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Hemidactylus yajurvedi MURTHY, BAUER, LAJMI, AGARWAL & GIRI, 2015

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Kanker Rock Gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus yajurvedi MURTHY, BAUER, LAJMI, AGARWAL & GIRI 2015 
DistributionIndia (S Chhattisgarh)

Type locality: near Saranpal village, 5 km. East of Kanker city, District Kanker, Chhattisgarh, India (20.17572° N, 81.31343° E, 416 m elevation)  
Reproductionoviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: ZSI 25924, (Zoological Survey of India), adult female; collected on 29 May 2011. Collected by B.H.Channakeshava Murthy, Avrajjal Ghosh and Vishwajeet Deshbhratar. Paratypes. ZSI 25923, ZSI 25926 adult females, ZSI 25925 adult male; NCBS AQ040, NCBS AQ041, NCBS AQ042 adult females, NCBS AQ043 adult male; BNHS 2308 adult female. Collection data same as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large sized Hemidactylus, snout-vent averaging 81.33±13.40 mm. and maximum to at least 98.0 mm. Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, with 10–12 irregularly arranged longitudinal rows of enlarged, rounded tubercles at midbody. First supralabial in contact with nasal. Two well-developed pairs of postmentals, the inner pair slightly larger than the outer pair and in contact behind the mental. Ventrolateral folds indistinct, about 35–39 scale rows across venter. 13–14 (manus) and 14–15 (pes) enlarged, divided scansors beneath fourth digit and 11–12 (manus) and 10–11 (pes) beneath first digit; 10–12 femoral pores on each side separated by five to eight poreless scales in males. Original tail depressed, oval in transverse section without a median dorsal furrow; scales on the tail slightly larger than dorsals of body, weakly imbricate, with a longitudinal series of six slightly enlarged, smooth, flattened tubercles of which single ventro-lateral series is largest, these tubercles are distinguishable on anterior six to seven whorls of tail and on posterior they are indistinguishable. Dorsal coloration of transversely arranged, pale grey to ashy markings on a pale, mustard-brown background.

Comparisons: The large size (to 98.0 mm SVL) of Hemidactylus yajurvedi sp. nov. easily distinguishes it from most other Indian and Sri Lankan Hemidactylus, including H. garnotii Duméril & Bibron, H. platyurus (Schneider), H. aquilonius McMahan & Zug, H. scabriceps (Annandale), H. imbricatus Bauer, Giri, Greenbaum, Jackman, Dharne & Shouche, H. gracilis Blanford, H. reticulatus Beddome, H. albofasciatus Grandison & Soman, H. sataraensis Giri & Bauer, H. brookii Gray, H. gujaratensis Giri, Bauer, Vyas & Patil, H. frenatus Schlegel, H. persicus Anderson, H. robustus Heyden, H. parvimaculatus Deraniyagala, and H. treutleri Mahony, all of which reach maximum sizes of approximately 70 mm SVL or less. Several recently resurrected species known from just outside the borders of India in Pakistan (Hemidactylus gleadowi Murray, H. kushmorensis Murray) and Myanmar (H. subtrieroides Annandale [regarded by Mahony 2011 as a synonym of H. tenkatei Lidth de Jeude]), are closely related to H. brookii and are likewise of small size. Hemidactylus triedrus (Daudin), H. subtriedrus Jerdon, H. lankae Deraniyagala, H. depressus Gray, H. pieresii Kelaart, H. leschenaultii Duméril & Bibron, and H. flaviviridis Rüppel are also significantly smaller, with maximum snout-vent lengths of approximately 75–90 mm. In addition, the first five of these differ from H. yajurvedi sp. nov. in having 13 or more rows of regularly arranged, subtrihedral to trihedral tubercles at midbody (versus 11–12 irregularly arranged longitudinal rows of rounded tubercles), whereas H. leschenaultii and H. flaviviridis have few or no dorsal tubercles. In comparison to all of these smaller species H. yajurvedi sp. nov. also has a greater number of scansors beneath the fourth toe of the pes (some overlap of range with H. persicus, from which it also differs in having femoral pores versus precloacal pores only, and H. flaviviridis, from which it differs in having 10–12 femoral pores on each thigh versus 5–7).
Among Hemidactylus from India and Sri Lanka, H. yajurvedi sp. nov. shares large adult size (adult SVL to at least 98.0 mm) only with H. giganteus Stoliczka, H. prashadi Smith, H. maculatus Duméril & Bibron, H. hunae Deraniyagala, H. graniticolus Agarwal, Giri & Bauer, H. acanthopholis Mirza & Sanap and H. aaronbaueri Giri. The first of these differs from the new species in the complete absence of dorsal tubercles. The remainder differ from H. yajurvedi sp. nov. in both the shape of the dorsal tubercles and the number of longitudinal rows of tubercles (differing character states indicated parenthetically): H. maculatus (20 fairly regular longitudinal rows of large trihedral tubercles), H. graniticolus (16–18 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, subtrihedral, weakly keeled, striated tubercles), H. prashadi (14 to 16 rows of enlarged subtrihedral tubercles), H. hunae (16–20 relatively regular rows of keeled, subtrihedral tubercles).
Based on dorsal pholidosis and general colouration, the new species is most similar to Hemidactylus aaronbaueri, but differs with respect to (H. aaronbaueri versus H. yajurvedi sp. nov.): size (snout-vent length at least 128 mm. versus 98 mm); dorsal pholidosis (back with small granular scales and intermixed with 18 to 20 rows of enlarged, rounded tubercles versus 11 to 12 rows of irregularly arranged, rounded tubercles); dorsal pholidosis of tail (tail covered above with small, posteriorly-pointed, subimbricate to imbricate scales and a series of 8 enlarged tubercles versus scales on the tail slightly larger than dorsals of body, weakly imbricate, with a longitudinal series of six slightly enlarged, smooth, flattened tubercles on anterior portion of the tail); femoral pores in males (15–19 femoral pores on each side with a gap of 5 to 6 poreless scales versus 10–12 femoral pores on each side separated by 5–8 poreless scales); head (not markedly distinct from neck versus markedly distinct from neck).

Similar species: most closely related to H. giganteus, as which it may have been confused previously. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a patronym, applied in the genitive singular case, honoring Dr. Hanumnth Narasimhachar Yajurvedi, Professor, Department of Studies and Research in Zoology, Manasagangotri, University of Mysore for his contribution in the field of reproductive biology of reptiles and mammals. 
  • MURTHY, B.H.C.K.; AARON BAUER, APARNA LAJMI, ISHAN AGARWAL & VARAD B. GIRI 2015. A new rock dwelling Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Chhattisgarh, India. Zootaxa 4021 (2): 334–350 - 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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