Contributions to Zoology, 85 (1) – 2016V. Deepak; Varad B. Giri; Mohammad Asif; Sushil Kumar Dutta; Raju Vyas; Amod M. Zambre; Harshal Bhosale; K. Praveen Karanth: Systematics and phylogeny of Sitana (Reptilia: Agamidae) of Peninsular India, with the description of one new genus and five new species

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Sitana laticeps Deepak and Giri sp. nov.

(Figs 9C, 13A-D; Table 3, 5, 7, 8


Fig. 13. Holotype of Sitana laticeps sp. nov. from Bopdev Ghat, Maharashtra. (A) full body dorsal (B) flank region (C) dorsal view of head (D) lateral view of head. Scale bar is equal to 10 mm. Note: The enlarged scales on the back of the head are pointed with an arrow.

Holotype. NCBS-AQ056, adult male, Bopdev Ghat, geo­referenced latitude N18.372818o, longitude E73.9128o, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by V. Deepak and Amod Zambre on 21 August 2013.

Paratypes. CES 141165, adult male and BNHS 2312, adult female, Saswad, georeferenced latitude N18.347139o, longitude E73.898489o, Pune District, Maharashtra state, collected by V. Deepak and Amod Zambre on 21 August 2013.

Referred specimens. CES 13521 (1 adult male), Pavagadh, Panchmal District, Gujarat State, collected by Kartik Upadhay and V. Deepak on 9 May 2013. ZSIP R/548 (1 adult male, 1 adult female), Sinhagad, Pune District, Maharashtra state, collected by S.S. Kamble on 28 May 1982. ZSIP R/564 (1 adult male), Uralikanchan, Pune District, Maharashtra state, collected by R.N. Chopra on 18 September 1968. ZSIP R/701 (1 adult female), Bhosari, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.N. Chopra on 31 July 1970; ZSIP R/958 (1 male, 1 female), Wagholi, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by B.S. Lamba on 8 July 1967. ZSIP R/549 (1 male, 1 female) Wagholi, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by D.N. Tiwari on 29 June 1967. ZSIP R/616 (1 adult male), Vettal Hill, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.N. Chopra on 29 September 1962. ZSIP R/900 (1 adult male, 1 adult female) Chakan, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by K. Reddiah on 3 July 1976. ZSIK 21571 (6 adult males, 5 adult females), Indapur Town 31 miles NE of Baramati, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.C. Sharma on 6 June 1964. ZSI 21573 (4 adult males, 6 adult females), Dhond and vicinity, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.C. Sharma on 8 June 1964. ZSI 21581 (1 adult male), Manchar village, 13 km off Narayangaon, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.C. Sharma on 17 June 1964. ZSI 21578 (1 adult male, 1 adult female), Patas village, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.C. Sharma on 13 June 1964. ZSI 21585 (1 adult male), Pimpalvandi, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.C. Sharma on 22 June 1964. ZSIK 21584 (1 adult female) Nagapur, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.C. Sharma on 21 June 1964. ZSI 21579 (3 adult females) Bhigwan, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by R.C. Sharma on 14 June 1964. CES 14628 - CES 14629 (2 adult males) Saswad, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by V. Deepak and Amod Zambre on 17 April 2014. CES 14625 - CES 14627 (3 adult males) Kanif­nath, Pune District, Maharashtra State, collected by V. Deepak and Amod Zambre on 17 April 2014. CES 13626 (1 subadult female), Nannaj, Solapur District, Maharashtra State collected by V. Deepak, Aparna Lajmi and Aniruddha Datta-Roy on 6 November 2013.

Diagnosis. Sitana laticeps sp. nov. can be distinguished from all the members of Sitana ponticeriana clade in having a weakly-serrated dewlap with only a single blue median line and with white or yellowish color on the dewlap (Fig. 3D and E). Sitana laticeps sp. nov. can be distinguished from Sitana spinaece­phalus sp. nov. in having a proportionally smaller dewlap (29% of the length of the trunk vs 36%). Additionally, Sitana laticeps sp. nov. can be differentiated from Sitana spinaecephalus sp. nov. in having less prominent spines on the back of the head. Sitana laticeps sp. nov. are one of the small sized Sitana; males (44.7 ± 2.0), females (46.1 ± 3.0). Details on morphometric data, scale counts and body ratios of select characters for multiple samples are given in Table 3, 7, 8.

