Cyrtodactylus zugi , Oliver, Paul, Tjaturadi, Burhan, Krey, Keliopas & Richards, Stephen, 2008

Oliver, Paul, Tjaturadi, Burhan, Krey, Keliopas & Richards, Stephen, 2008, A new species of large Cyrtodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Melanesia, Zootaxa 1894, pp. 59-68: 60-67

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.184390

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Cyrtodactylus zugi

sp. nov.

Cyrtodactylus zugi  sp. nov.

Figures 1–3View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2View FIGURE 3

Holotype: MZB lace 5574 (F-num SJR 7689), adult female with entire original tail, detached at base during collection, collected on large tree trunk in lowland rainforest adjacent to Yakut Camp, Batanta Island, Raja Ampat Archipelago, Papua Barat Province, Indonesia (00o 53.749 ’S, 130 o 38.498 ’E; elevation ~ 10 m asl) on 18 June 2005 by K. Krey, B. Tjaturadi and S. Richards.

Paratypes: MZB lace 5575 (F-num SJR 7690) adult female with regrown tail, MZB lace 5573 (F-num 7749) adult female with regrown tail and damaged snout, both specimens with same collection information as the holotype except MZB lace 5573 collected 21 June 0 5.

Diagnosis. Cyrtodactulus zugi  sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other Melanesian Cyrtodactylus  by the combination of large size (SVL up to 159 mm), robust build (HW/SVL 0.21–0.22), precloacal groove absent, subcaudal scales less than twice width of lateral and dorsal caudal scales, relatively small rounded tubercles along the lateral fold, a series of enlarged ventral tubercles present below the lateral fold, enlarged tubercles on ventral surface of head confined to the region around the angle of the lower jaw, moderate number of enlarged precloacal and femoral scales (> 28) arranged in straight or almost straight series, and dorsal colouration consisting of 3–4 very dark greyish-brown indistinct dorsal blotchess between the head and tail.

Description of holotype. A large, robust gecko (SVL 159.0 mm), head long (HL/SVL 0.265), wide (HW/ HL 0.744) and very distinct from neck. Skin missing (damaged) in thin triangular section extending from just dorsal of the rostral to halfway up the snout. Loreal region slightly inflated, interorbital region and top of snout concave, canthus rostralis very weakly defined. Snout relatively long, much longer than eye diameter. Eyes relatively large, pupil vertical, supraciliaries prominent and frill like, extending over dorsal half of eye. Ear opening relatively small (Ear/HL= 0.098), much wider than high, surrounded by ventral, posterior and dorsal skinfolds.

Rostral approximately twice as wide (7.2 mm) as high (3.8 mm), with slight medial depression, widest at the ventral edge of the nares, indistinct suture extending down left side from midpoint almost to jaw; two enlarged supranasals separated by two nasals, right nasal much larger and bordered dorso-laterally by smaller left nasal. Nares bordered by first supralabial, rostral, first supranasal and series of five (left) and four (right) postnasals. Twelve enlarged supralabials on both right and left side, supralabials roughly square to approximately midpoint of eye, posterior of eye greatly reduced and much higher than long, bordered dorsally by a discontinuous series of enlarged scales (becoming continuous just anterior to the eye). Infralabials reaching rictus, with twelve on each side, fifth infralabial on right side divided by horizontal suture into dorsal and slightly smaller ventral sections, bordered ventrally by several rows of enlarged scales. Mental triangular, much wider than long, flared anteriorly, bordered by two enlarged postmentals twice as long as wide. Enlarged tubercles present on ventral surface of head around the angle of the lower jaw, and in single row extending anteriorly along jawline to approximately level with orbital.

Body elongate (TrL/SVL 0.455) with distinct ventrolateral folds. Lateral fold with low rounded tubercles separated from each other by 2–4 granules, posterior tubercles on fold are larger. One row of enlarged tubercles (2–3 times diameter of surrounding scales) positioned ventral to lateral fold. Dorsum heavily tuberculate, relatively large flattened tubercles arranged in approximately twenty indistinct rows at midpoint of body, tubercles on temporal and nuchal regions relatively smaller and tending towards conical. Ventral scales in approximately fifty rows at midpoint, becoming much wider medially; enlarged precloacal and femoral scales in very slightly curved continuous series of 32, extending to halfway along femur, bordered anteriorly by rows of smaller but still enlarged scales, particularly around vent, bordered posteriorly by much smaller granules.

Forelimbs (FA/SVL 0.135) and hindlimbs (CS/SVL 0.187) relatively elongate, hindlimbs more robust and slightly longer than forelimbs (CS/FA 1.386). Lateral and dorsal surfaces of limbs heavily tuberculate, tubercles varying significantly in size, becoming more numerous, larger and somewhat more conical distally on forelimbs; evenly distributed on hindlimbs. Digits long and well developed, inflected at basal interphalangeal joints; subdigital lamellae smooth, undivided, expanded proximal to joint inflection; large recurved claws sheathed by a dorsal and ventral scale, 21 lamellae on left finger I, 24 on left finger IV; 22 lamellae on left toe I, 25 on left toe IV. Slight basal webbing on both manus and pes.

Tail original but broken at time of collection, narrow, tapering to a point, with distinct lateral fold; caudal scales increasing in size ventrally, divided subcaudal scales distinctly enlarged relative to lateral and dorsal caudal scales. Enlarged tubercles absent on lateral and ventral surfaces of tail; numerous rows of enlarged dorsal tubercles at base of tail reduce to two rows that extend along tail for approximately 30 mm; four (left) and three (right) enlarged postanal tubercles at base of tail.

