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Rediscovery of Geckoella jeyporensis (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with notes on morphology, coloration and habitat

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Rediscovery of Geckoella jeyporensis (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with notes on morphology, coloration and habitat

Abstract and Figures

Geckoella jeyporensis (Beddome, 1877) was described based on a single male specimen from “Patinghe Hill”, and in the 135 years since the original description, there have been no further reports of the species. We recently collected two additional specimens of this poorly known species from close to the type locality. In this paper, we present a detailed morphological description of G. jeyporensis, as well as details of life coloration and notes on its habitat, based on the new specimens and published morphological data of the holotype.
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Hamadryad Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 17 – 24, 2012.
Copyright 2010 Centre for Herpetology, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.
Rediscovery of Geckoella jeyporensis (Squamata: Gekkonidae),
with notes on morphology, coloration and habitat
Ishan Agarwal1*, Aniruddha Datta-Roy1, Aaron M. Bauer2 & Varad B. Giri3
1Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore 560012, India
2Department of Biology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue,
Villanova, PA 19085-1699, USA
3 Nature, C/O Aajol, Nerur, Taluka Kudal, District Sindhudurg,
Maharashtra 416606, India
*corresponding author, Email: ishan.agarwal@gmail.com
ABSTRACT.– Geckoella jeyporensis (Beddome, 1877) was described based on a single male
specimen from “Patinghe Hill”, and in the 135 years since the original description,
there have been no further reports of the species. We recently collected two additional
specimens of this poorly known species from close to the type locality. In this paper,
we present a detailed morphological description of G. jeyporensis, as well as details
of life coloration and notes on its habitat, based on the new specimens and published
morphological data of the holotype.
KEYWORDS.– Geckoella jeyporensis, rediscovery, Eastern Ghats, India.
Introduction
The genus Geckoella Gray, 1867 is endemic to
peninsular India (ve species) and Sri Lanka
(two species). The phylogenetic relationships
of this genus remain unresolved; while Bauer
(2002) considered Geckoella a subgenus of
Cyrtodactylus based on morphology, the only
molecular phylogenetic study which used these
genera recovered them as sister taxa (Feng
et al. 2007), albeit with extremely poor taxon
sampling. More recent phylogenetic data sup-
port the monophyly of Geckoella (Agarwal &
Karanth unpublished data), although it appears
to be embedded within Cyrtodactylus (Wood,
Heinicke, Bauer, Greenbaum & Jackman, sub-
mitted). Dorsal scalation divides the species into
two broad groups – one with smooth granular
dorsal scales, with or without small rounded tu-
bercles (collegalensis, nebulosa, yakhuna), the
other with plate-like dorsals or irregular small
scales intermixed with larger tubercles (albofas-
ciata, deccanensis, jeyporensis, triedra) (modi-
ed after Smith 1935).
These terrestrial geckos are widely distribut-
ed across peninsular India and Sri Lanka – with
Geckoella yakhuna and G. triedra known from
the dry and wet zone of Sri Lanka, respectively
(Somaweera & Somaweera 2009); G. albofas-
ciata and G.deccanensis from the central and
northern Western Ghats respectively (Giri &
Bauer 2004); G. collegalensis from drier hills in
southern Gujarat, the Western Ghats and south-
ern India, with unconrmed reports from Sri
Lanka (Somaweera & Somaweera 2009; Mirza
et al. 2010); G. nebulosus from across the East-
ern Ghats, also extending west into the Satpuras
(Agarwal 2007) and G. jeyporensis known from
a single locality in the Eastern Ghats of Odisha
(Smith 1935).
Geckoella jeyporensis was described in 1877,
based on a single male specimen from “Pating-
he Hill”, in the Jeypore Hills, India (Beddome
1877; now in Koraput district, Odisha State).
Since then, no additional specimens of this spe-
cies have been reported. A popular article that
declared the rediscovery of this species (Dutta et
al. 2005) was erroneous and referred to a speci-
men of G. cf. nebulosa (based on the photo-
graph presented in Dutta et al. 2005; S. K. Dutta
pers. comm.).
18 Hamadryad [Vol. 36, No. 1
We conducted eldwork specically target-
ing Geckoella jeyporensis in high elevation
areas of the Eastern Ghats in south Odisha and
northern Andhra Pradesh in September 2010
and November 2011. We provide a detailed
morphological description of the species based
on the two specimens that were collected, de-
tails of life coloration, and notes on habitat.
Methods
The recently collected specimens of Geckoella
jeyporensis were deposited in the collection of
the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Ban-
galore and the Bombay Natural History Society
(BNHS), Mumbai. Data on the holotype (The
Natural History Museum, London: BMNH
82.5.22.37) were taken from the literature (Bed-
dome 1877; Boulenger 1885; Smith 1935).
In case of discrepancies between authors, we
present the range. The following measurements
were taken with a Mitutoyo dial vernier cali-
per (to the nearest 0.1 mm): snout-vent length
(SVL; from tip of snout to vent), trunk length
(TRL; distance from axilla to groin measured
from posterior edge of forelimb insertion to an-
terior edge of hindlimb insertion), body width
(BW; maximum width of body), crus length
(CL; from base of heel to knee); tail length
(TL; from vent to tip of tail), tail width (TW;
measured at widest point of tail), head length
(HL; distance between retroarticular process of
jaw and snout-tip), head width (HW; maximum
width of head), head height (HH; maximum
height of head, from occiput to underside of
jaws), forearm length (FL; from base of palm to
elbow); orbital diameter (OD; greatest diameter
of orbit), nares to eye distance (NE; distance
between anteriormost point of eye and nostril),
snout to eye distance (SE; distance between an-
teriormost point of eye and tip of snout), eye to
ear distance (EE; distance from anterior edge
of ear opening to posterior corner of eye), in-
ternarial distance (IN; distance between nares)
and interorbital distance (IO; shortest distance
between left and right supraciliary scale rows).
