Lygodactylus roavolana, Puente & Glaw & Vieites & Vences, 2009

Puente, Marta, Glaw, Frank, Vieites, David R. & Vences, Miguel, 2009, Competitividad del Sector Forestal de México Tendencias y Perspectivas, Zootaxa 2103, pp. 1-76: 32-34

publication ID 10.13140/rg.2.2.11871.87201


persistent identifier

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scientific name

Lygodactylus roavolana

sp. nov.

Lygodactylus roavolana   sp. nov.

( Fig. 15 View FIGURE 15 )

Holotype.— ZSM 5115 View Materials /2005 (field number FGZC 2324), adult male, collected on 3 February 2005 at Manantantely (approximately 46°55'E, 24°59'S, close to sea level), southeastern Madagascar, by P. Bora, F. Glaw & M. Vences. No paratypes. GoogleMaps  

Diagnosis. The new species can be assigned to the L. pictus   group based on the characters listed in the group definition above, especially by the presence of a semi-divided mental scale and the presence of two postmental scales. Within this group, it differs from L. pictus   and L. tuberosus   by the presence of a large and very distinct black spot (encircling a smaller white spot) above and in front of the insertion of forelimbs (absent in L. pictus   , only small spots present in L. tuberosus   ). It further differs from L. pictus   by having 7 infralabial scales (vs. 4–6), and from L. pictus   and L. tuberosus   by the apparent absence of a claw on the first finger.

Species in the L. madagascariensis   group share with the new species a number of only two postmentals and the absence of a claw on the first finger, but in these species, the mental scale is undivided. A claw on the first finger is also absent in L. mirabilis   , L. intermedius   and L. montanus   , but these species are readily distinguished by their keeled or partially keeled dorsal scales (versus granular dorsal scales in L. roavolana   ).

We cannot fully exclude that the absence of a claw on the first finger in the new species may be an artefact, because we could verify it on only one forelimb in a single specimen. However, the new species is also diagnosed by its unique colour pattern: the conspicuous pair of large ocellae above the forelimbs is not known from any other species of Malagasy Lygodactylus   .

Description of holotype. Adult male, hemipenes everted, in good state of preservation, although the tail is broken and one forelimb is partly removed as source of tissue for molecular analysis. SVL 23.6 mm, tail regenerated (TAL 20.4 mm) for other measurements see Table 2; granular dorsal scales; first finger present but very small, without bearing a claw; 4 pairs of subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe; mental scale semidivided into three parts by sutures; only slight contact between posterior projection of mental scale and first infralabial; two symmetrical postmental scales; five postpostmental scales; seven infralabial scales; seven supralabial scales; two internasal scales; six preanal pores; tail without whorls; four weakly expressed dorsolateral tubercles, each composed of 1–2 scales; 185 dorsal scales along the body; 88 dorsal scales around the body.

Dorsally light brown on the dorsum and greyish on the flanks, with a pair of indistinct yellowish dorsolateral stripes, one on each side, that start just behind the eye and run onto the tail; at the height of the hindlimbs, these stripes become more distinct and the dorsal area between them more dark brown. Some whitish spots on the upper lip. Above and anterior to the forelimb, there is a large semicircular black marking with a central white spot and bordered ventrally by a distinct short white line. Tail dorsally with some irregular beige-brown marbling. Ventrally, in life, the throat and tail were yellow and the chest and venter white. The throat has an indistinct pattern of irregular and poorly marked dark chevrons and longitudinal stripes ( Figs. 12e–f View FIGURE 12 , 15 View FIGURE 15 ).

Hemipenial structure. Hemipenis subcylindrical, total length ca. 2.5 mm, with a relatively large pedicel of ca. 1.8 mm. The apex is divided in two short lobes each of which measures ca. 0.8–1 mm in length. The truncus and lobes are covered with fields and serrated ridges of pointed papillae. Sulcus spermaticus formed by two channels (running to the apex of each arm); there are no distinct sulcal lips and no papillae around the sulcus spermaticus. Very similar to the hemipenes of L. tuberosus   and L. pictus   ( Fig. 15 View FIGURE 15 ).

Etymology. The name “roavolana” refers to the Malagasy words roa meaning “two” and volana meaning “moon”, and refers to the two extremely conspicuous ocellae of the new species. The name is used as a noun in apposition.

Habitat and distribution. The holotype was collected in the late afternoon, active on a tree trunk in disturbed low-altitude rainforest, ca. 1 m above the ground. This species has apparently not been detected during previous surveys in the nearby Andohahela reserve ( Andreone & Randriamahazo 1997, Nussbaum et al. 1999). However, the species has more recently been recorded from this reserve ( Theisinger 2008).