Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trinidad Sphaerodactylus, I am looking for a banded one!

The dwarf day geckos of the genus Sphaerodactylus are primarily lizards of the Caribbean. The Reptile Database lists 101 currently recognized. Relatively few species are known from mainland Central and South America. Harris (1982 Occas. Pap Mus Zool. Univ Michigam  no. 704) reported five South American  spercies (S. heliconiae, S. lineolatus, S. molei, S. scapularis, and S. notatus). Species described since 1982 have been either Central American or West Indian (mostly Cuba and Hispanolia) and the only species present on Trinidad and Tobago has been thought to be S. molei, a gecko also in coastal Venezuela and Guyana. However, two musuem specimens with the locality data of "Trinidad" have been found that are clearly not S. molei.  I am writing this with the idea that readers will find this lizard. It is distinctive in that the body is transversely banded; and molei has longitudinal stripes. It is possible the locality data is wrong, it is possible the lizards were accidentally introduced from another island, but the specimens are not in great shape and getting scale count data and  other scale characteristics from them is at best problematic. So, should you find a tiny banded lizard, a Sphaerodactylus on Trinidad, send me an email or please take it to the Zoology Museum at UWI so we can identify it. Photos of a juvenile S. molei and one of the banded species are shown below.

1 comment:

  1. Hi John-

    Where were the specimens found? I would venture this is Sphaerodactylus ruibali from Trinidad, Cuba or a related species.

    Alternatively, based on the distributions of all other banded Sphaerodactylus in the West Indies, you should concentrate your search efforts on limestone formations. Banded sphaeros are almost exclusively found in proximity of karst.

    Daniel Scantlebury