Scale counts and external observations of mor-
phology were made using a Wild M5 dissecting
microscope. In the description, details for the
larger, adult specimen CES09/1356 are listed
rst, followed by characters for BNHS 2274, or,
in some cases, the range of values across both
specimens is provided.
Geckoella jeyporensis
(Fig. 1)
Gymnodactylus jeyporensis Beddome, 1877;
Proceedings of the Zoological Society of Lon-
don: 685.
Holotype.– The Natural History Museum,
London: BMNH 82.5.22.37, adult male, col-
lected from “a wood on the top of Patinghe Hill,
4200 feet [1273 m] elevation”, Jeypore Hills,
Koraput District, Odisha, India [collection date
not listed in original description or BMNH reg-
ister]. Collected by Col. R. H. Beddome.
Additional Specimens.– CES09/1356, adult
male (Fig. 1A), collected from Galikonda, Visa-
khapatnam District, Andhra Pradesh, India (18°
N, 82° E; 1234 m asl) on 9th October, 2011. Col-
lected by A. D. Roy, P. Raj, P. Karanth, V. Deep-
ak and I. Agarwal. BNHS 2274, subadult male
(Fig. 1B), collected from Deomali, Koraput Dis-
trict, Odisha, India (18° N, 83° E; 1,240 m asl)
on 20 September, 2010. Collected by A. D. Roy,
T. Khichi and I. Agarwal. Precise latitude and
longitude are not listed here in order to provide
some protection from commercial collecting for
this attractive species.
Description of CES09/1356 and BNHS 2274.–
Adult male. SVL 60.2 mm (subadult male, 33.2
mm); TL 40.5 mm (8.5 mm, tail tip missing.
Original length ~ 24.2 mm, tail tip stored for
subsequent DNA sequence analysis in the col-
lection of the Centre for Ecological Sciences,
Bangalore CES10/1206). Head relatively short
(HL/SVL ratio 0.29, 0.31), wide (HW/HL ratio
0.76, 0.74), not depressed (HH/HL ratio 0.45,
0.49), distinct from slender neck. Loreal region
weakly inated, canthus rostralis not prominent.
Snout elongate (SE/HL ratio 0.42, 0.41), round-
ed; not much longer than eye diameter (OD/
SE ratio 0.50, 0.52); scales on snout enlarged,
roughly 5–6 sided, attened, largely homoge-
neous, similar in size to those on crown and
interorbital regions, scales on occipital region
slightly larger and attened, scales on temporal
region similar in size and bead-like. Eye mod-
erately large (OD/HL ratio 0.21, 0.22); pupil
vertical with crenelated margins; supraciliaries
short, those at posterior of orbit bearing small
June, 2012] Agarwal et al. 19
conical spines. Ear opening vertically elliptical;
eye to ear distance greater than diameter of eyes
(EE/OD ratio 1.39, 1.45). Rostral much wider
than deep. Two enlarged supranasals separated
from one another by a small internasal (in broad
contact with one another, no internasal). Rostral
in contact with rst supralabials, nostrils, supra-
nasals and internasal (rostral in contact with rst
supralabials, nostrils, and supranasals). Nostrils
oval, more-or-less laterally directed, each sur-
rounded by supranasal, rostral, rst supralabial
and three enlarged postnasals. A single row of
small scales separates orbit from supralabials.
Mental triangular, wider than deep. A single pair
of enlarged postmentals in broad contact behind
mental, each postmental bordered anteromedi-
ally by mental, anterolaterally by rst infralabial
and anterior portion of second infralabial, pos-
terolaterally by an enlarged lateral chinshield
(or second postmental), and posteriorly by three
granules, the medialmost of which also contacts
the other postmental. Supralabials to midorbital
position 8/8 (8/8), enlarged supralabials to angle
of jaws 12/11 (11/10); infralabials 10/10 (10/9).
Interorbital scale rows between centre of eyes
19 (21).
Body slender, elongate (TRL/SVL ratio 0.41,
0.45), ventrolateral folds indistinct. Dorsal pho-
lidosis weakly heterogeneous, composed of
enlarged, hexagonal, plate-like dorsal scales in
21–22 rows, weakly imbricate across most of
dorsum, smaller and more granular toward the
anks (Fig. 1C). Ventral scales much smaller
than dorsals, smooth and subimbricate, largest
in precloacal region. Midbody scale rows across
belly to lowest rows of enlarged dorsals 25–27.
Gular region with homogeneous, smooth, jux-
taposed granular scales. No precloacal or femo-
ral pores. Three postcloacal spurs on each side,
dorsolateralmost largest. Scales on palm and
sole smooth, rounded to oval or hexagonal,
slightly domed. Scalation on dorsal surfaces
of limbs consisting of juxtaposed granular to
conical domed scales, much smaller than dor-
sals. Fore and hindlimbs moderately long, slen-
der (ForeaL/SVL ratio 0.17, 0.16; CrusL/SVL
ratio 0.17, 0.16). Digits long for Geckoella,
short in comparison with typical Cyrtodactylus,
slender, inected at interphalangeal joints, all
bearing robust, slightly recurved claws. Basal
subdigital lamellae ovoid to rectangular, broad,
without scansorial surfaces, lamellae distal to
digital inection smaller; 8-11-11-13-11 (10-
12-12-12-12) subdigital lamellae one left manus
and 7-11-14-15-16 (9-13-13-13-12) on left pes;
very weakly developed interdigital webbing be-
tween digits (except IV and V). Relative length
of digits: IV~III>V>II>I, IV>III>II>V>I (left
manus); IV>V>III>II>I, V>IV~III>II>I (left
pes). Original tail thick, cylindrical, circular in
transverse section, distinctly constricted at base;
scales on the tail similar to dorsals of body,
slightly smaller, less regular, tail ending in a sin-
gle pointed scale; shorter than SVL (unregen-
erated tail in CES09/1356: TL/SVL ratio 0.67).
