Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Spiny House Gecko, Hemidactylus palaichthus

Hemidactylus palaichthus Kluge 1969:39
Hemidactylus brooki palaichthus — Mertens 1972

Type locality - Guyana, Kurupukari, 4° 0' N 59° 25' 0" W
Adults reach 62 mm in body length, tail is 1.1x the body length. Diagnosis. Dorsum covered with small granular scales and 16-17 rows of longitudinal rows of trihedral tubercles. Ventral scales are large and overlapping. Males have 36-40 total pores. Three single lamellae at the base of fourth toe, followed by six paired lamellae, and the digits terminate with a single lamellae. Similar species. Hemidactylus mabouia has fewer rows of tubercles (6-14) and is less spiny in appearance. Distribution. The presence of this lizard on Trinidad and Tobago is relatively rare. It is more readily found on offshore islands and rocks (Monos Island, Chacachacare Island, and Little Tobago Island). The presence of two New World endemic Hemidactylus suggests an ancient ancestor that rafted from Africa. Gamble et al. (2011) suggest a divergence date between H. palaichthus and H. brasilianus between 7.4–21.9 mya.


Kluge, A. G. 1969. The evolution and geographical origin of the New World Hemidactylus mabouia-brooki complex (Gekkonidae, Sauria). Misc. PubI. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan 138:1-78.

Mertens R 1972 Herpetofauna tobagana. Stuttgarter Beitr. zur Naturkunde nr. 252 22 pp.

Powell R 1990 Hemidactylus palaichthus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 468.
Schwartz A & Henderson RW 1991 Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.

Vanzolini PE 1978 On South American Hemidactylus (Sauria, Gekkonidae). Papeis Avulosus de Zoologia 31(20) 1978:307-343 

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