Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Streak Lizard, Gonatodes vittatus (Family Sphaerodactylidae)

Male (top), female (bottom).

Size: 33−34 mm SVL, both sexes about the same size; tail about 50% of SVL. Identification. A small lizard with a cylindrical body and tail; smooth, small, uniform scales on dorsum; digits slender and end in a claw. Males with bright white vertebral stripe bordered in black, extends to tail tip; body otherwise red-brown to blue gray; females heavily spotted, vertebral stripe indistinct; but colors are variable and may change with social situations. Lamellae on fourth toe 19−23. Like other Trinidad and Tobago Gonatodes dorsum with tiny granular scales, belly with larger overlapping scales. Perhaps, the most commonly seen lizard in Trinidad and Tobago. Similar species are mostly other Gonatodes that can be distinguished on the basis of coloration, hatchlings are minute, but tend to have numerous small orange spots distinguishing them from the tiny, usually striped Mole’s Gecko. Distribution: northern Colombia, Venezuela (including the Isla de Margarita and other coastal islands) and Trinidad and Tobago. Habitat: Forest-edge, savanna, and edificarian habitats; abundant in coconut trash; open shaded surfaces, on tree trunks and garden walls; does not hesitate to enter occupied houses. Biology: Diurnal but may be active at night, ambush predator and active forager. Unlike some of its relatives this species often basks in direct sunlight. Diet small arthropods including ants, beetles, spiders, dipterous larvae, isopods. Reproduction: Gonatodes frequently curl their tails over back in a scorpion-like posture, a female displaying the tail-raised posture toward a male may then be displaced by the male, the function of the display is poorly understood. Fertile eggs produced for 5-6 months after the last mating; eggs laid on palm trunks covered with fallen fronds, under rocks, and in crevices or buildings; like anoles and many other geckos, probably lays clutch of a single egg in rapid succession. Males engage in tumbling fights over territories or display locations.

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