Tail beneath with imbricate, semicircular scales,
much larger than body ventrals, no enlarged
subcaudal plates.
Morphometric and meristic data: SVL 60.5,
33.4; TRL 24.8, 15.0; BW 13.6, 2.3; CL 10.0,
5.5; TL 40.5, 8.5*; TW 8.6, 3.2; HL 17.3, 10.2;
HW 13.2, 7.5; HH 7.8, 5.0; FL 10.0, 5.2; OD
3.6, 2.2; NE 5.0, 2.8; SE 7.2, 4.2; EE 5.0, 3.2; IN
2.4, 1.5; IO 5.2, 3.3; Supralabials (L/R) 12(8)/
11(8), 11(8)/ 10(8); Infralabials (L/R) 10/10,
10/9; Dorsal Scale Rows 21–22; Ventral Scale
Rows 25–27; Lamellae (Manus L/R; Pes L/R)
8-11-11-13-11/8-12-12-13-11, 10-12-12-12-
12/10-12-12-12-12; 7-11-14-15-16/6-11-12-+-
15, 9-13-13-12-13/9-13-13-13-12/ [* = tail in-
complete, + = digit missing].
Coloration in life.– Adult specimen with body
dorsum orangey-brown with a series of large,
almost black, chocolate brown dorsal blotches
(Fig. 1A). Blotches oblong, arranged in four
relatively symmetrical pairs between shoulder
and sacrum, with a broad fused blotch across
neck and a similar dark marking on the occiput.
Flanks with an additional series of 4–5 dark
blotches between fore and hind limb insertions.
Tail dorsum with six dark blotches, distal three
forming bands that alternate with the orangey-
brown background colour. Small scattered dark
markings between the larger dark blotches, simi-
lar such markings on proximal half of tail. Flank
blotches continue along ventrolateral margin
of anterior two thirds of tail. Limbs somewhat
lighter in color than trunk with a series of brown
bands (fore limbs) or blotches (hind limbs).
Crown less orangey than body dorsum, bear-
ing roughly symmetrical dark markings. Labial
scales and sides of neck white with scattered
20 Hamadryad [Vol. 36, No. 1
Figure 1. Geckoella jeyporensis in life. (A) Adult specimen CES09/1356. (B) Subadult specimen BNHS 2274.
(C) Close up of dorsal scalation of BNHS 2274 showing the distinctive enlarged, attened, hexagonal dorsal
scales of this species.
dark markings. Venter white with dark mark-
ings under the chin and jaws, across neck, and
along edges of anks; remainder of venter im-
maculate. Tail venter pale dull yellow with ve
narrow incomplete brown bands proximally and
ve darker, more complete bands distally. Iris
brass colored.
June, 2012] Agarwal et al. 21
Figure 2. Semi-evergreen forest habitat of Geckoella jeyporensis. (A) Coffee plantation at Galikonda, Visakhapat-
nam District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Photo courtesy of V. Deepak. (B) Deomali, Koraput District, Odisha, India.
Subadult reddish medium brown with a se-
ries of large dark chocolate brown dorsal blotch-
es, each outlined by a very thin light goldenrod
to orange border. Blotches arranged in pairs,
although these are asymmetrical and may be
fragmented: one pair on occiput, one fused pair
on the nape, conuent with a broad ventral post-
ocular streak, 4 (right)–5 (left) pairs from shoul-
ders to sacrum, and 6 blotches on tail, alternat-
ing with narrower medium brown interspaces;
tail blotches with goldenrod border only on
posterior margins (Fig. 1B). Limbs with much
smaller, less distinct blotches that form bands;
goldenrod borders only on larger blotches of
hindlimb. Antorbital markings a deep brick red
with dark brown margins. Dark supraocular and
crown markings, as well as a dorsal postocular
streak, present; colour of head markings grad-
ing from brick to chocolate brown from anterior
to posterior. Labial scales whitish with scattered
ne black dots, light orange-brown blotches
and incomplete black crossbars; markings more
prominent on anterior labials and left side more
strongly pigmented than right. Throat white
with black reticulations, underside of tail, mar-
gins of limbs, and anks dirty, pale ochre with
darker blotches thickly bordered by black; belly
uniform off-white to grey. Iris bronze.
Distribution.– Geckoella jeyporensis was de-
scribed from “Patinghe Hill”, in the “Jeypore
Hills”, at an altitude of 4,200 ft. (1273 m).
While we could locate Jeypore, a town in Ko-
raput District of Odisha, we were unable to trace
“Patinghe” on any available maps. About 50 km
from Jeypore and 10 km from Deomali is Pot-
tangi, a small town, around which the hills rise
up to above 1,200 m. Based on elevation and
location it is likely that the hill referred to as
“Patinghe Hill” by Beddome (1877) is in the hill
range around Pottangi. CES09/1356 was col-
lected from Galikonda, near Arakku, Visakhap-
atnam District, Andhra Pradesh, India, which is
within about 40 km of the type locality. BNHS
2274 was collected within about 10 km of the
type locality, on the ascent to Deomali peak,
near Jeypore, in Koraput District, Odisha. There
are a few other high peaks (> 1,200 m asl) in
this hill range where it is possible this species
may occur.
