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Hemidactylus flavicauda LAJMI, GIRI, SINGH & AGARWAL, 2020

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Mahabubnagar yellow-tailed brookiish gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus flavicaudus LAJMI, GIRI, SINGH & AGARWAL 2020
Hemidactylus flavicauda — BÖHME & DENZER 2019 (by implication) 
DistributionIndia (Telangana)

Type locality: near Guddeguda village, Mahabubnagar District, Telangana, India (16.68069° N, 77.82587° E, 416 m asl)  
TypesHolotype: NCBS NRC-AA-1105, adult female (National Centre for Biological Sciences); collected on 22 August 2015 by Aparna Lajmi, Aniruddha Datta Roy, Deepak Veerappan and Praveen Karanth.
Paratypes. CES 17028 adult female, CES 17029, CES 17031 adult males (same collection data as holotype); NRC-AA-1106, NRC-AA-1108, adult females (same collection data as holotype except collected on 20 April 2015 by Aparna Lajmi, Taneraw Singh and Maitreya Sil; NRC-AA-1107, CES 16129 adult females, NRC-AA-1109 adult male collected from Manyamkonda, Mahabubnagar District, Telangana, India (16.6504° N, 77.888° E, 560 m asl) on 20 April 2015 by Aparna Lajmi, Taneraw Singh and Maitreya Sil. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A small sized Hemidactylus, snout-vent length up to at least 41.8 mm (n=9). Dorsal pholidosis het- erogeneous composed of subcircular granular scales intermixed with moderately enlarged, circular, flattened, feebly keeled tubercles extending from occiput to tail and in 11–14 irregularly arranged longitudinal rows at midbody. Ventrolateral folds indistinct, about 22–26 scale rows across venter. Digits with slightly enlarged, divided scansors; lamellae in oblique series, six or seven (manus) and seven or eight (pes) beneath fourth digit and four (manus) and four or five (pes) beneath first digit; 15–17 precloacofemoral pores on each side separated by one or two poreless scales in males (n=3). Original tail slightly depressed, verticillate, oval in transverse section with indistinct median dorsal furrow; dorsal tail pholidosis heterogenous with rounded, smooth, subimbricate scales intermixed with two to three enlarged, conical keeled tubercles at the base of every whorl, on either side of median dorsal furrow; subcau- dals much enlarged; a pair of slightly enlarged postcloacal spurs on either side. Dorsal colouration of transversely arranged, pale grey to ashy markings on a pale, mustard-brown background; thick nuchal collar which fuses with postorbital streaks laterally. Tail distinctly yellow in adults of both sexes and juveniles.

Comparison with other members of the H. brookii group. Hemidactylus flavicaudus sp. nov. can be distin- guished from all other members of the Indian radiation, except H. xericolus sp. nov. based on its conspicuous yellow tail. It can be further distinguished from many members of the H. brookii group by its small adult size (maximum SVL 41.8 mm versus 55.8 in H. brookii, 51.5 mm in H. chikhaldaraensis Agarwal, Bauer, Giri & Khandekar, 74.2 mm in H. chipkali Mirza & Raju, 56.2 mm in H. cf. gleadowi, 51.4 mm in H. kushmorensis, 65.0 mm in H. murrayi (Lajmi et al. 2016), 53.8 mm in H. malcolmsmithi (Constable), 52.3 mm in H. parvimaculatus Deraniyagala (Lajmi et al. 2016), 62.5 mm in H. rishivalleyensis Agarwal, Thackeray & Khandekar, 50.8 mm in H. sankariensis Agar- wal, Bauer, Giri & Khandekar, 61.7 mm in H. subtreidroides, 70.2 mm in H. treutleri Mahony, and 61.9 mm in H. varadgirii Chaitanya, Agarwal, Lajmi & Khandekar). Hemidactylus flavicaudus sp. nov. can be distinguished from the species that are less than 55 mm SVL by the presence of moderately enlarged, flattened, feebly keeled dorsal tubercles in 11–14 irregularly arranged rows versus strongly enlarged and keeled, pointed tubercles in 15–17 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows in H. chikhaldaraensis; enlarged and keeled conical dorsal tubercles in 19 or 20 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows in H. kushmorensis; slightly enlarged, keeled, conical tubercles in 15–20 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows in H. malcolmsmithi; slightly enlarged, keeled, conical tubercles in 15–18 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows in H. parvimaculatus; strongly enlarged and keeled, pointed tubercles in 15 fairly regularly arranged longitudinal rows in H. sankariensis. The new species can be easily dis- tinguished from members of the ground dwelling clade by the presence of 15–17 precloacofemoral pores on each side in males (versus less than eight precloacal pores in males of H. albofasciatus Grandison & Soman, H. gracilis Blanford, H. imbricatus, H. reticulatus Beddome, H. sataraensis Giri & Bauer and H. vijayraghvani Mirza). Hemi- dactylus flavicaudus sp. nov. can be distinguished from H. gleadowi by the lower number of scales across the belly (22–26 versus 32–34) and fewer dorsal tubercle rows (11–14 versus 17 or 18). The yellow colouration of the tail in life as well as the dorsal colour pattern are unique among Indian Hemidactylus except for Hemidactylus xericolus sp. nov., the diagnosis against which is in the species description.

