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Phyllurus pinnaclensis HOSKIN, BERTOLA & HIGGIE, 2019

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Higher TaxaCarphodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Pinnacles Leaf-tailed Gecko 
SynonymPhyllurus pinnaclensis HOSKIN, BERTOLA & HIGGIE 2019 
DistributionAustralia (NE Queensland)

Type locality: The Pinnacles (19.410°S, 146.614°E)  
TypesHolotype. QM J96418, adult male, 2 November 2015, C. J. Hoskin & M. Higgie. Paratypes. None. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Distinguished from congeners by the following characters: cylindrical, tapering tail; rostral scale partially divided by a single groove; high internasal count (7–10, typically 9 or 10); high subdigital lamellae count under the 4th toe (19–21); original tail long (> 85% SVL) and largely devoid of tubercles after the basal quarter.

Comparison. Phyllurus pinnaclensis sp. nov. could only be confused with congeners with a cylindrical, tapering tail. Of these, it is readily distinguished from P. caudiannulatus Covacevich, 1975 and P. kabikabi Couper, Hamley & Hoskin, 2008 by a partially divided rostral scale (versus completely divided). From P. gulbaru, it is distinguished by a high internasal count (P. gulbaru mean 6.5, range 5–8; P. pinnaclensis sp. nov. mean 9.1, range 7–10); high subdigital lamellae count under the 4th toe (P. gulbaru mean 17.9, range 16–19; P. pinnaclensis sp. nov. mean 20.0, range 19–21); longer original tail (P. gulbaru T/SVL mean 0.80, range 0.71–0.84; P. pinnaclensis sp. nov. T/SVL mean 0.90, range 0.88–0.91) and regenerated tail (P. gulbaru T/SVL mean 0.61, range 0.50–0.71; P. pinnaclensis sp. nov. T/SVL mean 0.73; range 0.73) (Table 1); and original tail largely devoid of prominent tubercles past the basal quarter (versus prominent tubercles on at least basal half in P. gulbaru). A relatively straightforward and near-diagnostic trait to assess in the field is the number of internasals, with > 90% of P. gulbaru individuals (N = 36) having < 8 (5–7) and 90% of P. pinnaclensis sp. nov. (N = 10) having > 8 (9–10; but one aberrant individual had 7). 
CommentGenetics. Approximately 6.4% divergent from P. gulbaru for ND2 mtDNA.

Habitat: Layered rock with associated rainforest (‘vine-forest’) vegetation. One site consists of piled, angular rock (Fig. 6A) associated with a gully, another site consists of piled, rounded, granite boulders along a gully (Fig. 6B), and the third site consists of deeply piled, granite boulders along a gully and adjacent slopes. At all sites, P. pinnaclensis sp. nov. was found on rock surfaces at night.

Conservation: this is one of the most-threatened reptile species in Australia (Geyle et al. 2021). 
EtymologyRefers to The Pinnacles, the locality to which this species appears to be restricted. 
  • Geyle, H. M., Tingley, R., Amy, A., Cogger, H., Couper, P., Cowan, M., Craig, M., Doughty, P., Driscoll, D., Ellis, R., Emery, J-P., Fenner, A., Gardner, M., Garnett, S., Gillespie, G., Greenless, M., Hoskin, C., Keogh, S., Lloyd, R., ... Chapple, D. 2020. Reptiles on the brink: Identifying the Australian terrestrial snake and lizard species most at risk of extinction. Pacific Conservation Biology - get paper here
  • HOSKIN, CONRAD J.; LORENZO V. BERTOLA, MEGAN HIGGIE 2019. A new species of Phyllurus leaf-tailed gecko (Lacertilia: Carphodactylidae) from The Pinnacles, north-east Australia. Zootaxa 4576 (1): 127–139 - get paper here
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