Natural History.– CES09/1356 was collected
from Galikonda which rises to about 1430 m
asl, while the mountain on which BNHS 2274
was collected, Deomali, is the highest peak in
Odisha, with a maximum elevation of 1672 m
asl. CES09/1356 was collected from a coffee
plantation that has mainly natural shade trees at
an altitude of 1234 m asl (Fig. 2A) and BNHS
2274 was found in a patch of semi-evergreen
forest habitat (Fig. 2B) at an altitude of 1240
m asl, while the holotype was collected in a
“wood” at ~1273 m, suggesting that G. jeypo-
rensis is a high elevation forest specialist. The
high elevation forests at Galikonda are highly
degraded and have been extensively converted
to coffee plantations, only some of which have
native shade trees. The plantations do not seem
well maintained and there are small patches of
native vegetation toward the fringes and near
streams. At Deomali high elevation forests are
restricted to pockets in depressions and shel-
tered areas, and have stunted trees, rich leaf
litter and epiphytic growth. In both areas, the
forests open into grasslands with Pheonix on
the mountain-top (1300–1600 m asl). The aver-
22 Hamadryad [Vol. 36, No. 1
age annual rainfall in Visakhapatnam District is
about 1100 mm and 1255 mm in Koraput Dis-
trict (data from 1901–2002, http://indiawater-
portal.org/met_data/).
CES09/1356 was spotted about 1.5 m above
the ground on the trunk of a large tree at ~21h00
in the course of an hour-long search by ve team
members. The same area was searched for about
8–10 hours by three team members during the
day and night in 2010, during which no speci-
mens of Geckoella jeyporensis were observed,
though a few specimens of G. nebulosa were
located. BNHS 2274 was found during the day
under a rock in a small patch of forest in the
course of about three hours of searching by four
team members, during which time two speci-
mens of Geckoella nebulosa were also found.
The same area was searched at night for about
two hours by the same team and no specimens
of G. jeyporensis were observed, although an
additional specimen of G. nebulosa was spot-
ted. Sepsophis punctatus and Eutropis macular-
ia were also found at Galikonda and Lygosoma
punctata at Deomali.
Comparison with published information on the
holotype.– Though the original description of
Geckoella jeyporensis (Beddome 1877) as well
as two subsequent descriptions of the same
specimen (Boulenger 1885; Smith 1935) are
all brief, a fairly specic type locality is given,
and a number of diagnostic characters are pro-
vided that allow us to condently assign both
CES09/1356 and BNHS 2274 to this species.
Both specimens are from fairly close to the type
locality and were collected from forest habitat
above 1200 m (Beddome 1877). The distinctive
dorsal pholidosis seen in the new specimens
and described by Beddome (1877) is unlike that
of any other Indian gecko, and is diagnostic of
G. jeyporensis. Additional characters listed by
Beddome (1877), Boulenger (1885), and Smith
(1935) that CES09/1356 and BNHS 2274 share
(holotype characters followed by variation seen
in CES09/1356, BNHS 2274 in parantheses)
include the lack of pores in males, subcaudals
larger then belly scales, 18 dorsal scale rows
(21–22, 21–22), 27–30 ventral scale rows (27–
30, 25–27). CES09/1356 and BNHS 2274 differ
from the holotype in the following characters
(CES09/1356, BNHS 2274 vs. holotype): dor-
sal scale rows (21–22 vs. 18; possibly reect-
ing a difference in rows included in the count),
number of supralabials (12/11, 11/10 vs. 10),
number of infralabials (10/10, 10/9 vs.7). At
60.2 mm SVL the newly collected adult is about
11% larger than the holotype (54 mm SVL).
Discussion
The phylogenetic afnities of Geckoella jeypo-
rensis are difcult to comment upon. There are
two broad groups of Geckoella based on dor-
sal scalation, however, a close examination of
CES09/1356 and BNHS 2274 reveals that the
dorsal scalation of this species (Fig. 1C) is un-
like any other Geckoella species and is, in fact,
unique among Indian geckos. Geckoella jey-
porensis is distributed in high elevation, semi-
evergreen moist forests within the arid Eastern
Ghats, which are a broken chain of mountains
across the east coast of India with predominantly
scrub or deciduous forests. Two other species of
Geckoella are distributed in the Eastern Ghats.
G. collegalensis is found in deciduous and scrub
forests across mainly western and southern Pe-
ninsular India (Mirza et al. 2010), extending into
the southern part of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra
Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. G. nebulosa is widely
distributed across the Eastern Ghats from about
17.6° N to 22.3° N (Agarwal 2007) and occurs
in a variety of habitats. Geckoella jeyporensis is
sympatric with G. nebulosa at both Galikonda
and Deomali, and is nested within the range
of this species, and thus may represent a case
of peripatric speciation (Coyne & Orr 2004).
Additionally, the enlarged dorsal scales are
relatively homogenous, and could conceivably
be derived from or related to the homogenous
granular scales of G. nebulosa. Alternatively, G.
jeyporensis could be a wet zone relict, persisting
in its moist high elevation habitat through the
aridication of peninsular India (Karanth 2003),
and may have afnities to the wet zone species.
However such conclusions are highly specula-
tive, and molecular phylogenetic data as well as
more accurate distributional data are needed for
a true understanding of the relationships among
members of the genus Geckoella.
In some ways, the rediscovery of Geckoella
jeyporensis is symptomatic of herpetological
research in India. There are a number of spe-
cies that have not been recorded since their
original descriptions or are known from few
June, 2012] Agarwal et al. 23
localities around the type locality (2011 IUCN
Western Ghats reptile assessment, unpublished
data), while the recent past has seen rediscover-
ies and new descriptions of many reptiles and
amphibians (Gower et al. 2004; Mistry et al.
2007; Giri 2008; Mahony 2009; Seetharamaraju
et al. 2009; Agarwal et al. 2010; Scheffers et al.
2011; Vogel & Rooijen 2011). While some of
these species may be intrinsically rare, range-
restricted or infrequently encountered due to
ecological traits such as seasonality, fossorial-
ity or arboreality (high canopy species); many
so-called lost species have simply not been
searched for by trained eld biologists. This un-
derscores the need for basic biodiversity inven-
tory across India, especially in areas that have
been relatively less studied such as the Eastern
Ghats. This rediscovery was after a few hours of
intensive eldwork by a team with considerable
eld experience, though similar searches by
other competent teams have not been successful
(P. Mohapatra pers. comm.), and we also failed
to locate G. jeyporensis at Galikonda in 2010.
