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Lygodactylus regulus PORTIK, TRAVERS, BAUER & BRANCH, 2013

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Prince Dwarf Gecko 
SynonymLygodactylus regulus PORTIK, TRAVERS, BAUER & BRANCH 2013
Lygodactylus regulus — TRAVERS et al. 2014 
DistributionMozambique (Zambézia Province)

Type locality: Mozambique, Zambézia Province, Mt. Namuli (15°23'15"S, 37°04'24"E), 1281 m elevation.  
TypesHolotype: MVZ 266138, Adult male, collected by D. M. Portik, 10 August 2011 (Fig. 6). Paratypes. Three specimens: MVZ 266137, adult male, Mozambique, Zambézia Province, Mt. Namuli (15°22’28”S, 37°03’54”E, 1421 m a.s.l.), collected by D. M. Portik, 10 August 2011 (Fig. 7); PEM R14922, adult female, Mozambique, Zambézia Province, Mt. Namuli, Ridge leading to Marakuni Ridge (1537AC, 1800 m a.s.l.), collected by P. Ryan, 30 November 1998; PEM R20277, adult female, Mozambique, Zambézia Province, Mt. Namuli, Muretha Plateau (15°23’04.5”S, 37°03’13.6”E, 1878 m a.s.l.), collected by J. Bayliss, 27 May 2007 (Fig. 8). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Lygodactylus regulus sp. nov. differs from all other species in the genus Lygodactylus, except for L. angularis, L. picturatus, and L. rex, in its larger body size (males 38–39 mm SVL, females 38–40 mm SVL). Lygodactylus regulus sp. nov. differs from both L. angularis and L. picturatus by having a mental with shallow lateral fissures (mental entire in L. angularis and L. picturatus), and by having a conspicuous ocellus above the shoulder, a trait shared with L. rex. From the latter it can be distinguished by having an overall smaller body size (L. regulus sp. nov.: males 38–39 mm SVL, females 38–40 mm SVL; L. rex: males 47–55 mm SVL, females 39–46 mm SVL), often having a condition of three postmentals rather than two postmentals (L. regulus sp. nov.: 75%, n = 4; L. rex: 37.5%, n = 16), males possessing a greater number of precloacal pores (L. regulus sp. nov.: 12–13; L. rex: 8–11), having more variability in the condition of contact of first infralabial with the postmental or postpostmentals (L. regulus sp. nov.: ranging from contact with postmental only to < 25% overlap with postpostmental; L. rex: ranging from < 25% overlap with postpostmental to 50% overlap with postpostmental), and sometimes displaying a pale dorsolateral stripe originating behind the eye and extending down the trunk. These two species can also be distinguished genetically using mitochondrial or nuclear markers, with average p-distance values between L. regulus sp. nov. and L. rex being 12.9% (ND2), 1.2% (MXRA5), and 3.0% (RAG-1). Finally, the two species are geographically well separated by over 160 km. 
CommentAbundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from Latin regulus = petty king, prince. The closest relative of this species is Lygodactylus rex, the King Dwarf Gecko or Regal Dwarf Gecko, which exhibits a larger body size and inhabits nearby Mt. Mulanje, Malawi, an overall larger massif than Mt. Namuli, Mozambique. Given the smaller body size, smaller size of the massif inhabited, and close relationship with the King Dwarf Gecko, we recommend the common name Prince Dwarf Gecko for this species. 
  • Conradie, Werner; Gabriela B. Bittencourt-Silva, Hanlie M. Engelbrecht, Simon P. Loader, Michele Menegon, Cristóvão Nanvonamuquitxo, Michael Scott, Krystal A. Tolley 2016. Exploration into the hidden world of Mozambique’s sky island forests: new discoveries of reptiles and amphibians. Zoosyst. Evol. 92 (2): 163–180, DOI 10.3897/zse.92.9948 - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • PORTIK, DANIEL M.; SCOTT L. TRAVERS, AARON M. BAUER, WILLIAM R. BRANCH 2013. A new species of Lygodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) endemic to Mount Namuli, an isolated ‘sky island’ of northern Mozambique. Zootaxa 3710 (5): 415–435 - get paper here
  • Travers, Scott L.; Todd R. Jackman, Aaron M. Bauer 2014. A molecular phylogeny of Afromontane dwarf geckos (Lygodactylus) reveals a single radiation and increased species diversity in a South African montane center of endemism. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
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