Friday, April 8, 2016

Ocellated Gecko, Gonatodes ocellatus (Family Sphaerodactylidae)


Cyrtodactylus ocellatus Gray 1831: 51.

Gonatodes ocellatus: Boulenger 1885: 60.

Type locality not given by Gray but stated as Tobago by Boulenger 1885. Distribution. Known only from Tobago and Little Tobago.

Size: 43−48 mm SVL, tail 47% of SVL, hatchlings 19−23 mm SVL. Identification: A small brightly colored lizard with a cylindrical body and tail; male’s head yellow with red-brown stripes, dorsum cinnamon brown with large blue ocelli bordered with black on the shoulder, the ocelli may be present in one or two pairs on each side of the body; females less colorful, faint vertebral stripe; lamellae on fourth toe 25−26. Snout pointed from above, round in profile; canthus rounded and indistinct; dorsum covered in small granular scales; ventrals larger than dorsal scales and imbricate. Similar species: The only other Gonatodes on Tobago is G. vittatus, a species with a vertebral stripe in both sexes; the blue ocelli on the shoulder will readily separate it from G. ceciliae (found only in Trinidad and the Bocas) as will the 25−26 lamellae on the fourth toe (ceciliae has 18-20). Distribution: Tobago and Little Tobago Island. Reports of it on other islands (Trinidad and the Isla de Margarita) are the result of confusing it with other species. Habitat: Primary and secondary forests; on trunks of large trees growing near streams; deserted buildings; on Little Tobago common in stands of the palm Coccothrinax australis. It can also be found in trash piles that are wet and shaded. Natural History: Like other Gonatodes this species appears to be a diurnal, ambush predator. Males maybe territorial and defend an area inhabited by one or more females. Diet includes insects and land snails. Communal nests containing more than 30 eggs under bark have been reported. Clutch size is a single egg.

Literature

Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. 
Gray, J. E. 1831. A synopsis of the species of Class Reptilia. In: Griffith, E & E. Pidgeon: The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier with additional descriptions of all the species hither named, and of many before noticed Whittaker, Treacher and Co., London: 481 + 110 pp. [1830].

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