The forest habitats in which Geckoella jeypo-
rensis was found are under extreme anthropo-
genic pressures. Neither area in which the new
material was collected is formally protected and
both have been severely deforested. Galikonda
and the surrounding hills have also been exten-
sively converted to coffee plantations, while
Deomali faces grazing and fuel wood collec-
tion pressures. More broadly, the hills in Ko-
raput District face pressures from mining as
well as social forestry activities (P. Mohapatra
pers. comm.). Even if it is widely distributed in
the region, the potential habitat available to G.
jeyporensis may be restricted by its presumed
habitat preference (semi-evergreen forests
>1200 m asl). Many of these areas have been
converted to plantations, agriculture or grazing
lands, further reducing the potential habitat for
this species. Deomali and Galikonda, the only
localities from where Geckoella jeyporensis is
denitely known, require immediate protection
and surveys in the region are needed to deter-
mine where else G. jeyporensis occurs.
Acknowledgements
Fieldwork was carried out with joint funding
from the MOEF, Govt. of India and grant DEB
0844523 from the National Science Foundation,
USA to AMB. IA and ADR thank P. Karanth for
his help. In Andhra Pradesh, V. Deepak, Prudh-
viraj and P. Karanth helped with eldwork. In
Odisha, Tarun and Saroj helped with eldwork
and P. Mohapatra helped with logistics and in-
formation.
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... Museum abbreviations are as follows-Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore (CES); the Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai (BNHS) and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore (NCBS/AQ/AK field series). Morphological data for the lectotype of H. aurantiacus were obtained from Zug (2010) and published data for other Hemiphyllodactylus species from Zug 2010; Grismer et al. 2013Grismer et al. , 2014aGrismer et al. , b, 2015Grismer et al. , 2018aAgarwal et al. 2012;Tri et al. 2014;Nguyen et al. 2014;Guo et al. 2015;Cobos et al. 2016;Yan et al. 2016;Sukprasert et al. 2018;Sung et al. 2018. Photographs were taken with an SLR camera in life and after preservation; counts and measurements were taken under a Wild M5 dissecting microscope and on the right side of the body, where appropriate. ...
... The collection locality in Araku was the compound of the Forest Department Rest House, with mainly non-native vegetation including many large Eucalyptus trees, while the other locality was near a small riparian patch of forest in a coffee plantation (also see Agarwal et al. 2012;Datta-Roy et al. 2013). Geckos were spotted after dark on the base of trees (< 1 m high), rocks and walls and a few were on the ground. ...
... data;Ganesh and Arumugam 2016). In the Eastern Ghats, Araku is close to the type locality of the caecilian Gegeneophis orientalis Agarwal et al. 2013, the gecko Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) nebulosus (Beddome, 1870) and the skink Sepsophis punctatus Beddome, 1870(Datta-Roy et al. 2013, while the geckos Cyrtodactylus (Geckoella) jeyporensis (Beddome, 1878;Aengals et al. 2013) (Agarwal et al. 2013;Agarwal et al. 2012) and Hemidactylus sushilduttai Giri et al., 2017;Agarwal et al. 2017 are also distributed in the region, all endemic to the Mahendragiris. Collection-based biodiversity inventory is essential for a baseline understanding of diversity and distributions across peninsular India. ...
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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 Miocene. Mesic forests today are largely restricted to coastal mountains and some other montane habitats. A mitochondrial phylogeny and fossil-calibrated timetree of Indian Hemiphyllodactylus reveal an Indochinese origin and an endemic radiation with 12 species-level lineages, where a single species was known, that diversified in the Oligocene-Miocene across montane forest habitats in the Eastern Ghats and south India. The phylogeny also suggests the discontinuous Eastern Ghats mountain range encompasses two distinct biogeographic entities: north and south of the Pennar/Krishna-Godavari River basins. This study highlights the deep history of the region and the importance of montane habitats as islands of unique biodiversity that have persisted through millions of years of changing climates. We describe three new species: Hemiphyllodactylus arakuensis sp. nov., H. jnana sp. nov. and H. kolliensis sp. nov. from montane habitats above 1000 m. The montane habitats of these species are emerging hotspots of reptile endemism, and this study emphasizes the need for systematic biodiversity inventory across India to uncover basic patterns of diversity and distribution.
... There is no CITES Standard reference that applies to this species. The following could be used: Uetz, P., Freed, P. and Hošek, J. (eds (Agarwal et al., 2012). It is known only from two separated areas in high elevation moist forest of Jeypore Hills in Orissa and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and the extent of occurrence is highly restricted to less than 100 km 2 of fragmented high elevation habitat (Mohapatra, 2021). ...
... One other species group of the subgenus Geckoella (G. nebulosus complex) with superficially similar features is distributed across the same range as C. jeyporensis within the Eastern Ghats (Agarwal et al., 2012), but differentiating between C. jeyporensis and species of the G. nebulosus complex is not challenging with some training (Agarwal, in litt., 2022). ...
Technical Report
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CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) wasopened for signature in Washington DC on 3rd March 1973, and to date has 184 Parties from across the world. If CITES is to remain a credible instrument for conserving species affected by trade, the decisions of the Parties must be based on the best available scientific and technical information. Recognizing this, IUCN and TRAFFIC have undertaken technical reviews of the proposals to amend the CITES Appendices submitted to the Nineteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP19). The Analyses - as these technical reviews are known - aim to provide as objective an assessment as possible of each amendment proposal against the requirements of the Convention, as agreed by Parties and laid out in the listing criteria elaborated in Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) and other relevant Resolutions and Decisions. To ensure the Analyses are as accessible as possible to all Parties, we have created a bespoke webpage where the Analyses can be downloaded individually by proposal or in full (see https://citesanalyses.iucnredlist.org/).
