoral pores; precloacal pores present; six tubercles on most whorls of tail; two postmentals; low number of lamellae under pes; subcaudal scales started more distally (approximately after proximal one-third of tail), only a few subcaudals (plate-like) in original tail (0–22), that started so far as anal; proximal dorsal tail covered by regular whorls of tubercles (keeled in male and plate-like in female); ventral scales not imbricate; the ends of ventral scales are denticulated; enlarged scansors beneath fingers, scansors are mostly divided, terminal scansor is single; dorsal color pattern shows much variability (regular or irregular crossbars, longitudinal bands, large or small spots), and this is true for the tail (regular or irregular bars, large and small spots), venters of all specimens are without spots (uniform).

Comparisons: Based on a phylogenetic study of one paratype specimen (FTHM 005100 is erroneous and FTHM 005110 is the true code; also the locality cited in the phylogeny section must be changed to the type locality of the new species) H. achaemenidicus sp.n. is completely distinct from H. robustus, H. turcicus, and other recently described species inhabiting Oman (see phylogram of Carranza and Arnold 2012; Šmíd et al. 2015). Hemidactylus achaemenidicus sp.n. was compared with the redescription of H. robustus Šmíd et al. (2015) [see Table 2]. Hemidactylus achaemenidicus sp.n. is different from H. robustus by smaller body size in males (36.5 ± 0.9 mm vs. 41.8 ± 2.3) and females (33.1 ± 2.0 mm vs. 43.6 ± 4.7), more longitudinal tubercle rows (16.2 ± 0.1 vs. 14.8 ± 1.2), and keeled (vs. weakly keeled and posteriorly pointed) as well as rugosity dimorphism (quite distinct for new Hemidactylus species), subcaudal scales (scale like and/or enlarged vs. enlarged), less head width/head length (0.62 vs. 0.74), internarial distance (0.97 ± 0.04 vs. 1.5 ± 0.08), lower number of lamellae under the 1st pes (5.7 ± 0.1 vs. 6.1 ± 0.5), internarial distance (0.97 vs. 1.5), and nasal in contact % (0% vs. 22%) [Carranza and Arnold 2012; Šmíd et al. 2015]. Based on photograph of lectotype of H. robustus (Figs. 4–9 in Šmíd et al. 2015; as a female specimen), females of H. robustus have approximately full rugosity (lectotype of H. robustus is female) and it is more than in male H. achaemenidicus sp.n. (males of H. achaemenidicus sp.n. have much greater rugosity than females); dorsal tubercle density (especially on proximal part) in H. robustus is more than H. achaemenidicus sp.n. dorsal, and dorsolaterals of H. robustus have maximum uniformity; in contrast the dorsum of H. achaemenidicus sp.n. has heterogeneity of dorsal and dorsolateral tubercles; also shape and size of tubercles on dorsolateral of H. achaemenidicus sp.n. is different from mid-dorsum, in contrast to H. robustus (Fig. 4c–d); photographic comparison: limbs (especially hind limbs) in H. achaemenidicus sp.n. are smaller than H. robustus; additional differences are: longer head for H. robustus; smaller interlimbs for H. robustus; base of tail in H. robustus is much more flattened and in H. achaemenidicus sp.n. is approximately cylindrical.
Differs from H. flaviviridis, H. persicus, and H. romeshkanicus by smaller body size. More comparisons with Hemidactylus inhabiting Iran are shown in Table 2. Differs from H. turcicus by smaller body size (36.5 ± 0.9 mm vs. 46.0 ± 5.8 in males, 33.1 ± 2.0 mm vs. 49.2 ± 5.1 in females), short tail relative to SVL (TL 0.98 vs. 112.8% of SVL), more longitudinal tubercle rows (16.2 ± 0.1 vs. 13.8 ± 0.7), nasal in contact % (0% vs. 13.3%), 1st and 2nd postmentals in contact with 2nd infralabials (81.8% vs. 12.9%), lower number of lamellae under the 1st pes (5.7 vs. 6.6), supralabials (9.5 ± 0.1 vs. 8.3 ± 0.5), infralabials (7.8 ± 0.1 vs. 6.8 ± 0.4), number of precloacal pores (6.42 vs. 7.2), less head width/head length (0.62 vs. 0.77) [Moravec et al. 2011; Šmíd et al. 2013]. Different
from H. persicus in body size, tail length, head shape and ratio, dorsal tubercle rows, precloacal pores, and number of lamellae under the 1st and 4th pes (see Table 2). Different from H. romeshkanicus in body size, tail length, head shape, precloacal pores, and number of lamellae under the 1st and 4th pes (see Table 2).
