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Sitana dharwarensis AMBEKAR, MURTHY & MIRZA, 2020

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymSitana dharwarensis AMBEKAR, MURTHY & MIRZA 2020
Sitana laticeps — DEEPAK & KARANTH 2017: 56 (in part) 
DistributionIndia (Karnataka)

Type locality: India, Karnataka, Bagalkot; 16.139744° N, 75.672671° E; alt. 590 m  
TypesHolotype: NCBS-AL142, adult male; 14 Apr. 2018; M. Ambekar, A. Murthy & Z. Mirza leg. Paratypes: BNHS 2510, NCBS-AL143, 2 adult females, BNHS 2509, adult male; same data as for holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Sitana dharwarensis sp. nov. is a large sized species in relation to members of the Sitana spinaecephalus clade, males reaching SVL of 52 mm. Dewlap large, coloration in breeding males cream to off-white, extending up to 47% of the trunk. Parietal bone with a subtle indentation on the anterior border, maxillary bone short in its length and covers a smaller area of the snout, squamosal long and slender gradually tapering at both ends in a sharp tip and, quadrate robust and stout.
Sitana dharwarensis sp. nov. differs from most known species within the genera Sitana and Sarada Deepak et al., 2016 in bearing a white colored moderately large dewlap (vs. dewlap in shades of red, blue and black in Sarada spp., Sitana visiri Deepak, 2016, S. attenboroughii Sadasivan et al., 2018, S. marudhamneydhal Deepak et al., 2016, S. bahiri Amarasinghem et al. 2015, S. devakai Amarasinghe et al., 2015). The new species is similar to S. laticeps and S. spinaecephalus in sharing a white dewlap. It differs from S. laticeps in bearing a much larger dewlap, dewlap extending to about 47% of the trunk (vs. 29% in S. laticeps, 45% in S. spinaecephalus). Sitana dharwarensis sp. nov. further differs from S. laticeps in bearing a subtle indentation on the anterior border of parietal (vs. a deep indentation in S. laticeps, Fig. 2), the maxillary bone is short and covers a smaller area of the snout (vs. much longer and covering a larger area of the snout in S. laticeps), the squamosal is long and slender gradually tapering at both ends in a sharp tip (vs. squamosal short, abruptly ending in a blunt tip at both ends), quadrate is robust and stout (vs. slender in S. laticeps, Fig. 2).

Coloration in life. Dark-brown above with five dark rhomboidal markings on the trunk, first mark present just posterior to the neck and the last one on the flank. Each rhomboidal blotch has a light colored line running through it along the vertebral column. Limbs brown, banded with alternating dark and light bands. Head coloration same as the body, labials banded with light and dark bands. Dewlap yellowish white throughout with a steel-grey to blue line running from mental to a few scales below it. The colored line does not enter the dewlap and terminates just before the enlarged dewlap scales. Ventrally white. 
CommentHabitat: open dry scrub and rock terrain. The type locality is a barren hillock adjacent to a seasonal river. The locality is heavily disturbed from activities relating to stone quarrying. The species is common at the type locality and is found in gardens in the town.

Sympatry: Eutropis cf. carinata, Hemidactylus parvimaculatus, and Hemidactylus vijayraghavani. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet refers to the Dharwar Craton where the species is distributed. 
  • Ambekar, Mayuresh; Arya Murthy & Zeeshan A. Mirza 2020. A new species of fan-throated lizard of the genus Sitana Cuvier, 1829 (Squamata: Agamidae) from northern Karnataka, India. Bonn zoological Bulletin 69 (2): 157–164 - get paper here
  • Deepak, V., Karanth, P. 2017. Aridification driven diversification of fan-throated lizards from the Indian subcontinent. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
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