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Sitana spinaecephalus DEEPAK, VYAS & GIRI, 2016

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Spiny-headed fan-throated lizard 
SynonymSitana spinaecephalus DEEPAK, VYAS & GIRI in DEEPAK et al. 2016: 93 
DistributionIndia (Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan), elevation 40-1038 m.

Type locality: Halol, georeferenced latitude N22.43163°, longitude E73.62966°, Panchmahal District, Gujarat State  
ReproductionOviparous. Breeding males were found during May until the first week of June. Gravid females were found between the second and last week of June. 
TypesHolotype: NCBS AQ055, an adult male, collected by Kartik Upadhay and V. Deepak on 10 May 2013.
Paratypes. BNHS 2320, adult female. Mandan, georeferenced latitude E73.4958o, longitude N21.76298o, Rajpipala, Narmada District, Gujarat State, collected by Raju Vyas, Kartik Upadhay and V. Deepak on 11 May 2013. CES 141164, adult male. Badlapur, georeferenced latitude N19.17234o, longitude E73.26338o, Thane District, Maharashtra State, collected by Saunak Pal on 30 April 2013.
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Sitana spinaecephalus sp. nov. can be distinguished from all the members of S. ponticeriana clade in having a weakly-serrated dewlap with only a single blue line and white or yellowish color on the dewlap. Sitana spinaecephalus sp. nov. can be easily distinguished from the members of S. sivalensis com- plex by having a dewlap extending posteriorly beyond the forearm insertion. Sitana spinaecephalus sp. nov. can be distinguished from Sitana laticeps sp. nov. in having a proportionally larger dewlap (extending pos- teriorly 45% of the trunk length vs 29%). Additionally S. spinaecephalus sp. nov. can be distinguished from S. laticeps sp. nov. in having four prominent and distinguishable spines on the back of the head (vs having four less prominent and indistinguishable spines) (compare Fig. 12C and Fig. 13C) and their larger body size (Table 3). Sitana spinaecephalus sp. nov. are me- dium sized lizards; males (48.5 ± 2.9), females (44.8 ± 4.2). Details on morphometric data, scale counts and body ratios of select characters for multiple samples are given in Table 3, 7 and 8 in Deepak et al. 2016: 77, 90.
CommentDistribution: see map in Deepak et al. 2016: 80 (Fig. 8).

Synonymy: Deepak et al. 2016 identified five specimens considered invalid syntypes of Sitana deccanensis housed in ZSI, Kolkata as Sitana spinaecephalus sp. nov. These five specimens were collected from southeast of Berar and Chanda. Chanda (now Chandrapur) is in eastern Maharashtra and Berar was a vast area in the central province, which included Nagpur (Maharashtra) in the west and Sambalpur (Odisha) in the East (Fig. 8 in Deepak et al. 2016).

Habitat: grassland with abundant grass in- terspersed with thorny scrub. Other habitat types include rocky river beds, and scrub dominated by Prosopis sp. Sitana spinaecephalus sp. nov. is a terrestrial lizard, and was observed basking on rocks as well as on twigs (Deepak et al. 2016: 97).

Sympatry: Sarada deccanensis in a few locations across the southern portion of its range (Fig. 8). Brachysaura minor, Acanthodactylus cantoris, Calotes versicolor, Ophisops sp. and Uromastyx hardwikii are some of the diurnal lizards found in similar habitats in some locations. 
EtymologyThe species epithet is named as ‘spinae’, Latin for spine, and ‘cephalus’, Greek for head, referring to the row of four spine-like enlarged scales bordering occipital region. 
  • Ardesana, R., R. Jhala & M. Bharad 2018. A preliminary report on reptiles of Khirasara Vidi, Rajkot District, Gujarat, India. Reptile Rap#180. In: Zoo’s Print 33(2): 17:22 - get paper here
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  • Deepak, V.; Varad B. Giri, Mohammad Asif, Sushil Kumar Dutta, Raju Vyas, Amod M. Zambre, Harshal Bhosale, K. Praveen Karanth 2016. Systematics and phylogeny of Sitana (Reptilia: Agamidae) of Peninsular India, with the description of one new genus and five new species. Contributions to Zoology 85 (1): 67-111 - get paper here
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  • Patel, Harshil; Raju Vyas, Vaibhav Naik, Bhautik Dudhatra & Shantilal K. Tank 2018. Herpetofauna of the Northern Western Ghats of Gujarat, India. Zoology and Ecology, DOI: 10.1080/21658005.2018.1499237 - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju and B.M. Parasharya 2016. Amphibian and Reptilian Inventories Augmented by Sampling at Heronries. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 23 (1): 68–73 - get paper here
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