Phyllodactylus cleofasensis, Ramírez-Reyes & Barraza-Soltero & Nolasco-Luna & Flores-Villela & Escobedo-Galván, 2021

Ramirez-Reyes, Tonatiuh, Barraza-Soltero, Ilse K., Nolasco-Luna, Jose Rafael, Flores-Villela, Oscar & Escobedo-Galvan, Armando H., 2021, A new species of leaf-toed gecko (Phyllodactylidae, Phyllodactylus) from Maria Cleofas Island, Nayarit, Mexico, ZooKeys 1024, pp. 117-136: 117

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scientific name

Phyllodactylus cleofasensis

sp. nov.

Phyllodactylus cleofasensis   sp. nov. Fig. 7 View Figure 7

Phyllodactylus tuberculosus   (in part) Wiegmann 1835 ( Stejneger 1899)

Phyllodactylus lanei   (in part) Smith 1935 ( Zweifel 1960)

P. tuberculosus saxatilis   (in part) Dixon 1964 ( McDiarmid et al. 1976; Casas-Andreu 1992; Woolrich-Piña et al. 2016)

Common name.

María Cleofas leaf-toed Gecko, Salamanquesa de la Isla María Cleofas.

Type species.

Holotype: Adult female ( MZFC-HE 35623) collected on Maria Cleofas Island (21.3095°N, 106.2340°W, WGS84, 64 m elev.) on 24-25 May 2018 by Ilse K. Barraza Soltero and Armando H. Escobedo Galván. Paratypes. All collected from the type locality, María Cleofas Island (Six adult specimens and two juveniles). MZFC-HE 35618-35622 and GoogleMaps   MZFC-HE 35624-35626 GoogleMaps   .


Phyllodactylus cleofasensis   is a species of medium to large body size. Snout-vent length of P. cleofasensis   measured during fieldwork ranged from 44.8 to 77.0 mm (mean 59.5 mm). Concerning body size, P. cleofasensis   differs (in mean size) from P. magnus   (73.03), P. nolascoensis   (56.29), P. partidus   (55.12) and P. saxatilis   (65.44). Phyllodactylus cleofasensis   has a white venter, variable dorsal coloration, and a greater number of paravertebral dorsal tubercles (mean 47.89). Three meristic characters mainly differentiate P. cleofasensis   from the rest of the species of the Phyllodactylus saxatilis   clade ( P. saxatilis   , P. nolascoensis   , P. partidus   , P. homolepidurus   and Phyllodactylus   sp.) (Table 3 View Table 3 ): paravertebral dorsal tubercles from head to tail (mean 47.89); number of scales across the snout, starting from the 3rd labial scale (mean 26.5); and number of longitudinal ventral scales from an imaginary line of the forelimbs to the cloacal opening (mean 61). Phyllodactylus cleofasensis   has the highest values of the mentioned characters, while the rest of the studied species presented lower counts compared to other Phyllodactylus   species in Mexico (Tables 2 View Table 2 and 3 View Table 3 ). The new species has the second highest mean number of dorsal tubercles after P. delcampi   (63.4). Other Phyllodactylus   species have fewer mean dorsal tubercles ( P. paucituberculatus   , 28.7; P. duellmani   , 37.1; P. bordai   , 32.9; P. davisi   , 41.6; P. muralis   , 33.1; P. homolepidurus   , 35.9; P. xanti   , 37; P. lanei   , 32.4; P. papenfussi   , 33.2; P. isabelae   , 32.3; P. lupitae   , 28.8; P. rupinus   , 28; P. benedettii   , 28.8; and P. kropotkini   , 28.4). Regarding the number of scales crossing the snout, P. cleofasensis   has a very similar number of scales to P. muralis   (26.1) and P. lupitae   (25.5); lower counts occur in P. unctus   (21.7), P. paucituberculatus   (19.5), P. duellmani   (19.9), P. delcampi   (21), P. bordai   (19.4), P. davisi   (23.7), P. muralis   (26.1), P. homolepidurus   (22.5), P. xanti   (16.5), P. lanei   (21.6), P. papenfussi   (17.8), P. isabelae   (21.1), P. rupinus   (20.6), P. benedettii   (22), and P. kropotkini   (20.2). Concerning ventral scales, P. cleofasensis   has a mean of 61, similar to three species of the Phyllodactylus lanei   clade (or clade I), namely, P. lupitae   (61.5), P. rupinus   (62) and P. lanei   (62.86). The rest of the Phyllodactylus   in Mexico have less than 61 scales: P. kropotkini   (60), P. benedettii   (59.71), P. xanti   (58.75), P. angelensis   (56.75), P. davisi   (55.5), P. magnus   (55.3), P. partidus   (55.2), P. saxatilis   (55), P. santacruzensis   (54), P. muralis   (53.9), P. isabelae   (53.85), P. nolascoensis   (52.75), P. homolepidurus   (52.5), P. bordai   (51.91), P. bugastrolepis   (51.57), P. duellmani   (48.75), P. paucituberculatus   (48.66), and P. unctus   (48.5).

