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Hemidactylus whitakeri MIRZA, GOWANDE, PATIL, AMBEKAR & PATEL, 2018

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Whitaker’s termite hill gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus whitakeri MIRZA, GOWANDE, PATIL, AMBEKAR & PATEL 2018: 15
Hemidactylus subtriedrus — BAUER et al. 2010
Hemidactylus triedrus — BANSAL & KARANTH 2010 
DistributionIndia (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: “near Kodalagurki village, Bangalore rural district, Karnataka, India (13.297508°N, 77.700259°E), elevation 950 m”  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: NCBS AU712, female, collected by Mayuresh Ambekar & Gaurang Gowande on November 20th, 2017. Paratypes: NCBS AU713, female, same locality as holotype, collected by Rishikesh Patil and Zeeshan Mirza; two males NCBS AU719 & AU720, GKVK campus, Bangalore Karnataka, India (13.072962N, 77.581215E, elevation 932 m), collected by Akshay Khandekar on April 16th, 2018. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium sized fairly stout gecko, adults ranging 45–60 mm in SVL. Dorsum in a shade of light brown with paired, thin black edged white bands at regular intervals. Dorsal scalation on trunk granular, intermixed with enlarged, keeled 16–17 sub-trihedral tubercle rows arranged in fairly regular longitudinal series on dorsum. Seven lamellae (rarely six) under digit I of pes and manus, eight to nine under digit four of manus and pes. An angular series of seven to eight precloacal femoral pores separated at a mid-pelvic by a diastema of three non-pored scales.

Hemidactylus whitakeri sp. nov. differs from most congeners in bearing the following set of differing and non-overlapping characters: dorsum with large, keeled sub-trihedral tubercles in 16–17 fairly regular longitudinal rows (vs. few smooth or rounded tubercles in H. aquilonius McMahan & Zug, H. flaviviridis Rüppell, H. frenatus Schlegel, H. garnotii Duméril & Bibron, H. leschenaultii Duméril & Bibron, H. giganteus Stoliczka, H. gujaratensis Giri, Bauer, Vyas & Patil, H. platyurus Schneider, H. anamallensis Günther, H. aaronbaueri Giri, H. yajurvedi Murthy, Bauer, Lajmi, Agarwal & Giri, H. hemchandrai Dandge & Tiple); dorsal pattern with fairly distinct bands and dorsal tubercles sub- trihedral (vs. dorsal pattern with spots in H. prashadi); SVL 45–60 mm (vs. SVL <50 mm in H. sataraensis Giri & Bauer, H. gracilis Blanford, H. reticulatus Beddome, H. albofasciatus Grandison & Soman, H. scabriceps Annandale); SVL >80 mm H. maculatus Duméril & Bibron, H. graniticolus Agarwal, Bauer & Giri, H. kangerensis, H. sushilduttai, H. vanam Chaitanya, Lajmi & Giri, H. acanthopholis Mirza & Sanap, and H. hunae Deraniyagala; dorsum in a shade of brown with distinct, regularly spaced transverse bands on dorsum (vs. overall in a shade of brown to grey with dark spots, lacking distinct bands on dorsum in H. persicus Anderson, H. robustus Heyden, H. turcicus Linnaeus, H. chipkali Mirza & Raju, H. treutleri Mahony, H. gleadowi Murray, H. parvimaculatus Deraniyagala, H. kushmorensis Murray, H. murrayi Gleadow, H. malcolmsmithi Constable). The new species is most similar to H. triedrus in general appearance, however, differs in bearing 16–17 rows of keeled, sub-trihedral tubercles in fairly longitudinal rows (vs. 19–20 keeled, trihedral tubercles in H. triedrus, 15–16 trihedral tubercles in H. sahgali sp. nov.), bands on dorsum thin, paired and usually broken incomplete (vs. bands complete in H. sahgali sp. nov.), 7–8 precloacal femoral pores separated by a diastema of three non-pored scales (vs. 11–15 precloacal femoral pores separated by a diastema of 1–3 non-pored scales in H. sahgali sp. nov.). Postorbitofrontal slender in anteriorly, gradually widens posterior to the Fronto-Parietal suture as seen in H. sahgali sp. nov. (vs. Postorbitofrontal uniform in its wide throughout in H. triedrus), Frontal much wider posteriorly as in H. sahgali sp. nov. (vs. frontal narrow in H. triedrus); quadrate bone moderately robust (vs. quadrate bone robust and thin in H. triedrus, slender and arched in H. sahgali sp. nov.), surangular slender as in H. triedrus (vs. robust in its width lacking a distinct constriction at the suture between—articular surface and retroarticular process). 
CommentDistribution: see Figure 6 in Mirza et al. 2018: 15. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym honoring Romulus Earl Whitaker for his valuable contribution toward the study and conservation of reptiles of India. 
  • Bansal, Rohini; K. Praveen Karanth 2010. Molecular phylogeny of Hemidactylus geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae) of the Indian subcontinent reveals a unique Indian radiation and an Indian origin of Asian house geckos. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57 (1): 459-465 - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Todd R. Jackman, Eli Greenbaum, Varad B. Giri, Anslem de Silva 2010. South Asia supports a major endemic radiation of Hemidactylus geckos. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57 (1): 343-352 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R.; S. Bhupathy, P. Karthik, G. Babu Rao & S. Babu 2020. Catalogue of herpetological specimens from peninsular India at the Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), India. JoTT 12 (9): 16123–16135 - get paper here
  • KALKI, YATIN & SACHIN GOWDA. 2021. HEMIDACTYLUS WHITAKERI (Whitaker’s Termite Hill Gecko). DIET. Herpetological Review 52 (3): 649–650. - get paper here
  • Khanduri, S., Thirumurugan, V., CS, V., Chinnasamy, R., Das, A., & Talukdar, G. 2022. A note on opportunistic records of reptiles from the Moyar River Valley Landscape, Tamil Nadu, southern India. Journal of Animal Diversity 4 (4) - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2019. Liste der im Jahr 2018 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2019 (3): 52-72
  • Mirza ZA, Gowande GG, Patil R, Ambekar M, Patel H. 2018. First appearance deceives many: disentangling the Hemidactylus triedrus species complex using an integrated approach. PeerJ 6:e5341 - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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