Cnemaspis flavigaster, Onn, Chan Kin & Grismer, Lee, 2008

Onn, Chan Kin & Grismer, Lee, 2008, A new species of Cnemaspis Strauch 1887 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, Zootaxa 1877, pp. 49-57: 51-55

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.184144

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Cnemaspis flavigaster

sp. nov.

Cnemaspis flavigaster   sp. nov.

Figures 2 View FIGURE 2 , 3 View FIGURE 3 , 4 View FIGURE 4

Cnemaspis affinis Boulenger 1912: 39   Cnemaspis kumpoli Dring 1979: 223   .

Holotype. Adult male (HC00282) collected at 2030 h on 12 April 2008 by Chan Kin Onn on the side of a fallen log in drizzling rain along the canopy walk trail at Forest Research Institute Malaysia ( FRIM), state of Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia (3 ° 14 ’ 23.04 ” N 101 ° 37 ’ 59.80 ” E).

Paratypes. One male (HC00286) and four females ( ZRC 2.6708, ZRC 2.6709, ZRC 2.6710, ZRC 2.6711) were collected on the same night and at the same location as the holotype.

Diagnosis. Cnemaspis flavigaster   differs from all other species of Cnemaspis   in the region by the following combination of characters: maximum SVL of 50.1 mm; 9 or 10 supralabials; 8–10 infralabials; scales on anterior portion of forearm keeled; smooth ventral scales; no femoral pores; seven or eight preanal pores in males; no linearly arranged rows of tubercles on flanks; paravertebral longitudinal rows of caudal tubercles and lateral caudal rows anteriorly; smooth subcaudals with no single row of keeled subcaudals; no enlarged median subcaudal scale row; no shield-like subtibial scales; enlarged submetatarsal scale on first toe; 29–34 subdigital lamellae on fourth toe; white markings on flanks; distinct, large dark spots on neck and dorsal part of body; orange colored belly; posterior 25 % of tail not white; these differences are summarized and compared for all Southeast Asian species in Grismer & Chan (2008 b; Table 1).

Description of holotype. Adult male; SVL 46.9 mm; head oblong in dorsal profile; moderate in size (HL/ SVL 0.27), narrow (HW/SVL 0.16), flattened (HD/HL 0.36), distinct from neck; snout short (ES/HL 0.44), slightly concave in lateral profile, longer than eye diameter; postnasal region constricted medially, concave; rostral scales smooth and enlarged; canthus rostralis smooth, rounded; eye large (ED/HL 0.19); pupil round; extra-brillar fringe scales larger on anterior margin; ear opening oval, taller than wide; eye to ear distance greater than eye diameter; rostral almost completely divided vertically by shallow groove; rostral contacted dorsoposteriorly by two large supranasals and one small azygous scale and posterolaterally by one lower postnasal and first supralabial; supralabials nine (R), 10 (L) decreasing in size posteriorly; infralabials nine (R) eight (L) decreasing in size posteriorly; nostrils elliptical, located dorsolaterally and in contact with rostral scale; mental smooth, large; bordered posteriorly by three postmentals; gular scales flat, smooth, granular, juxtaposed; throat scales weakly keeled, imbricate.

HC ZRC ZRC ZRC HC ZRC 0 0 282 2.6708 2.6709 2.6710 0 0 286 2.6711 holotype paratype paratype paratype paratype paratype

Sex m m f f f f

Maximum SVL (mm) 46.9 48.0 47.3 42.2 50.1 47.4 Supralabials 9 10 9 10 10 9

Infralabials 9 8 8 9 10 8

Preanal pores present (1) or absent (0) 1 1 0 0 0 0

No. of preanal pores 8 7 / / / /

Postcloacal spurs present (1) or absent (0) 1 1 1 0 1 1

No. of 4 th toe lamellae 30 33 33 29 34 32 Body slender, elongate; dorsal caudal scales granular, keeled, conical in shape, granular and more or less equal in size throughout body; spinose tubercles of different sizes randomly distributed across the body; tubercles of ventralmost row on flank widely spaced and randomly distributed; ventral scales flat, smooth and slightly larger than dorsal scales; eight precloacal pores arranged in a chevron, not separated by intervening scales lacking pores; no femoral pores.

Forelimbs moderately long and slender; dorsal scales of brachium raised, weakly keeled; scales of forearm same size as brachials, heavily keeled on anterior margin; ventral scales of brachium and forearm slightly raised, smooth; palmar scales rounded, juxtaposed; digits long with an inflected joint; claws very slightly recurved; subdigital lamellae unnotched; an enlarged submetacarpal scale between the first and second metacarpals; no interdigital webbing; fingers increase in length from first to fourth, fourth and fifth finger equal in length; hind limbs slightly longer and thicker than forelimbs; dorsal scales of thigh and tibia keeled, raised, conical in shape; ventral scales of thigh flat, granular, keeled at the upper and posterior margin; subtibial scales flat, imbricate and keeled; plantar scales raised, rounded, juxtaposed; an enlarged submetatarsal scale between the first and second metatarsals; no interdigital webbing; toes increase in length from first to fourth, fourth and fifth toes equal in length; 30 (R), 29 (L) subdigital lamellae on fourth toe.

Tail swollen at the base, tapering to a point; dorsal caudal scales granular, keeled; juxtaposed anteriorly, slightly imbricate posteriorly; middorsal and single lateral furrow present; enlarged, paravertebral, spinose tubercles decrease in size posteriorly; a series of similar but smaller dorsolateral tubercles on anterior portion of tail, decreasing in size posteriorly; two (L), one (R) enlarged postcloacal tubercle(s) on lateral surface of hemipenial swellings at base of tail; no paravertebral or ventrolateral subcaudal tubercles; subcaudal scales flat, smooth, slightly imbricate and varying in size; posterior half of tail with a series of enlarged, smooth median scales, alternating with three to four normal sized scales.