... The existing habit in the study area has undergone tremendous modifications in the past from silviculture to shifting cultivation and in recent years, cash crop plantations in the hilltops, particularly coffee, cotton and cashew as well as cardamom ( Figure 3A-D). This alteration in the habitat has brought changes in the soil structure and composition as well as rainfall patterns (Agarwal et al., 2012). However, in our recent investigation, we observed the species crawling on decaying litter on moist area of the woodland in higher elevation zone of the hills of Mahendragiri in the relatively less human-disturbed areas. ...
... S. beddomei was not recorded in previous surveys of this area by malacologist, leaving malacologist to ponder if this species was extinct (Godwin-Austen, 1917;Annandale & Prashad, 1920;Subba Rao et al., 1989;Mitra et al., 2005;Prakasa Rao et al., 2013;Sajan et al., 2018;Tripathy et al., 2018b). Geographically, the Eastern Ghats with long discontinuous mountains range extending from the Western Ghats to Gangetic plains along the eastern coast of Deccan peninsula act as a corridor for movement of Malayan fauna and also act as highways for the Western Ghats and Indo-Burmese species (Blanford, 1866(Blanford, , 1876Agarwal et al., 2012;Tripathy et al., 2018b). The operculate land snail of genus Spiraculum is having evidence of sporadic distribution pattern in India (Gude, 1921;Ramakrishna et al., 2010;Tripathy et al., 2018b). ...
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Spiraculum beddomei Blanford, 1866, a rare operculate land snail, was described in 1866 from Kimety (=Kimery) Hills, near Waltair (Vizagapatam), Madras Presidency in India has been reported nearly after 150 years from the adjoin Eastern Ghats landscape of Mahendragiri Hills in Gajapati district of Odisha in India. Here, we present new locality and detailed taxonomic characters of the species based on the direction of the sutural tube and flat spire along with a photomicrograph of the radula structure for the first time. A note on its zoogeography, habitat and natural history accounts are briefly discussed.
... The Koraput district of Odisha, which is part of the Eastern Ghats Highland, has received a lot of interest recently due to reports of indigenous flora and fauna (Misra et al. 2009;Agarwal et al. 2012Agarwal et al. , 2013Panda et al. 2014). Their discontinuous distributions and range extension (Majumdar 1988; Mohapatra et al. 2010Mohapatra et al. , 2016Debata et al. 2018;Mahata et al. 2019a) make for an important biodiversity area that has yet to be explored. ...
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Abstract A study on butterfly diversity and inventory completeness was carried out in the northern highlands of Eastern Ghats of India. A 300 m transect count (Pollard walk) was undertaken in eight study sites based on different biotopes i.e., natural forest, agroforestry and urban green areas from November 2016 to October 2017. The study recorded 5222 butterflies under six families 20 subfamilies, 102 genera and 148 species. The species composition mainly depended on biotope preferences and inventory completeness varied with respect to sites. Overall, 87.05% of regional species inventory was completed in the present study. The result of two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated significant differences among sites in both species richness (F = 3.549, df = 7,108, P = 0.002) and abundance (F = 3.17, df = 7,108, P = 0.005). Similarly, seasonal variation significantly observed both in species richness (F = 13.583, df = 3,108, P < 0.001) and abundance (F = 12.034, df = 3,108, P < 0.001). Furthermore, a significant interaction between sites and season (F = 3.401, df = 3,108, P = 0.001) reflects the variability in the butterfly abundance in the study sites and seasons of the sampled geographical area. Dry seasons showed higher species assemblages than wet seasons. Polyculture (coffee) plantations showed similarities with natural forest, whereas monoculture (cashew) plantation was closer towards urban greens. Findings of the study highlight the significance of the Eastern Ghats for butterfly conservation in India and form a baseline for future quantitative work on the diversity and conservation of butterflies in this biodiversity-rich region. Keywords Butterfly · Eastern Ghats · Flight periods · Inventory completeness
... Apart from scolopendrid centipedes, a few other taxa have been suggested to have an ancient Gondwanan history in PIP, including frogsfamily Nasikabatrachidae [70]; family Nyctibatrachidae [71]; caeciliansfamily Indotyphlidae [41]; beetlesfamily Hydrophilidae; plants -Exacum [66]. Most of these ancient endemic lineages are restricted to the wet forests of the Western Ghats, although it has also been argued that the Eastern Ghats could also potentially harbour ancient lineages but they remain poorly explored [41,72,73]. In this study, we report one of the oldest divergences and lack of gene flow among the Eastern and Western Ghats wet forest endemics, between E. agasthyamalaiensis -E. ...
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Background Understanding the relative influence of vicariance and dispersal in shaping Old World tropical biodiversity remains a challenge. We aimed to infer the roles of these alternative biogeographic processes using a species time-tree for the centipede genus Ethmostigmus from the Old World tropics. Additionally, we explored fine-scale biogeographic patterns for an endemic radiation of Ethmostigmus from the peninsular Indian Plate (PIP), an area with complex geological and climatic history. Results Divergence time estimates suggest that Ethmostigmus began diversifying in the Early Cretaceous, 125.4 (± 25) million years ago (Ma), its early biogeographic history shaped by vicariance. Members of Ethmostigmus in PIP form a monophyletic group that underwent endemic radiation in the Late Cretaceous, 100 (± 25) Ma. In contrast, a new species of Ethmostigmus from north-east India formed a clade with African/Australian species. Fine-scale biogeographic analyses in PIP predict that Indian Ethmostigmus had an ancestor in southern-central parts of the Western Ghats. This was followed by four independent dispersal events from the southern-central Western Ghats to the Eastern Ghats, and between different parts of the Western Ghats in the Cenozoic. Conclusions Our results are consistent with Gondwanan break-up driving the early evolutionary history of the genus Ethmostigmus. Multiple dispersal events coinciding with geo-climatic events throughout the Cenozoic shaped diversification in PIP. Ethmostigmus species in PIP are restricted to wet forests and have retained that niche throughout their diversification. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12862-019-1367-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... Similarly, birds such as the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis and Pale-chinned Blue Flycatcher Cyornis poliogenys, earlier known as 'northeast birds' have been recorded from the northern Eastern Ghats (Prashanth 2016). Apart from sharing biological attributes with the proximate 'hotspots', the northern Eastern Ghats is home to several rare, endemic and threatened species of flora and fauna, including reptiles such as the Golden Gecko Calodactylodes aureus (Javed et al. 2007), Jeypore Ground Gecko Geckoella jeyporensis (Agarwal et al. 2012), a new species of caecilian Gegeneophis orientalis (Agarwal et al. 2013), birds like the Yellow-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus xantholaemus and the Critically Endangered Blewitt's Owl or Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewetti (Azeez et al. 2008;Kumar et al. 2010). ...
