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Hemidactylus kimbulae AMARASINGHE, KARUNARATHNA, CAMPBELL, MADAWALA & DE SILVA, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymHemidactylus kimbulae AMARASINGHE, KARUNARATHNA, CAMPBELL, MADAWALA & DE SILVA 2021 
DistributionSri Lanka (Uva Province)

Type locality: near Duwili Ella (6˚39'42.80''N, 80˚51'58.51''E; alt. 310 m a.s.l.), Kalthota, Badulla District, Uva Province, Sri Lanka  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: NMSL 2020.08.01, adult male, collected by S. Karunarathna, on 4 October 2019
Paratypes: NMSL 2020.08.02, other details same as holotype 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The following combination of characters distinguishes Hemidactylus kimbulae sp. nov. from all other congeners: adult males reach 121.2 mm SVL; dorsal scalation of small homogeneous, carinate, granules intermixed with large, conical, carinate tubercles that form 12–14 irregularly arranged longitudinal rows at midbody; dorsal and lateral tubercles equal sized; dorsal furrow distinct with narrow nontubercular space middorsally; 3 or 4 pairs of postmentals, secondary pair 2/3 of the primary pair; throat scales granular; no spine-like tubercles on nape; ventrals larger than dorsals, smooth, elongate, and bluntly pointed, with 36–39 rows at midbody; 11 or 12 supralabials at midorbit position; 21–24 of femoral pores on each side separated medially by 5–7 nonpored enlarged scales; scales on posterior thigh granular, not enlarged; lamellae divided, 9 or 10 subdigital lamellae below the first, and 12 or 13 below the fourth toe; dorsal scales on tail granular, carinate, imbricate; tail segmented with whorls of lateral tubercles, each whorl consisting of 6 enlarged, conical, carinate tubercles separated from one another by 1 to 3 small scales; each whorl separated from its neighbor by about 8–10 scale rows; subcaudal scales at base pointed and enlarged; median row enlarged and broad; single postcloacal tubercle (spur) on each side; body dorsum with a series of black edged bright saddles from occiput to tail tip. These differences are summarized for close congeners of the H. maculatus species complex (see Table 2) and for all members of the H. prashadi clade (see comparison below). (Amarasinghe et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Hemidactylus kimbulae sp. nov. is morphologically very similar to H. hunae (characters in parentheses), but it can be distinguished from this species by having dorsal scalation of homogeneous granules (heterogeneous) at midbody; narrow space between medial parasagittal rows (wide); postmentals, 3 or 4 pairs (2 pairs); ventrals elongate and bluntly pointed (shorten and circular), femoral pores 21–24 (26–28) on each side; dorsal scales on tail imbricate (juxtaposed); single postcloacal spur (2) on each side; body dorsum with a series of bright and black edged (pale and usually no edged) saddles.
The new species is also similar to the other congeners of the H. maculatus species complex (see Table 2); however, it differs from them by having 12 supralabials at the midorbit position (8–11 in all other members), no prominent spinelike tubercles on nape (prominent in H. kangerensis, H. sushilduttai, and H. kolliensis), 3 or 4 pairs of postmentals (2 in all other members; H. siva rarely has 3), dorsal scalation of homogeneous granules (H. graniticolus, H. kangerensis, H. paaragowli, H. vanam, H. siva, and H. kolliensis have heterogeneous granules), conical-shaped enlarged dorsal tubercles (H. maculatus, H. acanthopholis, H. kangerensis, and H. sushilduttai have trihedral tubercles), ventral scales in 36–39 rows (H. kangerensis, H. sushilduttai, H. siva, and H. kolliensis have 27–34 rows), 21–24 femoral pores (10–12 in H. paaragowli, 16–19 in H. maculatus and H. siva, and 17–22 in H. vanam) separated by 5–7 interfemoral scales (H. acanthopholis has 12–14 and H. vanam has 10 or 11 interfemoral pores), enlarged dorsal tubercles arranged irregularly in 12–14 rows (22–24 in H. paaragowli, and 17–19 in H. vanam).
Hemidactylus kimbulae sp. nov. can be also distinguished from other members of the prashadi group by the presence of dorsal scalation of homogeneous granules (heterogeneous in Hemidactylus yajurvedi Murthy, Bauer, Lajmi, et al. 2015), enlarged dorsal tubercles (no dorsal tubercles in Hemidactylus giganteus Stoliczka 1871) arranged irregularly in 12–14 rows (18–20 in Hemidactylus aaronbaueri Giri 2008; 13–19 in H. depressus and Hemidactylus pieresii Kelaart 1852 arranged fairly regularly), and 21–24 femoral pores (19 in H. aaronbaueri; 15–19 in H. depressus; 10–12 in Hemidactylus hemchandrai Dandge and Tiple 2015 and H. yajurvedi; 17–20 in H. pieresii and H. prashadi Smith 1935; 11–15 in Hemidactylus sahgali Mirza, Gowande, Patil, Ambekar and Patel 2018; 7–9 in H. triedrus; 7 or 8 in Hemidactylus whitakeri Mirza, Gowande, Patil, Ambekar and Patel 2018). Unlike the new species, H. scabriceps has homogenous dorsal pholidosis of imbricate scales and no enlarged tubercles. (Amarasinghe et al. 2021).

Color in life: The holotype of H. kimbulae sp. nov. had a dorsal pattern of black-edged light ashy saddle-shaped markings on a grayish brown ground color; interspaces between each saddles whitish, forming X-shaped marks; middle of each saddle mark, white spot; irregular cream markings on dorsal head; enlarged tubercles within saddles black or dark brown, the rest white or cream; dark edged cream cross stripes on arm, including digits; dark-edged cream blotches on legs including digits; first saddle mark on the back between arms, second and third on midbody, fourth on hips, fifth on the tail base, sixth and seventh on the original tail, afterward not present on regenerated tail; white horizontal stripe starting from loreal region, cross the eye, toward occiput, disappear afterward; supralabials light ashy brown, below eye whitish; infralabials cream; white blotches on the temporal region mixing with dark brown, cream, yellow irregular markings; venter light ashy brown, toe pads whitish. (Amarasinghe et al. 2021). 
CommentSimilar species: H. hunae

IUCN conservation status: Critically Endangered (CR) [criteria is B1a,b (iii)] 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an invariable noun in apposition and refers to kimbulae (crocodile) in Sinhalese language, which it is locally and widely known as kimbul-hunae (crocodile-gecko) due to its large body size. 
References
  • Amarasinghe, A.A. Thasun; Suranjan Karunarathna, Patrick D. Campbell, Majintha Madawala, Anslem de Silva 2021. A New Species of Hemidactylus Goldfuss, 1820 (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from Sri Lanka with Redescription of H. hunae Deraniyagala, 1937,. Herpetologica 77 (3): 259-272 - get paper here
  • Deraniyagala, P. E. P. 1937. A new gecko Hemidactylus maculatus hunae. Ceylon Journal of Science, 20:185-189.
 
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