Coloration in life ( Fig. 2 View FIGURE 2 ). Dorsal ground color brown to dark grey; top of snout overlain with randomly distributed, pale yellow and dark blotches; sides of head with yellow markings; three faint postocular stripes radiate from behind eye; three dark spots across occiput anteriorly with another elliptical medial spot posteriorly; paired paravertebral spots on nape; dorsolateral streak from nape to forelimb insertion extending onto brachium; seven paired paravertebral dorsal spots on body alternating with large whitish blotches from shoul- der to base of tail; another series of spots on flanks; flanks with irregular yellow blotches; dorsal part of limbs with irregular dark and light markings; alternating dark and light bands encircle digits; underside of head, throat and forelimbs whitish in color and mottled with fine, dark stippling; chest, abdomen and underside of tail orange; black and dull white bands nearly encircle tail; posterior 25 % of tail not white; yellow color lost after preservation.

Variation. The paratypes approximate the holotype closely in coloration and pattern ( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 ). The male paratype ( ZRC 2.6708) resembles the male holotype (HC00282) in overall pattern but has a ground color that is slightly lighter. The pair of paravertebral dorsal spots just behind the forelimbs of ZRC 2.6709 is relatively larger in comparison to the other specimens in the type series. The entire tail of ZRC 2.6710 is regenerated, uniform grey and has no tubercles or encircling dark bands. In ZRC 2.6708, ZRC 2.6710 and ZRC 2.6711, the paravertebral spots closest to the midline are small and elliptical and in some instances composed of two spots on each side. ZRC 2.6711 has a broken tail. Sexual dimorphism doesn’t seem to be apparent in this species. See Table 1 for variation in meristics.

Distribution. Cnemaspis flavigaster   is currently known from only two locations in the state of Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia; the Forest Research Institute Malaysia ( FRIM) and Batu Caves. This species probably encompasses a wider distributional range and new locality records are expected.

Natural History. A few individuals were seen during the day on the underside of boulders when they were much more wary and would retreat into crevices at the slightest disturbance. More lizards were observed at night where they ventured out further onto the outer surfaces of boulders and were much more approachable. A few individuals were spotted on fallen logs and tree trunks. None were seen on leaves or branches.

Etymology. The specific epithet flavigaster   is derived from the Latin flavus meaning yellow and the Greek gaster meaning belly or stomach in reference to the this species’ orange belly.

Comparisons to other species. Cnemaspis flavigaster   can be distinguished from C.affinis   , C.argus   , C. baueri   , C. boulengeri   , C. dringi   , C. nigridia   , C. pemanggilensis   , and C. siamensis   by having keeled forearm scales and from C. dezwaani   , C. flavolineata   , C. jacobseni   , C. kendallii   , C.limi   , C. modiglianiii   and C. whittenorum   by having smooth instead of keeled ventral scales. The ventralmost row of body tubercles is not composed of tubercles that are linearly arranged in Cnemaspis flavigaster   which differentiates it from C. boulengeri   , C. aurantiacopes   , and C. tucdupensis   . Cnemaspis flavigaster   has smooth subcaudal scales unlike C. affinis   , C. argus   , C. dezwaani   , C. dringi   , C. flavolineata   , C. jacobseni   , C. kendallii   , C. modiglianiii   , C. pemanggilensis   , C. siamensis   and C. perhentianensis   . Cnemaspis flavigaster   does not have a single median row of keeled subcaudals which differentiates it from C. aurantiacopes   , C. dezwaani   , C. jacobseni   , C.kendallii   , C. nuicamensis   (weakly keeled), C. pemanggilensis   , C. phuketensis   and C. tucdupensis   . Unlike C. boulengeri   , C. dezwaani   , C. jacobseni   , C. kendallii   , C. limi   , C. modigianii   , C. nigridia   , C. pemanggilensis   , C. phuketensis   , C. siamensis   , C. whittenorum   , C. aurantiacopes   , C. nuicamensis   , and C. tucdupensis   , C. flavigaster   lacks an enlarged, median subcaudal row of scales. Cnemaspis flavigaster   differs from all other Southeast Asian Cnemaspis   except C. flavolineata   , C. kumpoli   , C. pemanggilensis   , C. caudanivea   , C. aurantiacopes   , C. nuicamensis   , and C. tucdupensis   in having more than 27 subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe. Cnemaspis flavigaster   differs from all other Southeast Asian species of Cnemaspis   except C. dringi   , C. flavolineata   , C. kumpoli   , C. pemanggilensis   and C. perhentianensis   in having distinctive white markings on the flanks. Cnemaspis flavigaster   differs from all other Southeast Asian species of Cnemaspis   except C. boulengeri   , C. baueri   , C.kumpoli   and C.perhentianensis   in having as opposed to lacking, distinct large, dark, markings on the neck. Cnemaspis flavigaster   differs from C. baueri   , C. boulengeri   , C. kendallii   , C. limi   , C. nigridia   , C. phuketensis   , C. aurantiacopes   , and C. nuicamensis   in having as opposed to lacking, black bands on the tail. With the exception of Cnemaspis chantaburiensis   , C, flavigaster   differs from all other Southeast Asian species of Cnemaspis   by having an orange belly. These and additional character states are summarized in Grismer & Chan (2008 b; Table 1).


Forest Research Institute, Malaysia


Zoological Reference Collection, National University of Singapore














Cnemaspis flavigaster

Onn, Chan Kin & Grismer, Lee 2008

Cnemaspis affinis

Dring 1979: 223
Boulenger 1912: 39