Colouration. Dorsum with three large, dark greyish-brown irregular blotches (including nuchal band) on a background of various shades of light grey, tending to off-white in patches. Dark blotches extend laterally to approximately midpoint of body; further very small and indistinct dark dorsal blotches are barely visible between the two posterior-most large blotches. Nuchal band with almost straight (slightly concave) edge anteriorly (just above ears), extends posteriorly to axilla in a triangular shape and laterally across temporal region to posterior edge of the eyes: ventral edge of nuchal band sharply demarcated against greyish off-white lower lateral colouration of head; dorsal edge of nuchal band sharply demarcated against dorsal surface of head and lores which are light brown finely mottled with darker brown. Labials off-white, with indistinct brown barring. Throat finely mottled with light grey and off-white, venter of torso darker with scattered dark grey spots increasing in frequency posteriorly. Arms and legs mottled dark brown and dark grey dorsally, dark to light grey ventrally. Tail with three very wide dark brown dorsal bands followed by numerous smaller and increasingly broken bands posteriorly; area between dark bands light grey with numerous scattered dark brown spots; ventral surface of tail heavily mottled with numerous shades of grey and brown.

MZB MZB MZB Variation. Comparative mensural and meristic data for the holotype and paratypes are given in Table 1. All specimens conform broadly with the description of the holotype. MZB lace 5573 has a large scar on the snout extending from the rostral to between the eyes, and has a largely regrown tail. The regrown section lacks transverse bands, is dark grey with two light grey dorso-lateral stripes and has irregular and relatively small scales. The venter of this specimen is slightly darker and more heavily spotted with dark grey than the holotype, particularly in the gular region. MZB lace 5575 ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 A) has a largely regrown tail, has four instead of three large dorsal blotches, has a slightly indented enlarged femoral and precloacal scale series and has more brown pigmentation on the venter, giving an overall impression of being much darker.

Colouration in life. Photographs in life of one paratype MZB 5575 show the pattern to be consistent with that retained in preservative. The iris is pale gold tending towards reddish at the centre with sparse dark brown vertical venation and extensive fine, very light brown reticulation.

Comparisons. Cyrtodactylus zugi  sp. nov. is most similar to the large bodied animals placed in the C. loriae  group by Rösler et al. (2007). It can be readily distinguished from C. serratus  by the absence of spiniform tubercles along the lateral fold and the tail, and complete absence of lateral tubercles on the tail. It can be distinguished from C. loriae  by the presence of enlarged tubercles around the angle of the lower jaw and ventral to the lateral fold (absent in C. loriae  ) and a straight or almost straight short series of enlarged precloacal and femoral scales, as opposed to V-shaped and much longer (29–34 V 60–80). Cyrtodactylus zugi  sp. nov can be distinguished from C. novaeguineae  by the absence of enlarged tubercles extending across the ventral surface of the throat (illustrated in Brongersma (1934 )).The recently described and geographically proximate species Cyrtodactylus irianjayaensis  is most similar to C. zugi  sp. nov., but has a shorter series of enlarged precloacal and femoral scales (12–21 vs 29–34), a narrower head (HW/SVL 0.173–0.204 vs 0.210–0.221), lacks mottling on the dorsum of the head and lateral surface of the body, lacks dark speckling on the venter and lacks dark brown labial barring ( Rösler et al. 2007, Fig. 3View FIGURE 3).

Cyrtodactylus zugi  sp. nov. can be distinguished from similar-sized animals in the C. louisiadensis  group (sensu Rösler et al. 2007), C. lousiadensis  , C. murua  , C. salomonensis  , and C. tuberculatus  by possessing relatively small (vs wide undivided) subcaudal scales and by the presence of enlarged tubercles below the lateral fold and under the supra-angular edge of the lower jaw.

All Melanesian Cyrtodactylus  not listed above have a maximum SVL of less than 110 mm, much smaller than Cyrtodactylus zugi  sp. nov. The dorsal colouration of three to four dark grey bands (including the nuchal band) exhibited by C. zugi  sp. nov. is also different from all of these species; C. aaroni  and C. mimikanus  have more than eight thin white bands bands on a chocolate brown ground colour; C. derongo  has a relatively plain dorsum with small dark spots and white tubercles; C. capreoloides  , C. marmoratus  , C. papuensis  and C. sermowaiensis  all have six or more dark dorsal bands or a series of spots on a comparatively light dorsum. Cyrtodactylus zugi  sp. nov. can be further distinguished from C. marmoratus  and C. papuensis  by the absence of a precloacal pit.

Distribution and Natural History. The new species is known only from lowland tropical rainforest on Batanta Island ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4). The habitat at the type locality consisted of selectively logged forest with numerous remaining large old trees, but also with extensive regrowth. Specimens were collected at night from the 0.5–3 m above the ground on large rainforest trees. The holotype and paratype ( MZB lace 5575) were both collected at separate times from the same large fig ( Ficus  ) tree on the same night ( Fig. 5View FIGURE 5).

Etymology. Named in honour of George Zug from the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of his vast contributions to our knowledge of the systematics and ecology of the herpetofauna of Melanesia and Asia.

TABLE 1. Measurements (in mm) for the type series of Cyrtodactylus zugi sp. nov.

  holotype paratype paratype

Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense