Description of a new species of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from the Nilgala Savannah forest, Uva Province of Sri Lanka.

Affiliation

Nature Explorations and Education Team, No: B-1 / G-6, De Soysapura Flats, Moratuwa 10400, Sri Lanka. [Email]

Abstract

A new species of Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 is described from Nilgala Savannah Forest in Sri Lanka. The new species is diagnosed from all other congeners by the following suite of characters: small body size (SVL< 33 mm), dorsal scales on trunk homogeneous, one pair of post mentals separated by a single small chin scale, ventral scales on trunk smooth, subimbricate, 17-19 scales across the belly. Subdigitals scansors smooth, entire, unnotched; lamellae under digit IV of pes 17 -18. Males with femoral pores on each thigh but lacking precloacal pores. Median row of subcaudals smooth, subimbricate, enlarged and in an irregular series of subhexagonal scales. This new species had been previously confused with Cnemaspis alwisi Wickramasinghe Munidradasa, 2007. The new species differs from Cnemaspis alwisi by having 122-129 ventral scales (versus 146-152), 7-8 supralabials (versus 8-10), and relatively shorter SVL ranging between 31.5-32.9 mm (versus 37.8-39.9 mm). Further, the new species is genetically divergent from Cnemaspis alwisi, the species that it closely resembles by 13.5% and 7.8% from its sister species in the ND2 gene. The present discovery highlights the need for dedicated herpetofaunal explorations in Sri Lanka, especially the intermediate bioclimatic zone and associated cave systems and rock outcrops.

Keywords

Reptilia, Autecology, Conservation, Microendemic, Reproduction, Systematics, Threats,