Underestimated diversity of Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Sauria: Gekkonidae) on karst landscapes in Sarawak, East Malaysia, Borneo

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Izneil Nashriq
Indraneil Das


The paraphyletic group of Old World rock gecko genus Cnemaspis, currently comprises ~180 described species from Africa and Asia.  The south-east Asian clade with 63 described species, is most diverse on the Thai-Malay Peninsula, with just five species known from Borneo, an island biodiversity hotspot.  Karst regions are known as centres for species endemism, and vast areas of caves and karst exist across northern Borneo.  Fieldwork from 2017 to 2020 recovered additional undescribed species of Cnemaspis from areas of karst forests in western and northern Sarawak.  These discoveries emphasize the importance of preserving areas of limestone karst within rainforest areas for maintaining species diversity, as well as accelerating research on documenting the biota.

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