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Woodworthia korowai VAN WINKEL, WELLS, HARKER & HITCHMOUGH, 2023

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Korowai gecko, Muriwai gecko 
SynonymWoodworthia korowai VAN WINKEL, WELLS, HARKER & HITCHMOUGH 2023
Woodworthia aff. maculata “Muriwai” HITCHMOUGH et al. 2016 
DistributionNew Zealand (Auckland)

Type locality: Muriwai Beach, Auckland, New Zealand (36°47’49.69”S, 174°24’32.34”E; ~1 km accuracy; ~5 m a.s.l.)  
TypesHolotype. AWMM LH02445 (adult female), collected by S. E. Thorpe on 6 September 2003.
Paratypes (three specimens). AWMM LH4067 (adult female) from Oaia Island, Muriwai, Auckland, New Zealand; 36°50’26.32”S, 174°24’39.79”E; 20 m a.s.l.; collected by D. van Winkel and C. J. Wedding on 5 April 2014. AWMM LH4068 (adult male) from Muriwai Beach, Auckland, New Zealand; 36°47’4.27”S, 174°24’1.19”E; 5 m a.s.l.; by D. van Winkel on 18 November 2020. AWMM LH4069 (adult male) from Woodhill Forest, Auckland, New Zealand; 36°41’59.61”S, 174°21’20.37”E; 19 m a.s.l.; collected by an anonymous person, surrendered to N. Harker in December 2012. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A combination of transversely expanded and V-shaped rather than straight lamellae, small body size (≤ 100mm SVL), and rostral scale excluded from nares, as well as its phylogenetic position identify the species as a member of the genus Woodworthia. Woodworthia korowai sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Woodworthia species by the following combination of characters: adult body length up to 68 mm SVL; rostral scale not in contact with nares, separated by suture between anterior supranasal and first infralabial; rostral scale (< 2.5x versus > 2.5x as wide as deep); 13–15 subdigital lamellae under the fourth digit of the pes; and 3–5 (versus > 5) scale rows under the distal phalanx of the fourth toe (Fig. 9A). It is distinguished from W. chrysosiretica and W. “southern mini” by a narrower and deeper rostral scale (< 2.5x versus > 2.5x as wide as deep), and further from W. “southern mini” by the higher number of subdigital lamellae under the fourth digit of the pes (13–15 versus 8–13). It can be distinguished from W. “Mount Arthur” by the following suite of characters: 13–15 (versus 9–12) lamellae under the fourth toe; 3–5 scale rows (versus 5–6, Fig. 9E) under the distal phalanx of the fourth toe; and on average: relatively narrower head (0.66 versus 0.71 HW/HL); shorter body proportions (0.86 versus 1.04 SF/AG); and shorter distal phalanx on fourth toe (0.24 versus 0.34 4TDPL/4FTL). It is distinguished from Woodworthia maculata sensu stricto by the following suite of characters: 9–11 supralabial scales (versus 10–14); 8–11 infralabial scales (versus 9–14); 3–5 scale rows (versus 5–8; Figs 9C & D) under the distal phalanx of the fourth toe; and on average: relatively narrower head (0.66 versus 0.72 HW/HL); smaller eye (0.19 versus 0.21 ED/HL); shorter fourth toe length (0.10 versus 0.12 4TL/SVL); and shorter distal phalanx on fourth toe (0.24 versus 0.30 4TDPL/4FTL). Table 6 compares characters of Woodworthia korowai sp. nov. with its two most closely related congeners. Diagnostics are not given for W. chrysosiretica, nor for any other undescribed Woodworthia species as formal taxonomic descriptions for these are in preparation (R. Hitchmough, S.V. Nielsen and A. Bauer, unpub. data). None of the undescribed taxa resemble W. korowai sp. nov. and all are allopatrically distributed. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is from the te reo Māori word korowai, referencing Te Korowai-o-Te-Tonga, the traditional name for South Head or South Kaipara Peninsula where the stronghold of this species occurs. Ko- rowai is also a Māori term for a cloak, some of which the colour and patterns closely resemble those of the gecko. Furthermore, the English translation of Te Korowai-o-Te-Tonga (“the cloak of the south”) represents a metaphor for the covering, hiding, or concealing the species’ existence until relatively recently. The specific epithet was given by Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, the mana whenua (the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand who have historic and territorial rights over the land) of Te Korowai-o-Te-Tonga. 
  • WINKEL, DYLAN VAN; SARAH J. WELLS; NICHOLAS HARKER; RODNEY A. HITCHMOUGH 2023. On the sand and among the crowds: a new species of Woodworthia gecko (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae) from Auckland, Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Zootaxa 5374 (2): 263-294
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