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Hemidactylus sassanidianus TORKI, 2019

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymHemidactylus sassanidianus TORKI 2019
Hemidactylus persicus — TORKI et al. 2011 
DistributionIran (Bushehr)

Type locality: southern end of Zagros Mountains, Khaiiz, Tangestan City, Bushehr Province, Southern Iran, (28°43’N, 51°31’E, 525 m elevation).  
TypesHolotype: ZFMK 98573, adult male, collected on 4 May 2008.
Paratypes: ZFMK 97754–56, ZFMK 98574–77, FTHM 005029; four adult male specimens (ZFMK 97756, ZFMK 98575–77), and four adult female specimens (ZFMK 97754–55, ZFMK 98574, FTHM 005029), same data as
for holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small-sized Hemidactylus, snout-vent length at least 48.3 mm; tubercles distributed all over dorsum, except for arm; back with enlarged keeled tubercles; heterogeneity of dorsal tubercles occurred in all specimens (a few parts or most of dorsal body); dorsal scales in a few places converted into granules; granules cover snout, between eyes, upper head, neck, and in some specimens onto middle of dorsum and dorsolaterals; 2–4 postmentals; 4–8 whorls of tubercles on first half of dorsum of tail, distal part of tail without tubercles; without femoral pores; precloacal pores present; more lamellae under fingers; subcaudal scales enlarged; ventral scales not imbricate; enlarged scansors beneath fingers, scansors mostly divided, terminal scansor single; limbs without color pattern and uniform, dorsolaterals without any pattern and uniform, pattern only present on middle part of dorsum (longitudinal) of all specimens, various patterns on dorsum such as: spotty (small or large), bars (irregular and regular); ventrum without pattern.