Article
The northern Eastern Ghats is an area with significant biodiversity value but remains poorly explored except for a few charismatic taxa such as birds, mammals and reptiles. Very few studies have looked at the invertebrate diversity of these hill ranges, particularly butterflies. We present the first peer-reviewed checklist of butterflies from the northern Eastern Ghats based on a rapid and intensive survey carried out at five sites over 16 days across the buffer area of Papikonda National Park and Araku Valley in 2015 and 2016. We report a total of 102 species of butterflies from six lepidopteran families. Seventeen significant records include numerous first reports: three new species reports for Peninsular India, nine for Eastern Ghats and 14 for the northern Eastern Ghats. This checklist adds 17 species to the known butterfly fauna for the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is hoped that findings from the study will help to mobilise conservation research, action and attention for the northern Eastern Ghats forest habitats, which are currently threatened by large scale development, security threats due to the Naxalite insurgency and mesoscale exploitation of forest resources.
... Recent surveys have reported several rare, endemic and threatened species from the Eastern Ghats including the Jeypore ground gecko (Agarwal et al. 2012), yellowthroated bulbul (Sreekar and Srinivasulu 2010), Blewitt's owl (Kumar et al. 2010), leopard cat, rusty spotted cat and stripe-necked mongoose Ganesh 2016, 2017), highlighting the conservation significance of this landscape. However, this ecologically important area is currently under severe threat from mining (Kumar et al. 2010;Oskarsson 2010), long-fallows shifting cultivation (podu) and infrastructure development particularly large dams (Gujja et al. 2006;NRSC 2017). ...
Article
Global conservation efforts have traditionally focused on biodiversity hotspots and other priority landscapes. However, large areas outside priority sites have high conservation value and are referred to as neglected landscapes. The Eastern Ghats of India is an unexplored forest landscape of high conservation value with several endemic and threatened species reported, and is also home to many indigenous forest-dwelling communities. However, it remains a neglected area for conservation and only 3.53% of this landscape is protected. Here, we examine the effectiveness of protected areas in neglected landscapes in preventing forest degradation, and how community perceptions can be used to understand satellite-based landscape change analyses at village level. This study was conducted in Papikonda National park (PNP) and its unprotected buffers in India’s Eastern Ghats. Forest degradation was higher in the buffer (32%) than inside PNP (12%) between 1991 and 2014. Communities attributed shifting cultivation, plantations and over-extraction of forest resources as being the major drivers of forest degradation. Community observations of change were not significantly correlated with spatial measures of change. Forest degradation was higher outside the PA at a landscape level and inside the PA at the village level, therefore the PA was effective in reducing degradation at the landscape level but not at the village level inside the PA. We further discuss the role of community observations in interpreting forest degradation in neglected forest landscapes.
... The study was conducted in Koraput district (18°N and 19°N latitude and 82°E and 83°E longitude) (herein after 'Koraput') in Odisha, India (Fig. 1). A large portion of the district is mountainous terrains of the Eastern Ghats, which are rich in endemic flora (Misra et al. 2009(Misra et al. , 2012 and fauna (Agarwal et al. 2012(Agarwal et al. , 2013Debata et al. 2015Debata et al. , 2017Majumdar 1988;Mohapatra et al. 2009Palita et al. 2016). Over time, Koraput has experienced large-scale deforestation and increase in agricultural practices due to rapid industrialisation and 'Podu' (shifting) cultivation practiced by tribal people along with increased human settlements (Reddy et al. 2012). ...
Article
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Agroforestry plays an important role in of agroforestry on biodiversity, a study was undertaken to access butterfly diversity in coffee, cashew and guava plantations in Eastern Ghats of southern Odisha during February–April 2016. A total of 1075 individuals of butterflies belonging to 60 species and 46 genera under five families were recorded during the study. Species richness (S) as well as Shannon diversity (H) were found to be higher in coffee (S = 45, H = 3.051) plantation, followed by cashew (S = 31, H = 2.807) and guava (S = 20, H = 2.519). However, though butterfly abundance was found to be maximum in coffee (43%), it was higher in guava (33%) followed by cashew (24%). Also, a significant difference was observed between butterfly abundance among three plantations. This shows coffee plantation was the best habitat for butterflies among the three agroforestry habitats studied. The reason for this was habitat heterogeneity in coffee plantation supporting maximum exclusive butterfly species and was least human influenced with close canopy forest. Over all, family Nymphalidae was found to be the most abundant, and Lycaenidae was the least abundant. The findings of the present study are promising and may set new directions for management of agroforestry plantations in the region to support a rich biodiversity.
