TitleThree new cryptic species of South Asian Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Squamata, Gekkonidae) from Karnataka, India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsKhandekar A, Thackeray T, Agarwal I
Date Published03/2022

We describe three new small-bodied, cryptic species of south Asian Cnemaspis belonging to the mysoriensis and goaensis clades from the Mysore Plateau and the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in Karnataka, peninsular India; and provide a key to mem-bers of each clade, besides providing the first ND2 sequence data for C. ranganaensis. Cnemaspis tigris sp. nov. from Kaiwara in Karnataka is a member of the mysoriensis clade and can be morphologically distinguished from all six described members of the clade in a number of meristic characters and subtle differences in colouration, beside >= 12.1-23.4 % uncorrected pairwise ND2 sequence divergence. Cnemaspis sakleshpurensis sp. nov. from Sakleshpur and C. vijayae sp. nov. from Coorg, both in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, are members of the goaensis clade and are easily diagnosed from all three described members of the clade in meristic characters beside 5.2-14.8 % divergence from described members of the clade and 14.6 % from each other in uncorrected pairwise ND2 sequence divergence. The discovery of these new species from two different clades and biogeographic regions is not surprising, given the steep rise in the number of species of Cnemaspis known from peninsular India. Comprehensive geographic sampling in conjunction with molecular and morphological data is essential to understand the true diversity and distributional ranges of species within this ancient clade of gekkonid lizards.