Uroplatus finaritra RATSOAVINA, RASELIMANANA, SCHERZ, RAKOTOARISON, RAZAFINDRAIBE, GLAW & VENCES, 2019
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|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Synonym||Uroplatus finaritra RATSOAVINA, RASELIMANANA, SCHERZ, RAKOTOARISON, RAZAFINDRAIBE, GLAW & VENCES 2019|
Uroplatus sp. G — RAXWORTHY et al. 2008
Uroplatus sp. Ca9 — RATSOAVINA et al. 2013
|Distribution||N Madagascar (Marojejy National Park)|
Type locality: eastern slope of Marojejy by a tributary of the Ampanasatongotra River, Marojejy National Park, Sava Region, northern Madagascar, at ca. 14.4559°S, 49.7749°E (780 m a.s.l.)
|Reproduction||oviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022)|
|Types||Holotype. UADBA R 70489 (field number APR 12522), adult female, collected on the night of 15 May 2016 by A. P. Raselimanana. Paratypes. UADBA-R 70493 (field number APR 12591), adult male, UADBA-R 70490 (APR 12590), adult male, and UADBA-R 70491 (APR 12589), adult female, three specimens collected in the same locality as the holotype (750–810 m a.s.l.) on 18 May 2016 by A. P. Raselimanana; UADBA-R 70492 (APR 12691), adult male, and UADBA-R 70494 (APR 12692), juvenile female, two specimens collected on the western slope of Marojejy by Tsiasisa River, 2.2 km east of Antanimbaribe, Marojejy National Park, Sava Region, northern Madagascar, at ca. 14.5074°S, 49.6153°E (845 m a.s.l.) on the night of 28 May 2016 by A. P. Raselimanana; UADBA-R 70501 (MSZC 0253), subadult female, ZSM 458/2016 (MSZC 0271), subadult female, two specimens collected near the path below Camp 1 (Camp Mantella) of Marojejy National Park, Sava Region, northern Madagascar, at ca. 14.438°S, 49.776°E (450 m a.s.l.) on 21–23 November 2016 by M. D. Scherz, M. Bletz, A. Rakotoarison, J. Razafindraibe, A. Razafimanantsoa, and M. Vences.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. is assigned to the Uroplatus ebenaui group based on its relatively small size and its triangular head with supraocular spines, and overall leaf-mimicking aspect. It is characterised by (1) a dark red oral mucosa, (2) a comparatively large body size (82.5–95.3 mm SVL in adults), (3) 7–8 lamellae (exceptionally 6) under the third finger and toe, and (4) a long (length 53–65% of SVL), wide (width 16–18% of SVL), leaf-shaped tail. It differs from all members of the U. fimbriatus group (U. fimbriatus, U. giganteus, U. henkeli, U. sikorae, and U. sameiti) and U. lineatus by its smaller size (SVL 82.5–95.3 mm vs. 85–200 mm) and the lack of lateral dermal fringes on any part of the body (vs. presence except in U. lineatus). Also, Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. diverges from the species of the U. fimbriatus group by their lack of lateral body compression. The prominent triangular head, supraocular spines, and rather smooth skin distinguish Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. from U. alluaudi, U. guentheri, U. malahelo and U. pietschmanni.|
Amongst the U. ebenaui group, the rather long tail (TAL/SVL 0.53–0.68) differentiates Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. from U. ebenaui, U. fiera, U. fotsivava, and U. kelirambo (TAL/SVL 0.22–0.44), and furthermore it differs from U. fiera and U. fotsivava by a pigmented oral mucosa (vs. unpigmented). The new species differs from U. finiavana by a wider tail (TAW/SVL 0.16–0.18 vs. 0.05–0.14), and by its pigmented oral mucosa (vs. unpigmented).
By its large tail and pigmented oral mucosa, the new species is most similar to U. malama and U. phantasticus. It differs from U. phantasticus by larger size (SVL 83–95 mm vs. 52–76 mm), a generally shorter tail (TAL/SVL 0.53–0.65 vs. 0.62–0.76), a typically higher number of lamellae under the third finger and toe (6–8 vs. 5–7), and the absence of black pigment of the oral mucosa (oral mucosa dark red vs. black). It differs from U. malama by a spinier integument in some adult males, by the absence of black pigment of the oral mucosa (oral mucosa dark red vs. black), and probably by a narrower tail (TAW/SVL 0.16–0.18 vs. 0.24).
In the mitochondrial phylogeny, the new species occupies an isolated position within the U. ebenaui group, without affinities to the morphologically similar U. phantasticus and U. malama (which are not each other's closest relatives either). The nuclear gene c-mos reveals haplotype sharing of the new species with U. kelirambo and two undescribed candidate species (U. sp. Ca3 and Ca4) occurring in the same region of Madagascar, but morphologically very different by their short tails.
|Comment||Habitat: The holotype was collected active at night on a stem 0.5 m above the forest floor in nearly closed canopy humid forest at the bottom of a slope, in the vicinity of a Uroplatus lineatus specimen. UADBA-R 70490, 70491, and 70493 were collected on small branches and leaves between 1.5 and 2.5 m above the ground in similar forest. UADBA-R 70492 and 70494 were also active on branches 3–4.5 m from the forest floor in nearly closed-canopy humid forest with a thick understory and ferns. UADBA-R 70501 and ZSM 458/2016 were collected active at night on thin branches (up to 4 m above the ground) in closed-canopy, low-altitude rainforest.|
|Etymology||Finaritra is a Malagasy word for special greetings but also means healthy and happy. We refer to our delight in describing this splendid and exceptionally large species from a clade of generally small-sized leaf-tailed geckos. The name is an invariable noun in apposition.|
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