Description of holotype NCBS-AQ056 (Fig 13A-D; Table 7). The holotype is in a good condition. The hemipenes are everted and barely visible on the right and left sides when viewed dorsally; tail entire, slightly bent towards the right side; forelimbs are slightly adpressed to the body and right hind limb is slightly bent upwards, an artifact of preservation. An adult male, SVL 43.05 mm. Head relatively long (HL/SVL ratio 0.30), broad (HW/HL ratio 0.69), not depressed (HH/HL ratio 0.50), distinct from neck. Snout short (SE/HL ratio 0.42), pointed; longer than eye diameter (OD/SE ratio 0.58). Eye large (ED/HL ratio 0.25); pupil round, eyelids covered with small pentagonal scales, supraciliaries short. Snout obtusely pointed when viewed dorsally; rostral much wider than deep, contacted laterally by first supralabials, and dorsally by smaller prenasals and three anterior most scales on the snout. Canthus rostralis and supraciliary edge sharp. Nostril subcircular, laterally positioned and placed slightly behind the centre of a large, undivided and roughly pentagonal nasal plate, which is bordered by six scales (right side), including one prenasal, two postnasals and one supranasal, separated from rostral by prenasal; first supralabial barely touching nasal plate. 8 roughly rectangular, strongly keeled supralabials, bordered above by a single row of smaller (less than half the size of supralabials), unequal sized, roughly rectangular, keeled scales, which terminate above last supralabial; infralabials 7, strongly keeled, rectangular. Loreal region concave, scales of the loreal region heterogenous in size and shape, flat, keeled, composed of a single row of rectangular, keeled scales, which begin behind the postnasal and terminate with a large scale along with a row of scales above supralabial. Scales on postorbital and temporal region slightly heterogeneous, subimbricate, strongly keeled and mostly directed backward and upwards. Orbital scales small, flat, juxtaposed, not granular. Tympanum naked. Canthals enlarged, overlapping, becoming slightly smaller along supraciliaries that are subimbricate, protrude slightly laterally on supraorbital ridge. Scales on dorsal surface of snout, forehead, interorbital and occipital region are heterogeneous in size and shape, smallest on snout, two large scales on forehead and a pair of much larger, slightly incurved scales at frontal position; most of the remaining scales are elongate, imbricate, strongly keeled longitudinally, fairly regularly arranged throughout; supraorbital and interorbital scales more or less similar except a single row of scales at midorbital position which is slightly larger than adjacent scales and appear regularly arranged; occipital scales heterogeneous in size and shape, weakly pointed, keeled and irregularly arranged. Parietal plate indistinct from remaining head scales, with small pineal eye. Mental shield narrower than rostral; scales on the gular region not keeled. Dewlap medium, extends posteriorly over 12% of the trunk, with posterior scales extending slightly beyond axila, not extending to mid-venter, dewlap scales slightly elongate, gradually increasing in size towards margin and bluntly pointed, marginal row similar in size as adjacent scales, 12 enlarged rows of scale on dewlap. Nuchal and dorsal crest absent. Nuchal scales slightly larger than those of occipital region, regularly arranged, imbricate, strongly keeled. Body slender, 51 rows of scales at midbody, of these about 10 rows of scales on back, starting from back of neck to pectoral region homogeneous in size and shape, slightly larger than those on neck, imbricate, pointed and keeled, these scales directed posteriorly forming regularly arranged longitudinal rows; those on flanks heterogeneous in size and shape, smaller than those on back, obtusely pointed and keeled, with irregularly scattered, slightly larger, pointed and keeled scales, upper rows appear to be directed posterodorsally, lower rows posteroventrally; ventral scales subimbricate, keeled, homogeneous in size and shape, arranged in 75 rows; no precloacal or femoral pores.