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Pangolins are the most trafficked animals globally. Although the Indian pangolin Manis crassicaudata occurs across the Indian subcontinent (excluding parts of the Himalayas and the north-east, where the Chinese pangolin Manis pentadactyla is present), it is categorized as Endangered on the IUCN Red List as a result of heavy poaching for its meat and scales. Several areas have not yet been surveyed for the occurrence of the Indian pangolin, one of which is the 16,948 km ² tropical deciduous forests of the northern Eastern Ghats landscape in Andhra Pradesh. During December 2017–April 2018, we surveyed 750 km ² of this landscape for the presence of the Indian pangolin, using camera traps. As an alternative method to document pangolin presence, and to identify factors driving hunting of the species, we also conducted, during the same period, a total of 60 semi-structured interviews with people in 30 villages. Interviewees reported the presence of pangolins in a majority of the grid cells that we surveyed with camera traps, particularly in moist deciduous forests distant from villages. However, the camera traps did not detect pangolins in 840 trap-days. Hunting of pangolins for their meat, which is consumed locally, and for their scales, which are traded, is most likely the reason for the rarity of the species in this landscape. A better understanding of the proximate and ultimate drivers of pangolin hunting is required, to inform proactive conservation management for this increasingly threatened species.
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We describe a new species of Cyrtodactylus on the basis of four specimens collected from Phu My, Binh Dinh Province, southern Vietnam. Cyrtodactylus phumyensis sp. nov. is distinguished from the remaining Indochinese bent-toed geckos by a combination of the following characters: size small (SVL up to 66.8 mm); two internasals; dorsal tubercle rows 18 or 19 at midbody; ventral scale rows 33-41; ventrolateral folds slightly developed; each thigh with 5-7 enlarged femoral scales; femoral pores absent in males and female; a series of 5-7 precloacal pores plus a pitted, enlarged precloacal scale in males; 6 pitted, enlarged precloacal scales in female; paravertebral tubercles 20-23; lamellae under toe IV 18-21; small subcaudal scales, not transversely enlarged; two irregular dark longitudinal stripes on shoulder. In phylogenetic analyses, the new species is recovered as a member of the Cyrtodactylus irregularis species group, and strongly supported as a sister taxon of C. cucdongensis from Khanh Hoa Province.
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This is a first report on the reptiles of Eaglenest wildlife sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, India. The paper lists details of 23 snake species representing 16 genera from four families, and ten lizard species representing eight gen-era from three families, documented in Eaglenest during three surveys in 2004 – 2005. Notable records include the rediscovery of Dinodon gammiei, Mictopholis austeniana, as well as records of Japalura andersoniana, Oligodon cinereus, and three species of Trachischium.
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miei from a specimen reported to come " from the Cinchona plantations, British Sikkim ". The sole specimen was collected by J. A. Gammie and given to the Indian Museum in the same year (Anonymous, 1879). Later, Blanford (1878b) gave a more detailed description of the holotype and corrected the type locality to " Cinchona plantation in Southeastern Sikkim ". For dates of publication of the Proceedings and Journals of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, see Das (2000). The first Cinchona plantation (a tree for the production of quinine, used as a treatment against fever and malaria), was in Lebong below Darjeeling (town). In 1864, the plantation spread up to Rangjo valley at Rangbi and Sen-chal, ca. 20 km southeast of Darjeeling (see map in Waddell, 1899, ca. 88°20´8°30´N , 26°56´7°06´E). This area was already part of the Darjeeling District at the time, so the correct citation of the type locality was (and is also now) " Cinchona plantation, Darjeeling " Dar-jeeling [District, state of West Bengal, eastern India], as already noted by Sclater (1891b:15) and Wall (1923:615). This species was then cited as Lycodon gammiei by Boulenger (1890, 1893) and Sclater (1891a–b). Gammie (1928) no longer listed this species for Sikkim, being obviously aware that the type locality was in Darjeeling District. No additional specimens were reported until D'Abreu (1911) recorded a second specimen of this species from Goomtee Tea Estate near Kurseong, Darjeeling District, under the name Lycodon fasciatus. Several months later, Wall (1911) synonymized Lycodon fasciatus with L. gammiei, stating that the holotype of Ophites gammiei was an aberrant Lycodon fasciatus (Wall, 1911b). As O. gammiei was the older name, it has priority over L. fasciatus. Later, Wall (1923) accepted this species as valid and even proposed to transfer it to the genus Dino-don. He recorded a third specimen (now registered as ZSI 17129) that was deposited in the Indian Museum and transferred D´Abreu´s L. fasciatus from Kurseong to D. gammiei. Smith (1943) recognised the validity of this species in
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A new species of Hemidactylus herein is described from a small population in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is compared with all Indian congeneric species from which it differs by the following combination of characters; SVL 59.1 – 70.2 mm, 15 – 16 transverse rows of tubercles at midbody, 6 transverse rows of tubercles on the first segment of the tail, 6 – 7 lamellae on digit I of pes, 9 lamellae on digit IV of pes, 14 precloacal-femo-ral pores in males, 11 – 12 superlabials, 10 infralabials and three enlarged postcloacal spurs, posterior most spur approximately three times the size of each of the anterior pair which are of equal size to each other.
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We report the rediscovery of Vosmer’s Writhing Skink Lygosoma vosmaerii (Gray, 1839) (Reptilia: Scincidae) based on a specimen collected from Jaggayapet, Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, which constitutes the second known specimen after the type specimen that was collected 170 years ago. Vosmer’s Writhing Skink differs from the widely-distributed Lined Writhing Skink Lygosoma lineata (Gray, 1839) in possessing five fingers on its forelimbs as compared to four toes in the latter taxon.
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Disjunct distributions among wet-zone taxa of the Indian subcontinent have intrigued biologists for decades. Most authors have invoked variations of either the dispersal or the vicariance model to explain disjunct distribution. However, some have noted that incorrect taxonomy, due to convergence in morphological characters, can erroneously suggest disjunct distribution. An appropriate approach to test these models (vicariance, dispersal and convergence) is to use molecular phylogenetic methods. A survey of recent molecular phylogenetic studies on Indian systems with disjunct distribution suggests that convergence may be quite common. Therefore, I propose that the first step in studying disjunct distributions is to determine if the observed pattern is real (true disjunct) and not due to convergence, i.e. an artifact of incorrect taxonomy (false disjunct).