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Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus (LUCAS & FROST, 1900)

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymHoplodactylus tuberculatus LUCAS & FROST 1900
Gymnodactylus Olivii GARMAN 1901 (fide LOVERIDGE 1934)
Gymnodactylus olivii — ZIETZ 1920
Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Quantasia tuberculata — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 15
Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus — RÖSLER et al. 2007: 202
Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus — SHEA et al. 2011 
DistributionAustralia (Cape York Peninsula, NE Queensland, from Cape Melville, south to Mt Leswell; Stanley Island, in the Flinders Islands, just north of Cape Melville)

Type locality: Endeavour River, Queensland, Australia.

abrae: Australia; Type locality: Iron Range, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.  
TypesHolotype: NMV D7874; the holotype of C. abrae (reported to be in the QM) seems to be missing, hence COUPER & AMEY 2004 consider this species as a nomen nudum. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (tuberculatus): A large Cyrtodactylus (SVL to 120 mm) with large, strongly projecting tubercles on the antebrachium, strongly developed dorsal tubercles in 20–24 longitudinal rows at the midpoint of the trunk (axilla-groin interval), 24–37 ventral scale rows at the same level, a continuous series of 34–46 enlarged femoroprecloacal scales extend- ing from one knee to the other, and in males bearing pores on each scale; mental with a posterior extension extend- ing between postmentals; lips marbled, dark dorsal bands on trunk usually three, occasionally four, with a narrow dark edge both anteriorly and posteriorly; pale interspaces between dark body bands with dark macules; dark tail bands on base of tail only a little wider than pale interspaces [SHEA et al. 2011].

Diagnosis (abrae): This is another very large gecko with a solidly-built body, broad depressed head, and a long tapering tail that has enlarged subcaudal plates. The limbs are long and rather slender with distinctive bird-like digits with sharply angular claws. When at rest, the tail is held in a horizontal curve. This rainforest-inhabiting species is easily separated from the woodland species Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus by way of its paler colouration and the lower number of bands. In Cyrtodactylus abrae there are only 4 body bands and 7 rings on the tail, whereas in C. tuberculatus there are usually 6 body bands and 13 tail rings. Each of the body bands are pale-edged in C. abrae (rather than dark-edged as in Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus) and fade out before reaching the ventrolateral of the body (unlike C. tuberculatus where the body bands reach all the way down the side of the body). Ventrally the body is whitish to pinkish. Further differences are apparent between Cyrtodactylus abrae and its congenor Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus with the top of the head and limbs being not mottled (i.e. uniform in colouration in C. abrae vs mottled in C. tuberculatus), and the tail being held in a horizontal curve when at rest (vs vertical in C. tuberculatus). The body scalation is very similar to C. tuberculatus in that it is also heterogenous, smooth and granular with scattered enlarged conical blunt tubercles. Preanal pores are present (less than 20), there are no enlarged sub-apical lamellae, and the slightly swollen subdigital lamellae are in a single transverse series. This species can attain a maximum body length of around 160 mm, plus a tail length of about 200 mm, making it fairly similar in maximum size to C. tuberculatus. The holotype is the largest specimen from the type locality in the Queensland Museum collection. As herein defined, Cyrtodactylus abrae is confined to north-east Queensland, occurring as an apparently isolated population in the mountain ranges near Princess Charlotte Bay of far northern Cape York Peninsula (the Type Locality is Iron Range, Qld). An inhabitant of lowland tropical rainforest, it is nocturnal, terrestrial and arboreal, most often observed actively foraging on tree trunks and other vegetation as well as in leaf-litter on the ground. As with its congenor, C. abrae likely feeds on a wide variety of small invertebrates and probably other geckos. Nothing is known about its reproductive biology, but it could be expected that 2 eggs are layed in a clutch. Its conservation status is unknown, but this species may be considered as potentially vulnerable due to its limited distribution and specialised habitat requirements. This species is protected under the Qld Nature Conservation Act (1992). [from WELLS 2002, available online].
CommentCyrtodactylus tuberculatus has been previously considered as a synonym of C. louisiadensis (KLUGE (1963) but revalidated by Wells & Wellington (1984).

Common name (abrae): Rainforest Banded Gecko

Type species: Hoplodactylus tuberculatus LUCAS & FROST 1900 is the type species of the genus Quantasia WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 15. 
EtymologyEtymology (tuberculatus): Not specifically stated by Lucas and Frost (1900), but presumably from the Latin tuberculatus (= tuberculate), and in allusion to the strongly developed dorsal tubercles of the species.

Etymology (abrae): Named after Ms Lyn Abra, noted Australian naturalist of the Australian Reptile Park. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Couper, P. J.; Amey, A. 2004. Comments on the taxonomic status of Cyrtodactylus abrae WELLS 2002. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 49(2): 648. - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. L., Wood, P. L., Poyarkov, N. A., Le, M. D., Kraus, F., Agarwal, I., ... & Grismer, J. L. 2021. Phylogenetic partitioning of the third-largest vertebrate genus in the world, Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Reptilia; Squamata; Gekkonidae) and its relevance to taxonomy and conservation. Vertebrate Zoology 71: 101–154 - get paper here
  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
  • Kluge, A.G. 1963. The systematic status of certain Australian and New Guinean gekkonid lizards. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 14: 77-86 - get paper here
  • Kraus, Fred 2008. Taxonomic partitioning of Cyrtodactylus louisiadensis (Lacertilia: Gekkonidae) from Papua New Guinea. Zootaxa 1883: 1–27 - get paper here
  • Lucas, A. H. S., and C. Frost. 1900. Description of a new lizard from northern Queensland. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 12:145-146 - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. & Glaw, F. 2008. A new species of Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Malaysia including a literature survey of mensural and meristic data in the genus. Zootaxa 1729: 8–22 - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. & S. J. Richards & R. Günther 2007. Bemerkungen zur Morphologie und Taxonomie der östlich der Wallacea vorkommenden Geckos der Gattung Cyrtodactylus GRAY, 1827, mit Beschreibungen von zwei neuen Arten (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae). Salamandra 43 (4): 193-230 - get paper here
  • SHEA, GLENN; PATRICK COUPER, JESSICA WORTHINGTON WILMER & ANDREW AMEY 2011. Revision of the genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) in Australia. Zootaxa 3146: 1–63 - get paper here
  • Wells R W; Wellington C R 1984. A synopsis of the class Reptilia in Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology 1 (3-4): 73-129 [31 Dec 1983 on cover]
  • Wells, R. W. 2002. Taxonomic notes on the genus Cyrtodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) in Australia. Australian Biodiversity Record (3): 1-8
  • Wells, R. W. and Wellington, C. R. 1985. A classification of the Amphibia and Reptilia of Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology, Supplementary Series (1): 1-61 [sometimes cited as 1983] - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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