Comparisons: Hemidactylus sassanidianus sp.n. differs from H. persicus (based on original description by Anderon 1872) by: (1) Dorsal tubercles in H. sassanidianus sp.n. are not strongly keeled and in some parts tubercles are not keeled, in contrast they are strongly keeled in H. persicus. (2) Heterogeneity of dorsal tubercles occurred in all specimens of H. sassanidianus sp.n., in contrast to original description of H. persicus. (3) Size of tubercles in H. sassanidianus sp.n. is smaller than H. persicus, about 0.4 of ear opening vs. 0.5 ear opening. (4) Five or six tubercles in each row of the tail in H. sassanidianus sp.n., and in contrast H. persicus have seven tubercles in each row of the tail. (5) Dorsal body of H. sassanidianus sp.n. covered by spots (not bars), in contrast dorsal body in H. persicus is covered by transverse narrow band. More differences between H. sassanidianus sp.n. and H. persicus (based on original description and Anderson 1999): (6) H. persicus only has two postmentals (in all populations; there are no records in the literature), in contrast H. sassanidianus sp.n. has 2–4 postmentals. (7) In Anderson’s work on H. persicus inhabiting Iran, he reported 9–11 preanal pores, which is clearly more than H. sassanidianus sp.n. (6–8). (8) Tail sharp in H. sassanidianus sp.n., and not sharp in H. persicus. Additional differences with H. persicus include: number of postmentals (2–4 vs. 2), mental trihedral (vs. pentagonal); relatively fewer precloacal pores in males (6–8 vs. 9–11); number of lamellae under the first digit of the pes (6–9 vs. 8–9); body size of H. sassanidianus sp.n. males (54.7) smaller than females (56.4), this is in contrast to H. persicus (males: 59; females: 51.4); head longer (HL/SVL: 0.3 vs. 0.24), elongated (HW/HL: 0.64 vs. 0.8), and more flattened (HH/HL: 0.4 vs. 0.49) [Carranza and Arnold 2012]; sexual dimorphism in head size (HL, HW, and HD) occurs for H. persicus (males significantly larger than females), this is in contrast to H. sassanidianus sp.n., and this is true for more characters (Table 4). Easily differentiated from H. romeshkanicus by number of precloacal pores (6–8 vs. 12), other differences: smaller body size, number of supralabials, and dorsal tubercle shape (not trihedral vs. enlarged trihedral). It is different from H. robustus by larger body size in both sexes combined (48–63 vs. 32–50) and in males (54.7 vs. 41.8) and females (56.4 vs. 43.6); more lamellae under the 1st (8.5 vs. 6.1) and 4th (12.8 vs. 10.1) digits of the pes; more supralabials (11.8 vs. 9.4); and greater number of precloacal pores (7.4 vs. 6.1) [Carranza and Arnold 2012; Šmíd et al. 2013a, 2015] (Table 2). Different from H. achaemenidicus sp.n. by larger body size (48–63 vs. 28–39), tail, dorsal tubercle rows, number of lamellae under digits of pes, labials, and postmentals (see Table 2). Different from H. flaviviridis by presence of dorsal tubercles and without femoral pores. More comparisons are shown in Table 2.
In this section H. sassanidianus sp.n. is briefly compared with other Hemidactylus species outside of Iran. Different from H. dawudazraqi and H. shihraensis by body size (48–63 vs. 40–49 and less than 49, respectively). Different from H. asirensis by larger body size (48.3–63.3 mm vs. 43–48.5 in males, 54.5–57.4 mm vs. 38.3–51.1 in females) and HL/SVL (28–31% vs. 23–28%). Different from H. alfarraji by precloacal pores (6–8 vs. 4) [Šmíd et al. 2016]. Different from H. kurdicusbypostmentals(2–4vs.1)[Safaei-Mahrooet al. 2017]. Different from H. lavadeserticus by enlarged keeled tubercles on back (vs. not so enlarged). 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. homoeolepis, H. masirahensis, and H. paucituberculatus by having keeled tubercles on dorsum (vs. without tubercles on dorsum). Different from H. inexpectatus, H. endophis, H. hajarensis, H. yerburii, H. shugraensis, H. yerburii yerburii, H. montanus, H. awashensis H. minutus, H. homoeolepis, H. mindiae, H. lemurinus, and H. granosus by number of precloacal pores (6–8 vs. 4, 14, 4–6, 12.8, 5, 13.7, 11.2, 4.5, 5.8, 4.3, 4, 6, 5.6, respectively) [Šmíd et al. 2013a, 2015, 2016; Vasconcelos and Carranza 2014; Carranza and Arnold 2012]. Different from H. luqueorum and H. homoeolepis by body size (55.4 vs. 76.8, 31.8) [Carranza and Arnold 2012]. Different from H. turcicus by postmentals (2–4 vs. 2), more longitudinal tubercles on dorsum (15.5 vs. 13.8), more lamellae under the 1st (8.5 vs. 6.5) and 4th (12.8 vs. 9.7) digits of the pes, and more supralabials (11.8 vs. 8.2) and infralabials (8.6 vs. 6.7) [Šmíd et al. 2013a]. Different from H. sinaitus by larger body size in males (54.7 vs. 39.5) and females (56.4 vs. 45.6), more lamellae under the 1st (8.5 vs. 5.7) and 4th (12.8 vs. 9.7) digits of the pes, and more supralabials (11.8 vs. 8.7) [Carranza and Arnold 2012]. Different from H. jumailiae by more supralabials (11.8 vs. 9.8), more lamellae under the 1st (8.5 vs. 6.9) and 4th (12.8 vs. 10.9) digits of the pes (Šmíd et al. 2013a). Different from H. festivus, H. alkiyumii, and H. saba by more longitudinal tubercles on dorsum (15.5 vs. 13.3, 12.9, 14) [Šmíd et al. 2013a; Carranza and Arnold 2012]. Different from H. ulii, H. mandebensis, and H. adensis by larger body size in males (54.7 vs. 38.6, 41.5, 34) and females (56.4 vs. 40.1, 35, 36.7), and more longitudinal tubercles on dorsum (15.5 vs. 14.1, 13.3, 14) [Šmíd et al. 2013]. Different from H. lemurinus, H. masirahensis, H. inexpectatus, H. paucituberculatus, H. homoeolepis, H. leschenaultii, and H. flaviviridis by having numerous enlarged tubercles on upper surface of body (vs. no enlarged tubercles on upper surface of body). 
CommentSympatry: Asaccus tangestanensis, Laudakia nupta, Trapelus agilis, Tropiocolotes persicus, Coluber (sensu lato) sp., Macrovipera lebetina, and Echis carinatus. 
EtymologyThe species name “sassanidianus” refers to “The Sasanian Empire,” also known as Sassanian, Sasanid, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire, which was known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr in the Middle Persian language. 
  • 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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