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Paroedura stellata HAWLITSCHEK & GLAW, 2012

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymParoedura stellata HAWLITSCHEK & GLAW 2012 
DistributionComoros archipelago (Mayotte)

Type locality: Mont Bénara (S12.8802, E45.16428, 624 m elevation), MAYOTTE, Comoros archipelago  
Reproductionoviparous, 2 eggs. 
TypesHolotype: ZSM 99⁄2010 (FGZC 4039), adult male with original tail, collected on 14 April 2010 by O. Hawlitschek, J. Berger and B. Bru ̈ ckmann. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Paroedura stellata differs from P. sanctijohannis by a lower longitudinal count of tubercles on the central dorsal row from neck to tail base (28–31 in P. stellata sp.n. vs. 31–40 in P. sanctijohannis, see Table 2), in having only 1 (exceptionally 2) granular scale between the supra- nasals rather than 2–3 (exceptionally 1) and in the pointed to spiny form of its tubercles at the back of the head, which are flat and smooth in P. sanctijohannis (Fig. 5). Adult coloration of the two species is often very similar, but P. stellata may express various degrees of the highly characteristic black-and-white ‘‘contrasting’’ colour pattern described below. The bright transversal bands on the dorsum of juveniles of P. stellata sp.n. do not extend down the flanks, while in P. sanctijohannis juveniles, par- ticularly the second anterior band extends to the ventral side.

Paroedura stumpffi and P. lohatsara are larger than P. stel- lata sp.n., attaining maximum SVL of 70 and 77 mm (vs. 62 mm), respectively. In P. stumpffi, the longitudinal count of tubercles on the central dorsal row is lower than in P. stellata sp.n. (24–26 vs. 28–31), and adults have a clearly defined brown stripe above the supralabials, which is diffuse or absent in P. stellata sp.n. In P. lohatsara, the nostril is not in contact with the rostral, the longitudinal count of tubercles on the central dorsal row is lower than in P. stellata sp.n. (24–26 vs. 28–31), and adults show a colour pat- tern of ochre with blackish reticulations. In both species, but not in P. stellata sp.n., the anteriormost dorsal transversal band extends down the neck, reaching the ventral side. Juveniles of P. stumpffi and P. lohatsara display a highly contrasting colour pattern, much brighter than P. stellata sp.n., with transversal bands extending down the flanks.

Paroedura stellata sp.n. is distinguished from species of the ‘‘picta group’’ by the position of the nostril. In the ‘‘picta group’’ species, P. androyensis, P. bastardi, P. ibityensis, P. picta and P. vahiny, the nostril is excluded from contact with the rostral. Paroedura vazimba resembles P. stellata sp.n. in the position of the nostril and adult coloration, but has a higher count of supralabial scales (13–19 fide Nussbaum & Raxworthy 2000, vs. 9–10 in P. stellata sp.n.). The remaining described species, P. gracilis, P. homalorhina, P. karstophila, P. maingoka, P. masobe, P. oviceps and P. tanjaka, do not show adult colour patterns resembling P. stellata sp.n. Furthermore, P. stellata sp.n. differs from other Paroedura species by genetic characters (see Figs 1 and 2, Table 1 and Jackman et al. 2008). 
EtymologyThe specific name is the feminine form of the Latin adjective ‘‘stellatus’’ and means ‘‘set with stars’’ or ‘‘starry.’’ It refers to the bright white dots that are evident (in varying degree) in juveniles and adults of this species. 
  • Hawlitschek, O. & Glaw, F. 2012. The complex colonization history of nocturnal geckos (Paroedura) in the Comoros Archipelago. Zoologica Scripta 42 (2): 135–150 [online Dec 2012, in print March 2013] - get paper here
  • Hawlitschek, Oliver 2013. Ein Komoren-Gecko und das Problem der neuen Online-Taxonomie. Terraria-Elaphe 2013 (4): 46-47 - get paper here
  • Volta, K.-U. & H.-P. Berghof 2017. Paroedura stellata. Ein seltener Stern am Terraristik-Firmament. Reptilia (Münster) 22 (125): 36-41
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