In this section H. achaemenidicus sp.n. is briefly compared with other Hemidactylus spp. from Iran. Different from H. adensis, H. awashensis, H. lavadeserticus, H. mandebensis, H. ulii, and H. jumailiae by more longitudinal tubercle rows (16.27 vs. 14, 14, 14, 13.3, 14.1, and 14) [Šmíd et al. 2013a, 2015]. Different from H. dawudazraqi by more dorsal tubercle rows (16–17 vs. 12–15). Different from H. alfarraji by precloacal pores (6–8 vs. 4) [Šmíd et al. 2016]. Different from H. kurdicus by postmentals (2 vs. 1) [Safaei-Mahroo et al. 2017]. Different from H. foudaii by precloacal pores (6–8 vs. 9) and well developed dorsal and tail tubercles (vs. less developed and protuberant dorsal and particularly tail tubercles). Different from H. mindiae (Jordan) and H. asirensis by smaller body size (36.5 mm vs. 49.3, 43–48.5 in males, 33.1 mm vs. 49.8, 38–51 in females, respectively) [Baha el Din 2005, Moravec et al. 2011; Šmíd et al 2017]. Different from H. saba, H. granosus, H. yerburii, H. montanus, H. minutus, H. homoeolepis, and H. mindiae (Egypt population) by number of precloacal pores (6.42 vs. 8, 5.6, 13.7, 11.2, 5.8, 4.3, 12.8, and 4) [Baha el Din 2005; Carranza and Arnold 2012; Šmíd et al. 2013a, 2016; Vasconcelos and Carranza 2014], respectively. Different from H. endophis by lacking femoral pores. Different from H. shihraensis, H. hajarensis, H. luqueorum, H. festivus, and H. alkiyumii by smaller body size. Significantly different from H. mindiae, H. lavadeserticus, H. dawudazraqi, H. shugraensis, and H. sinaitus by small body size and more dorsal tubercle rows. Different from H. leschenaultii, H. homoeolepis, H. paucituberculatus, H. inexpectatus, H. masirahensis, and H. lemurinus by having large and keeled tubercles on dorsal body. 
EtymologyThe species name “achaemenidicus” refers to “The Achaemenid Empire,” also called the First Persian Empire. It was an empire based in Western Asia, founded by Cyrus the Great, and notable for including various civilizations and becoming the largest empire at that time. 
  • Carranza, S., Arnold, E. Nicholas 2012. A review of the geckos of the genus Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Oman based on morphology, mitochondrial and nuclear data, with descriptions of eight new species. Zootaxa 3378: 1–95 - get paper here
  • Šmíd J, Moravec J, Kratochvíl L, Gvoždík V, Nasher AK, Busais SM, Wilms T, Shobrak MY, Carranza S 2013. Two newly recognized species of Hemidactylus (Squamata, Gekkonidae) from the Arabian Peninsula and Sinai, Egypt. ZooKeys 355: 79–107 - get paper here
  • Šmíd, Jiří; Salvador Carranza, Lukáš Kratochvíl, Václav Gvoždík, Abdul Karim Nasher, Jiří Moravec 2013. Out of Arabia: A Complex Biogeographic History of Multiple Vicariance and Dispersal Events in the Gecko Genus Hemidactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). PLoS One 8(5): e64018 - get paper here
  • Torki F. 2019. Three new species of Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Squamata, Gekkonidae) from Iran. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13(2) [General Section]: 239–258 - get paper here
  • TORKI, F., U, MANTHEY & M. BARTS 2011. Ein neuer Hemidactylus OKEN, 1817 aus der Provinz Lorestan, West-Iran, mit Anmerkungen zu Hemidactylus robustus HEYDEN, 1827 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae). Sauria 33 (4): 47-56 - get paper here
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