Hemidactylus vernayi CERÍACO, AGARWAL, MARQUES & BAUER, 2020
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|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Vernay’s Tropical Gecko|
Portuguese: Osga de Vernay
|Synonym||Hemidactylus vernayi CERÍACO, AGARWAL, MARQUES & BAUER 2020: 100|
Hemidactylus bayonii CERÍACO et al. 2020: 20 [part]
|Distribution||Angola (Benguela Province)|
Type locality: Lobito (-12.33333o, 13.583331o, < 5 m), Benguela Province
|Types||Holotype. AMNH 47770 (Fig. 4), adult male, collected by Rudyerd and Laura Boulton on 24 April 1925.|
Paratypes. AMNH 47771, adult male with the same collection data as holotype, but collected on 27 April 1925; AMNH 47778, adult male collected in Hanha do Norte (-13.266667o, 14.166667o, 919 m), Benguela Province, collected by Rudyerd and Laura Boulton on 18 May 1925; AMNH 47780, adult male with the same collecting data as the previous specimen, but collected on 17 May 1925.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A small sized Hemidactylus, maximum snout-vent length 36.7 mm (Fig. 3). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, with 11–14 irregularly arranged longitudinal rows of subtrihedral, striated, keeled tubercles at midbody. Two well-developed pairs of postmentals, the inner pair longer than the outer pair, about the same size as the mental, in broad contact behind mental. Ventrolateral folds distinct, about 28–31 scale rows across venter. Six divided scansors beneath first digit manus, seven to that of pes, seven beneath fourth digit of manus, nine to ten beneath the fourth digit of pes. Four to five continuous precloacal pores in males. Body dorsum brownish (from light to dark), without transverse markings, cream-colored stripe extending from snout to behind the eyes (Ceriaco et al. 2020).|
Comparison with West and Central African congeners. Hemidactylus vernayi sp. nov. is readily distinguished from H. kamdemtohami and H. richardsonii by the lack of basal digital webbing; it is distinguished from H. matschiei by having spiny tubercles on the dorsum and tail and small subcaudal scales. It is distinguished from H. steindachneri by the absence of a longitudinal row of keeled tubercles on the ventrolateral border of flanks; from H. echinus by lacking a double row of enlarged spines on the lateral side of the tail; from H. ansorgii by having a more robust body (versus largely dorsoventrally flattened/slender) and by having enlarged keeled tubercles on body and tail (versus tubercles relatively indistinct). It differs from H. pseudomuriceus by having small subcaudal scales (versus large, hexagonal midventral subcaudals); from H. muriceus by having a higher number of dorsal tubercle rows (14–16 versus 7–12); and from H. hecqui in its smaller size (maximum SVL 36.7 mm versus 50 mm for the unique holotype of H. hecqui).
With respect to Angolan congeners, H. vernayi sp. nov. differs from H. longicephalus in its lower number of dorsal tubercle rows (14–16 versus 16–18) and by its much smaller maximum size (maximum SVL 36.7 versus 54.8 mm); from H. benguellensis by its lower number of precloacal pores (4–6 versus 23–33); and from H. mabouia by having a lower number of precloacal pores (4–6 versus 28–39); from H. paivae by its much smaller maximum size (maximum SVL 36.7 versus 68.4 mm) and a lower number of precloacal pores (4–6 versus 6–8); from H. nzingae in its lower number of dorsal tubercle rows (14–16 versus 16–18), higher number of dorsal tubercle rows (28–31 versus 22–27) and by its much smaller maximum size (maximum SVL 36.7 versus 51.5 mm); from H. hannahsabinae sp. nov. by in its lower number of dorsal tubercle rows (14–16 versus 16–18), higher number of dorsal tubercle rows (28–31 versus 26) and by its much smaller maximum size (maximum SVL 36.7 versus 47.4 mm).
The newly described species can be distinguished from H. bayonii, with which it has been previously confused by Ceríaco et al. (2020), by its lower number of precloacal pores (4–5 versus 6–9), by lacking a series of dark parallel dorsolateral markings and by its much more robust body and head (Fig. 5 in Ceriaco et al. 2020).
|Etymology||The specific epithet “vernayi”, formed in the genitive singular and is masculine, is given in honor of Arthur Stannard Vernay (1877–1960), English-born American explorer and philanthropist who funded and organized the Vernay Angolan Expedition for the American Museum of Natural History, where the type series were collected. Vernay also supported the Vernay-Lang Kalahari Expedition for the Transvaal Museum, on which the herpetologist V.F. FitzSimons (1901–1975) made important reptile discoveries.|
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