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Hemidactylus chikhaldaraensis AGARWAL, BAUER, GIRI & KHANDEKAR, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Chikhaldara brookiish gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus chikhaldaraensis AGARWAL, BAUER, GIRI & KHANDEKAR 2019 
DistributionIndia (Maharashtra)

Type locality: near Gawilgarh (or Gawligurh) Fort, Chikhaldara (21.38526° N, 77.33404° E; 1040 m asl.), Amravati District, Maharashtra state, India  
TypesHolotype. NCBS BH684, adult male; collected by T. Khichi, A. Khandekar & I. Agarwal on 21 April 2015. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A medium sized Hemidactylus, SVL 51.5 mm (n=1). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, subcircular granular scales intermixed with enlarged, fairly regularly arranged strongly keeled tubercles in 15 longitudinal rows; each enlarged tubercle surrounded by a rosette of 14–16 small granules with 2–6 granules between two longitudinally adjacent enlarged tubercles. Ventrolateral folds indistinct; about 33 scale rows across belly. Digits with enlarged scansors, lamellae in straight transverse series, all divided except the apical and a few basal that are undivided, six lamellae beneath first digit and 10 beneath fourth digit of manus, seven and 11 under first and fourth digit of pes, respectively. Male with six or seven femoral pores on each side separated by seven poreless scales in precloaco-femoral series, five or six in a straight line. Original tail depressed, scales on dorsal aspect heterogeneous, larger than granular scales on dorsum; subimbricate granules, intermixed with a longitudinal series of 6–10 much enlarged, strongly pointed, keeled tubercles; median row (subcaudal plates) covering almost entire base of the tail bordered laterally with one or two rows of larger pointed, smooth, imbricate scales; three postcloacal spurs increasing in size from anterior to posterior, only anterior smaller than dorsal tubercles. Dorsal coloration grey-brown with scattered dark and light spots.

Comparison with members of the brookii group. Hemidactylus chikhaldaraensis sp. nov. has over 14–18% uncorrected ND2 sequence divergence from other members of the H. murrayi clade (Table 3). Based on size, dorsal pholidosis and general colouration, Hemidactylus chikhaldaraensis sp. nov. is most similar to other species of the brookii group: H. brookii, H. chipkali, H. gleadowi, H. kushmorensis, H. malcolmsmithi, H. murrayi, H. parvimaculatus, H. sankariensis sp. nov., H. subtriedroides and H. treutleri, but can be diagnosed on the basis of the following combination of characters: six or seven femoral pores on each side separated medially by seven poreless scales (opposing character states indicated in parentheses) from H. brookii (12 or 13 femoral pores separated by single poreless scale), H. gleadowi (12 or 13 femoral pores separated by single poreless scale), H. kushmorensis (10 or 11 femoral pores separated by two or three poreless scales), H. parvimaculatus (11–17 femoral pores separated by 1–3 poreless scales), H. malcolmsmithi (10–14 femoral pores separated medially by 1–3 poreless scales) and H. sankariensis sp. nov. (15 femoral pores separated by four poreless scales); SVL to 51.5 mm and 11 lamellae on digit IV of pes from H. chipkali (SVL to 74.2 mm, seven or eight lamellae on digit IV of pes), H. murrayi (SVL to 65.0 mm, 7–9 lamellae on digit IV of pes), H. subtriedroides (SVL to 61.7 mm, seven or eight lamellae on digit IV of pes) and H. treutleri (SVL to 70.2 mm, nine lamellae on digit IV of pes).
CommentSympatry: Though no other geckos were sympatric at the type locality, H. cf. gleadowi and H. cf. malcolmsmithi were collected from four and six kilometres away respectively, and it is likely that better sampling will reveal that the three species co-occur (though they may be separated in microhabitat use). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a toponym for only known locality of the species, Chikhaldara. 
  • AGARWAL, ISHAN;AARON M. BAUER, VARAD B. GIRI & AKSHAY KHANDEKAR 2019. An expanded ND2 phylogeny of the brookii and prashadi groups with the description of three new Indian Hemidactylus Oken (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 4619 (3): 431–458 - get paper here
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