Sunday, April 3, 2016

Variegated Gecko, Gonatodes ceciliae (Family Sphaerodactylidae)

Gonatodes ceciliae Donoso-Barros 1966

Type locality - Cerro Azul, Cerca de Macuro, Peninsula de Paria, Estado Sucré, Venezuela.

Size: 51 mm SVL males, 39 mm SVL females; tail 46−48% SVL. Identification: Male dorsum red-brown with yellow spots, streaks or mottling; yellow collar bordered with black extends onto arm; venter cinnamon. Female dorsum mottled with a mid-dorsal stripe and pale venter. Snout pointed from above, rounded in profile; 2−5 enlarged horn-like ciliaries; all scales on anterior orbit margin enlarged; canthus indistinct, rounded; dorsal scales small juxtaposed granules; ventral scales imbricate and larger than dorsals; 18−20 lamellae on the fourth toe.

Similar species are other Gonatodes and coloration will readily distinguish them separate this lizard from other Trinidad; Gonatodes humeralis shares the same habitat with G. ceciliae but has a distinct spot on its nose.

Distribution: Cloud forest of Paria, Venezuela; the premontane and montane rainforests of Trinidad, and deciduous seasonal forests in the Bocas islands. Habitat: Tree trunks and other vertical surfaces in deep forest shade; often in pairs. Prefers cool damp forests; direct sunlight may be lethal. This species is a diurnal, ambush predator.  The diet has not been studied but undoubtedly includes small invertebrates. Females deposit eggs under the bark.

Donoso-Barros R 1966. Dos nuevos Gonatodes de Venezuela. Publ. Ocas. Mus. Hist. Nat., Santiago de Chile, 11: 1-32.

McBee K,  Bickham JW & Dixon JR 1987 Male heterogamety and chromosomal variation in Caribbean lizards. Journal of Herpetology 21 (1): 68-71. 

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