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Akshay Khandekar

Akshay Khandekar
Thackeray Wildlife Foundation (TWF) · Herpetology

M.Sc (Zoology)
PhD student

About

31
Publications
18,969
Reads
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229
Citations
Introduction
A field biologist and taxonomist interested in understanding species diversity and distribution of Arachnids and Squamates in the Indian subcontinent.
Additional affiliations
October 2019 - present
Thackeray Wildlife Foundation (TWF)
Position
  • Senior Researcher
Description
  • Geckos of peninsular India
June 2018 - September 2019
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Position
  • Research Associate
May 2016 - May 2017
Indian Institute of Science
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
April 2014 - April 2016
Shivaji University, Kolhapur
Field of study
  • Zoology
April 2012 - April 2014
Shivaji University, Kolhapur
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (31)
Article
Full-text available
The leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, is a widely used model organism in laboratory and experimental studies. The high phenotypic diversity in the pet trade, the fact that the provenance of different breeding lines is unknown, and that distinct Eublepharis species are known to hybridize, implies that the continued use of E. macularius as a mod...
Article
We describe a cryptic new species of large-bodied rupicolous Hemidactylus allied to H. aaronbaueri from Tamhini Ghat, in Raigad and Pune districts of Maharashtra state, India. Hemidactylus tamhiniensis sp. nov. falls within the prashadi group of Indian Hemidactylus and can be diagnosed from all other members of the group by combination of several m...
Article
Interspecific competition can occur when species are unable to distinguish between conspecific and heterospecific mates or competitors when they occur in sympatry. Selection in response to interspecific competition can lead to shifts in signalling traits-a process called agonistic character displacement. In two fan-throated lizard species-Sitana la...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a divergent clade and three new rupicolous species of dwarf geckos of the genus Cnemaspis from the Mysore Plateau, southern India. Cnemaspis bangara sp. nov., C. graniticola sp. nov., and C. yelagiriensis sp. nov. differ from each other by 9%–18% uncorrected ND2 sequence divergence and other South Asian Cnemaspis by 17%–33% and are morp...
Article
We describe a cryptic new species of the Cnemaspis mysoriensis complex from an isolated rocky hillock near Yadiyur, Mandya District of south Karnataka, India. Cnemaspis stellapulvis sp. nov. can be diagnosed from all other peninsular Indian congeners by its small body size (SVL <32 mm), presence of spine-like tubercles on the flanks, heterogeneous...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of the genus Chiromachetes Pocock, 1899 (Hormuridae Laurie, 1896) is described based on a single male and two female specimens collected from Agasthyamalai Mountains in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, southern Western Ghats, India. The new species can be easily distinguished from all five known congeners by combination of non-over...
Article
Full-text available
We describe three distinct, smallbodied, scansorial species of south Asian Cnemaspis from Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, India-Cnemaspis azhagu sp. nov. from Thirukurungudi forest range, Cnemaspis mundanthu-raiensis sp. nov. from Mundanthurai forest range and Cnemaspis kalakadensis sp. nov. from Kalakad forest...
Article
Full-text available
The trap-door spider Conothele ogalei sp.n. is described from the holotype male and paratype females collected in Amboli (Maharashtra, India). This is the first report of the genus Conothele from the northern Western Ghats and also the first description of a male congener from India. The data on the natural history of the new species as well as not...
Article
Full-text available
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 members of each clade, besides providing the first ND2 sequence data for C. ranganaensis. Cnemaspis tigr...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of the genus Compsobuthus Vachon, 1949 (Buthidae) belonging to the werneri group is described from two localities in Jalgaon District, Maharashtra, India. The new species can be easily distinguished from all four members of the werneri group known from India and Pakistan by combination of nonoverlapping morphological characters. Comps...
Article
We describe a distinct new species of the genus Hemiphyllodactylus based on three specimens collected from semi-urban areas in Goa state of India. The new species can be easily distinguished from all peninsular Indian congeners by its small body size (SVL up to 32.4 mm), having 16-18 dorsal scales and 13 or 14 ventral scales at mid-body contained w...
Article
We describe a new species of the Cnemaspis bangara clade from a rocky hillock near Kugai Periya Mariamman Temple, Krishnagiri fort, Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu, India. Cnemaspis krishnagiriensis sp. nov. can be diagnosed from all other peninsular Indian congeners by its medium body size (maximum SVL 40 mm), heterogeneous dorsal pholidosis, s...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a distinct new rupicolous Cnemaspis based on four adult specimens collected from the Kedareshwar caves on Harishchandragad mountain, from the northern Western Ghats, approximately 1200 m asl. in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state, India. Cnemaspis uttaraghati sp. nov. can be diagnosed from all other peninsular Indian congeners by...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a new small-bodied, polymorphic Cnemaspis from near Hongadahalla village, Sakleshpur in the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. Cnemaspis schalleri sp. nov. is allied to C. monticola and can be diagnosed from all other Indian Cnemaspis by its small body size; presence of spine-like tubercles on flank; heterogeneous dorsal pholido...
Article