Colouration in life (Fig. 5A; based on paratype CES16128). Dorsal ground colour of head, body, limbs and tail beige with light tinge of yellow and scattered indistinct light brown blotches. Two distinct dark preorbital streaks enclosing a yellow streak, upper narrower, starting as a dark spot, converging from each side and meeting at rostral, roughly ‘V’ shaped when viewed from top, lower terminating at supralabials third and fourth; distinct postorbital streak flanked by diffuse yellow markings which is broader than the lower preorbital streak and extends from behind eye until above forelimb insertions; anterior portion of brille yellow. Head dorsum mottled, snout suffused with yel- low, rostral yellow; interorbital region slightly bluish; a large and small dark spot and pale blotch on occiput; distinct dark nuchal collar extending across base of neck and fusing with postorbital streak on either side anterior to forelimb insertions; labials with fine black spots, anterior more strongly spotted and suffused with yellow. Dorsum with scat- tered light blotches and an indistinct light mid-ventral line; four dark approximately X-shaped markings between limb insertions. The first lies just posterior to forelimb insertions and consists of a central longitudinally elongate rectangular spot, flanked on its four corners by four smaller or subequal spots. The other three sets of markings are less distinct but always include the central elongate spot, and may be similar to the first set of markings (third set) or consist of the central marking flanked by a single spot on either side (second and fourth set). Forelimbs and femur mottled with light and dark splotches, tibia and digits with dark crossbars; tail yellow with 11 dark cross bars those are distinct towards the base becoming pale and indistinct towards the tail tip. Venter off-white, immaculate. 
CommentSympatry: The most common species of Hemidactylus on the boulders were H. cf. treutleri followed by H. flavicaudus sp. nov. Other sympatric rupicolous congeners included H. cf. giganteus Stoliczka and a large tuberculated undescribed species (denoted by “Hemidactylus species 3” from Lajmi & Karanth 2020). The terrestrial Hemidactylus cf. gleadowi was also noted in the vicinity of the rocky outcrop, on the soil surface. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an adjective derived from the Latin flavus (= yellow) and cauda (= tail), for the yellow tail of the new species.

The species name needs to be flavicauda, according to ICZN Article 34.2.1 which states that the gender of a noun in apposition must not be changed to agree in gender with the generic name, The Latin noun for tail is cauda and of female gender. For further explanations and examples see Böhme & Denzer (2019). 
  • Böhme, W. & Denzer, W. 2019. Warum die Endungen adjektivischer Artnamen dem Geschlecht der Gattungsnamen angepasst werden müssen Sauria 41 (1): 55–62 - get paper here
  • LAJMI, A., GIRI, V. B., SINGH, T., & AGARWAL, I. 2020. Two new species of yellow-tailed Hemidactylus Goldfuss, 1820 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from rocky outcrops on the Telangana Plateau, India. Zootaxa 4895(4): 483-504 - get paper here
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