Fore and hind limbs relatively slender; tibia short (CL/SVL ratio 0.32); digits moderately long, ending in strong, elongate, slightly recurved claws; inter-digital webbing absent; subdigital lamellae entire and bimucronate, 25 subdigital lamellae on toe IV; relative length of fingers 3>4>2>5>1 and toes 4>3>2>1. Fore and hind limbs are covered above and below with regularly arranged, enlarged, pointed and strongly keeled scales.

Tail entire; tail base swollen; tail uniformly covered with similar sized, keeled, weakly pointed, regularly arranged, posteriorly-directed imbricate scales, no enlarged subcaudal row.

Hemipenial morphology. The hemipenes of six specimens of Sitana laticeps sp. nov. were examined (CES 141165, NCBS-AQ056, CES 14625, CES 14626, CES 14627, CES 14628). Hemipenis single lobed without any division on the asulcal side, clavate, a medial projection present on top of the hemipenis (Fig. 4D, S3). Sulcus spermaticus in the form of a single broad channel. Apex capitate, asulcal surface has calyces forming shallow polygonal pits, ridges between the calyces thin and without micro-ornamentation. Sulcal surface differentiated, medial region has smooth calyces, lateral region has thick fleshy protuberances or flounces, 6-7 in number, the three distalmost protuberances are most pronounced. Papillae present near the sulcus spermaticus, the base unornamented.

Colour in life. Dorsum light to dark brown with a black patch on the neck, three brown rhomboidal markings on the trunk, one each on sacral region and on the base of tail, all relatively lighter than the one on the neck. A black line is present between the eyes. A cream-coloured streak begins below the eye, extending from the nostril to the tympanum, beyond which there are patches of the same colour. The flanks have a mixture of cream, brown, and dark brown scales (enlarged scales were burnt amber coloured). Belly pale white (iridescent) in color. The forelimbs, hind limbs, and tail have dark brown bars of variable width. The dewlap has a single blue streak on the mentum extending to the middle with brown patches or spots on the individual scales of the dewlap.

Colour in preservation. The colouration in preservative closely approximates color in life. Rhomboidal markings and dark brown bars on limbs and tail faintly visible. Colouration on flanks is slightly darker than back. Dewlap colouration is faint.

Variation in paratypes. The paratype male CES 141165 is similar to the holotype in general morphology, scalation and colour, except for the number of enlarged scale rows on the dewlap (13) and the number of ventrals (76). The paratype female BNHS 2312 differs from the type in having 58 scales around the body and 70 ventrals (below mentum to vent). Morphometric data for the paratypes are summarized in S5.

Etymology. The new species is named for its broad head, laticeps, derived from the Latin word latus meaning broad and Latin suffix ceps referring to its head.

Suggested English name. Broad-headed fan-throated lizard.

Distribution. Sitana laticeps sp. nov. is recorded from Sinhagad, Uralikanchan, Bhosari, Wagholi, Vettal Hill, Chakan, Indapur, Dhond, Manchar, Patas village, Pimpalvandi, Nagapur, Bhigwan, Saswad, Kanifnath in Pune District, and Nannaj, Solapur District in Maharashtra State (Fig. 8). The altitudinal distribution is between 513 and 930 m.a.s.l. This is one of the Sitana species with a restricted range in the Balaghat Hill Range (hills around Pune) (see hill range map in Smith, 1935). This hill range is located south of the Godavari River and north of the Bhima River in Maharashtra.

Habitat and natural history. Sitana laticeps sp. nov. is found in rocky terrain with low grass and sparse scrub. The males were found displaying on the rocks. Calotes versicolor and Sarada deccanensis comb. nov. are the sympatric agamid species found in similar habitats. Breeding males are found during the months of May, June and August.


Fig. 14. Images of Sarada in life with photos of their habitat: A. Adult male Sarada deccanensis comb. nov. B. Habitat at Jalna, the type locality of S. deccanensis. C. Adult male S. superba sp. nov. in breeding display. D. Habitat at Chalkewadi, the type locality of S. superba sp. nov. E. Adult male S. darwini sp. nov. in breeding display. F. Habitat at Bidnal, the type locality of S. darwini sp. nov.