We describe a distinct new species of Hemiphyllodactylus from a sacred grove near Humma in Ganjam District of Odisha state, eastern India. Hemiphyllodactylus minimus sp. nov. is the smallest member of the genus and can be diagnosed from all peninsular Indian congeners by its small body size (SVL ≤32.2 mm, n=11), having 15-18 dorsal scales and eight...
Article
We describe a new species of the Hemidactylus acanthopholis clade from Sirumalai, an isolated massif in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu state, India. Hemidactylus sirumalaiensis sp. nov. can be diagnosed from all members of the prashadi group by its medium body size (SVL <95 mm), the number of dorsal tubercles rows at mid-body, the number of en...
Article
Two new species of geckos from the genera Cnemaspis and Hemidactylus are described from a granite outcrop in the Rishi Valley, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Cnemaspis rishivalleyensis sp. nov. and Hemidactylus rishivalleyensis sp. nov. are presently known only from their type locality and are 8.7 % and 10.9 % divergent from their closes...
Article
We describe a new species from within the South Asian clade of the polyphyletic gekkonid genus Cnemaspis from the Velikonda Range, in the Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh, India. The new species is the smallest known Indian gekkonid and can be diagnosed from all Indian congeners by its small body size (SVL <29 mm), the absence of spine-like scales on...
Article
We describe a new large-bodied, rupicolous Cnemaspis from near Sakleshpur in the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. Cnemaspis magnifica sp. nov. is allied to C. heteropholis and can be diagnosed from all other Indian Cnemaspis by the absence of spine-like scales on flank; heterogeneous dorsal pholidosis, presence of only femoral pores in ma...
Article
Two new species of the gekkonid genus Hemiphyllodactylus are described from mountains of the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu, southern India. Hemiphyllodactylus nilgiriensis sp. nov. and H. peninsularis sp. nov. are > 5 % divergent in the mitochondrial ND2 gene from each other and members of the H. aurantiacus complex and differ from each other and mem...
Article
We describe two new species of the gekkonid genus Cnemaspis from the northern Western Ghats in Maharashtra, India. Cnemaspis amba sp. nov. and C. koynaensis sp. nov. are members of the C. girii clade and differ genetically from each other and other members of the clade by 7.9-19.6 % uncorrected ND2 sequence divergence. The two new species are also...
Article
Full-text available
A new rupicolous gecko from the Hemidactylus brookii complex is described from the forests and plateaus of Amboli, in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. This medium sized (average adult SVL 56.2±5.0 to at least 62 mm), nocturnal species is superficially similar to other congeners from the 'H. brookii' clade, but can be distinguished from them in hav...
Article
Full-text available
We present a preliminary ND2 phylogeny of South Asian Cnemaspis, recovering a number of deeply divergent clades within Indian Cnemaspis, endemic to the southern and northern Western Ghats besides the Mysore Plateau and hills of Tamil Nadu. There are a number of unnamed lineages that are >5% divergent on ND2 across the phylogeny, including three fro...
Article
We present an expanded ND2 phylogeny of the brookii and prashadi groups of Indian Hemidactylus. While relationships within the clades are not well resolved, we recover many well supported subclades and a number of deeply divergent lin-eages within each clade. We use morphological data to describe three of these divergent lineages as new species; He...
Article
Full-text available
Sky Islands are high-elevation environments that are separated by warmer, low elevations, forming natural patches of unique montane habitat that often persist through changing climates. Peninsular India was ancestrally forested and has gradually become more arid since at least the Oligocene, and open landscapes have dominated since the middle-late...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of the gekkonid genus Cnemaspis is described based on a series of nine specimens from near Sankari in Salem district, Tamil Nadu state, southern India. The new species is diagnosable by the following suite of characters: a small-sized Cnemaspis (adult snout to vent length less than 33 mm); heterogeneous dorsal pholidosis consisting of...
Article
Full-text available
Herpetofaunal surveys were conducted in the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in southern Tamil Nadu, India, over a period of two years, to assess species richness in this landscape. Sixty-four species of reptiles from 15 families and 31 species of amphibians from nine families were recorded. Eight species of reptiles and five species of amphibians are...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a new species of the gekkonid genus Cyrtodactylus based on a series of six specimens from the Chamba Valley in the Western Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh state, India. Cyrtodactylus chamba sp. nov. is a member of the subgenus Siwaligekko and can be diagnosed from congeners in the Western Himalayas by a combination of its small size (snout...
Article
Full-text available
Two new cryptic species of the agamid genus Sitana Cuvier, 1829 from Peninsular India are described herein. Sitana gokakensis sp. nov. from Gokak, Karnataka closely resembles Sitana thondalu sp. nov. from Nagarjuna Sagar, Andhra Pradesh. The two species can be distinguished based on their subtle morphological differences, genetic difference and geo...
Article
We describe two new species of the lacertid genus Ophisops based on a series of 19 specimens from semi-arid habitats in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan in northwestern India, provide a description of Ophisops microlepis sensu stricto, and a key to Indian Ophisops. Ophisops pushkarensis sp. nov. and Ophisops kutchensis sp. nov. are allied to Oph...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of Sitanato the ponticeriana group is described herein from southern Tamil Nadu, India. Sitana marudhamneydhal sp.nov.is most similar to Sitana visiri,from which it differs in body scalation and dewlap size. Much like Sitana visiri, the breeding of this species coincides with the North-East monsoon rains (October to December), an adap...