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Hemiphyllodactylus simaoensis AGUNG, CHORNELIA, GRISMER, GRISMER, QUAH, LU, TOMLINSON & HUGHES, 2022

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymHemiphyllodactylus simaoensis AGUNG, CHORNELIA, GRISMER, GRISMER, QUAH, LU, TOMLINSON & HUGHES 2022: 774 
DistributionChina (Yunnan)

Type locality: forested karst hills in Simao District, Pu’er City, Yunnan Province, China (N22.735°, E100.803°; 1129 m a.s.l.)  
TypesHolotype: KIZ 062064, Adult male, collected on 6 July 2019 by Ade P. Agung, Jian-Mei Lu, and Zong-Bao Yang.
Paratypes: Four adult males (KIZ 062063, KIZ 062066–KIZ 062068) and three adult females (KIZ 062065, KIZ 062069–KIZ 062070), same data as holotype. Five adult males (KIZ 062072, KIZ 062073, KIZ 062077, KIZ 062079, KIZ 062087) and nine adult females (KIZ 062074–KIZ 062076, KIZ 062080–KIZ 062084, KIZ 062088) were collected on 16–17 August 2018 by Ade P. Agung, Ada Chornelia, Jian-Mei Lu, L. Lee Grismer, Jesse L. Grismer, Evan S.H. Quah, Brian Folt, and Myin Kyaw Thura from forested karst in Ning’er County, Pu’er City, Yunnan Province, China (N23.083°, E101.019°; 1436 m a.s.l.). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “Hemiphyllodactylus simaoensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners by a unique combination of the following characters: maximum SVL 40.87 mm; chin scales 7–10; enlarged postmentals; circumnasal scales 5–6; internasal scales 1–4; supralabial scales 8–12; infralabial scales 8–11; subdigital lamellae on fingers II–V (3 or 4)-(3–5)- (3–5)-(3 or 4); subdigital lamellae on toes II–V (3 or 4)-(3–5)- (3–5)-(3 or 4); dorsal scales 11–15; ventral scales 5–7; pale- gray base color on body, two lines of dark blotches running from neck to sacrum on dorsal side; dark postorbital stripe extending at least to base of neck; dorsolateral stripe indistinct or completely absent; ventrolateral stripe on trunk absent; dark postsacral markings bearing anteriorly projecting arms.” (Agung et al. 2022)

Comparisons: “Morphological comparisons: A full list of trait comparisons is provided in Supplementary Table S3. Here, we describe morphological variations in Hemiphyllodactylus simaoensis sp. nov. and differences from its congeners for traits that differed between species. However, in terms of the range of trait values, Hemiphyllodactylus simaoensis sp. nov. was indistinguishable from the H. jinpingensis specimen examined but distinct from H. jinpingensis reported in Guo et al. (2015) (Supplementary Table S3). We consider this to be an artifact of researcher bias in the way data were taken. In terms of body ratios, Hemiphyllodactylus simaoensis sp. nov. differs from H. jinpingensis (values obtained from Guo et al. (2015)), H. montawaensis, H. tonywhitteni, and H. ngwelwini by shorter head (HL/SVL), wider head (HW/HL), greater SnEye distance (SnEye/HL), greater NarEye distance (NarEye/HL), larger eyes (ED/HL), and wider snout (SnW/HL) (Table 10).
In terms of scalation, the new species differs from H. montawaensis, H. tonywhitteni, and H. ngwelwini by fewer VS (5–7 vs. 7 or 8, 7–9, 7 or 8, respectively), and differs from H. tonywhitteni by more CN (5 or 6 vs. 3–5). For body coloration and pattern, the new species differs from H. montawaensis by presence of dark transverse blotches on dorsum (vs. reticulate pattern). The new species differs from H. tonywhitteni by presence of dark transverse blotches on dorsum (vs. absent) and absence of light-colored dorsolateral spots on trunk (vs. present). The new species differs from H. ngwelwini by presence of dark transverse blotches on dorsum (vs. absent).” (Agung et al. 2022)

Coloration in life (Figure 6): “All Hemiphyllodactylus species can change the intensity and boldness of their coloration and patterns. The description below was taken when the holotype was photographed in the morning after capture. Base color of dorsal side of head, body, and limbs pale-gray, with two lines of dark blotches running from neck to sacrum on back; no dark marking on top of head; thin and indistinct dark pre- and postorbital stripes extending from external nares, through eye to just anterior of forelimb insertion on body; dark postsacral marking bearing anteriorly projecting arms; limbs with irregularly shaped, diffuse, and indistinct dark markings; dorsal side of tail with brown to black banded pattern; abdomen unicolor gray.” (Agung et al. 2022)

Variation: “Coloration of this species varies considerably (Figure 6). Variations in mensural and meristic data are presented in Supplementary Table S7.” (Agung et al. 2022) 
CommentNatural history: The holotype and seven paratypes (KIZ 062063, KIZ 062065–KIZ 062070) were collected on the evening of 6 July 2019 from a wall of a vacant building rarely used by humans in a forested karst area. The left and right sides of the building were densely covered by shrubs and trees. The back of the building was bordered by forested karst hills. The front of the building faced an old basketball court with several artificial lights, with the main road located further in front (Figure 7). The other 14 paratypes from Ning’er County (KIZ 062072–KIZ 062077, KIZ 062079–KIZ 062084, KIZ 062087–KIZ 062088) were collected one year earlier, on the evenings of 16 and 17 August 2018, from a cement wall in a forested karst area. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet simaoensis refers to the name of the district where the holotype originates, Simao District, Pu’er City, Yunnan Province, China. 
  • Agung, A. P., Chornelia, A., Grismer, L. L., Grismer, J. L., Quah, E. S., Lu, J. M., ... & Hughes, A. C. 2022. Description of two new species of Hemiphyllodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from karst landscapes in Yunnan, China, highlights complex conservation needs. Zoological Research, 43(5), 767-786 - get paper here
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