Description of the holotype.

Adult female with SVL 71.17 mm, robust body, head not flattened, neck slightly differentiated from head. Head width 14.4 mm and snout length 12.11 mm. Rostral scale is flat (no grooves or stretch marks) and in contact with the two internasal scales. Nostril in contact mostly with the rostral scale and marginally with the first labial scale on both sides; supranasal scales in contact with 12 scales crossing from right to left side; 22 interorbital scales counted from middle of eye, interorbital distance 9.75 mm. 24 scales crossing snout between contralateral second labial scales 27 between third labial scales. Number of loreal scales 14 on right side and 15 on left side; equal number of supralabial scales (14), labial scales (8), and infralabial scales (7) on each side. Auricular opening oval (2.48 mm) smaller than the ocular opening, occipital scales similar in size and shape to interorbitals (not greatly differentiated in size and shape). Mental scale slightly wider than long, forming a “V” but not with pronounced angles; eight postmental scales in contact with first infralabials on both sides (right and left). Body with granular and circular scales interspersed with tubercles of different sizes; the specimen presents a fragmented tail. Internarinal distance 2.67 mm and axilla-groin length 26.19 mm. 14 rows of dorsal tubercles, 20 axilla-groin tubercles on right side and 19 on left side. Presents 29 transversal ventral scales with first ventral scale differentiated from lateral scales (which are small and circular). Ventral scales differentiated in size and shape from lateral and gular scales. Scales imbricate on extremities (anterior and posterior), as well as on dorsal region of the tail. No femoral or precloacal pores. Digital lamella formulae: right posterior (9-11-15-14-13), left posterior (8-10-11-12-13), right anterior (8-11-12-13-10), left anterior (8-10-12-13-11); fourth finger of extremities longer that others (5.55 mm manus, 7.49 mm pes); digital toepads longer than wide on all fingers.


Specific epithet is taken from the type locality María Cleofas Island, with the Latin suffix - ensis meaning, "originating from." Specific epithet is masculine, in agreement with the gender of Phyllodactylus   .


All meristic and morphometric characters are presented with mean values and standard deviation in Tables 2 View Table 2 and 3 View Table 3 , respectively.

Natural history.

Individuals of P. cleofasensis   were observed active during night surveys under single rocks, abandoned anthropogenic structures, or in some cases on the trunk of Piranhea mexicana   . Some were observed on the ground while they moved between rocks. In some parts of the island, they can be seen in abandoned man-made structures, which are shelters for species such as geckos, anoles, iguanids, and bats. Although predation of P. cleofasensis   has not been reported, we suggest that Oxybelis microphthalmus   (for taxonomic status see Jadin et al. 2020) could be a potential predator given that we captured two O. microphthalmus   at the same site of P. cleofasensis   during nocturnal surveys. During our visits (May to August 2017 and April to August 2018), we did not observe reproductive activity or females with a shelled egg in one of their oviducts. Eleven distinct prey items were found in 36 stomach contents. It has been mentioned that the diets of lizards in island environments contain a high percentage of vegetation matter due to the lack of food or scarcity of prey belonging to the Class Insecta  ( Olesen and Valido 2003). However, in this work, a great variety of arthropods was reported in the stomach contents of geckos (Fig. 8 View Figure 8 ). Prey items of P. cleofasensis   were mostly composed of orthopterans (Family Rhaphidophoridae   ) and coleopterans (Family Passalidae   ); they also consumed plant matter, arachnids, lepidopterans, scorpions ( Centruroides elegans insularis   ), and cockroaches ( Blattodea  : Pycnoselus surinamensis   ) (Fig. 8 View Figure 8 ). Additionally, during fieldwork in May 2018, we captured two individuals with remains of shed skin in their stomach contents ( Barraza-Soltero and Escobedo-Galván 2020).


Royal British Columbia Museum - Herbarium














Phyllodactylus cleofasensis

Ramirez-Reyes, Tonatiuh, Barraza-Soltero, Ilse K., Nolasco-Luna, Jose Rafael, Flores-Villela, Oscar & Escobedo-Galvan, Armando H. 2021

Phyllodactylus tuberculosus

Ramírez-Reyes & Barraza-Soltero & Nolasco-Luna & Flores-Villela & Escobedo-Galván 2021

Phyllodactylus lanei

Ramírez-Reyes & Barraza-Soltero & Nolasco-Luna & Flores-Villela & Escobedo-Galván 2021

P. tuberculosus saxatilis

Ramírez-Reyes & Barraza-Soltero & Nolasco-Luna & Flores-Villela & Escobedo-Galván 2021