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Lygodactylus roavolana PUENTE, GLAW, VIEITES & VENCES, 2009

IUCN Red List - Lygodactylus roavolana - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymLygodactylus roavolana PUENTE, GLAW, VIEITES & VENCES 2009: 32
Lygodactylus roavolana — RÖLL et al. 2010
Lygodactylus roavolana — GIPPNER et al. 2021 

Type locality: Manantantely (approximately 46°55'E, 24°59'S, close to sea level), southeastern Madagascar.  
TypesHolotype: ZSM 5115/2005 (field number FGZC 2324), adult male, collected on 3 February 2005 by P. Bora, F. Glaw & M. Vences. No paratypes. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The new species can be assigned to the L. pictus group based on the characters listed in the group definition above, especially by the presence of a semi-divided mental scale and the presence of two postmental scales. Within this group, it differs from L. pictus and L. tuberosus by the presence of a large and very distinct black spot (encircling a smaller white spot) above and in front of the insertion of forelimbs (absent in L. pictus, only small spots present in L. tuberosus). It further differs from L. pictus by having 7 infralabial scales (vs. 4–6), and from L. pictus and L. tuberosus by the apparent absence of a claw on the first finger. Species in the L. madagascariensis group share with the new species a number of only two postmentals and the absence of a claw on the first finger, but in these species, the mental scale is undivided. A claw on the first finger is also absent in L. mirabilis, L. intermedius and L. montanus, but these species are readily distinguished by their keeled or partially keeled dorsal scales (versus granular dorsal scales in L. roavolana). We cannot fully exclude that the absence of a claw on the first finger in the new species may be an artefact, because we could verify it on only one forelimb in a single specimen. However, the new species is also diagnosed by its unique colour pattern: the conspicuous pair of large ocellae above the forelimbs is not known from any other species of Malagasy Lygodactylus. (PUENTE et al. 2009) 
CommentHabitat and distribution: The holotype was collected in the late afternoon, active on a tree trunk in disturbed low-altitude rainforest, ca. 1 m above the ground. This species has apparently not been detected during previous surveys in the nearby Andohahela reserve (Andreone & Randriamahazo 1997, Nussbaum et al. 1999). However, the species has more recently been recorded from this reserve (Theisinger 2008). 
EtymologyThe name “roavolana” refers to the Malagasy words roa meaning “two” and volana meaning “moon”, and refers to the two extremely conspicuous ocellae of the new species. The name is used as a noun in apposition. 
  • Gippner, Sven, Scott L Travers, Mark D Scherz, Timothy J Colston, Mariana L Lyra, Ashwini V Mohan, Malte Multzsch, et al. 2021. A Comprehensive Phylogeny of Dwarf Geckos of the Genus Lygodactylus, with Insights into Their Systematics and Morphological Variation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 107311 - get paper here
  • Hofmann, T. 2010. Beobachtungen an Lygodactylus roavolana PUENTE, GLAW, VIEITES & VENCES, 2009 im Südosten Madagaskars. Sauria 32 (1): 59-61 - get paper here
  • PUENTE, MARTA; FRANK GLAW, DAVID R. VIEITES & MIGUEL VENCES 2009. Review of the systematics, morphology and distribution of Malagasy dwarf geckos, genera Lygodactylus and Microscalabotes (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 2103: 1-76 - get paper here
  • Röll, Beate; Heike Pröhl, Klaus-Peter Hoffmann 2010. Multigene phylogenetic analysis of Lygodactylus dwarf geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56 (1): 327-335 - get paper here
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