Goggia incognita HEINICKE, TURK & BAUER`, 2017
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Goggia incognita?
|Higher Taxa||Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Synonym||Goggia incognita HEINICKE, TURK & BAUER 2017|
Diplodactylus lineatus GRAY 1845 (part)
Phyllodactylus lineatus — SMITH 1849 (part)
Phyllodactylus lineatus lineatus — HEWITT 1937 (part)
Goggia lineata — BAUER, GOOD, and BRANCH 1997 (part)
|Distribution||Republic of South Africa (Western Cape)|
Type locality: South Africa, Western Cape, Jacobsbaai (32° 59' 19" S, 17° 52' 37" E).
|Types||Holotype: CAS 224024: adult male. Collected by A. M. Bauer, R. A. Sadlier, A. Whiting, 9 September 2001.|
Paratypes. CAS 224022 (adult female), CAS224023 (adult female): same data as holotype. CAS 176047 (adult female): Same locality as holotype. Collected by A. M. Bauer, 23 May 1990. CAS 206692 (adult male), CAS 206697 (adult female): Same locality as holotype. Collected by A. M. Bauer, A. C. Lamb, J. L. Wright, P. Moler, R. D. Babb, 11 July 1998. MCZ R-192442 (adult female): South Africa, Western Cape, Mauritzbaai (32° 58' 39.8" S, 17° 52' 51.9" E). Collected by M. P. Heinicke, A. M. Bauer, T. Gamble, D. Zarkower, J. Marais, A. Kuhn, E. Frietas, R. Skinner, 2 August 2013. MCZ R 192395 (adult females), MCZ R-194417 (adult male): South Africa, Western Cape, 1 km S Jacobsbaai (32° 59 ́ 19.1 ́ ́ S 17° 52 ́ 36 ́ ́ E). Collected by M. P. Heinicke, A. M. Bauer, T. Gamble, D. Zarkower, J. Marais, A. Kuhn, E. Frietas, R. Skinner, 24 July 2013. MCZ R-192446 (subadult male), MCZ R-194450 (adult male): South Africa, Western Cape, 4.3 km S Jacobsbaai (33° 0 ́ 20.9 ́ ́ S, 17° 52 ́ 46.5 ́ ́ E). Collected by M. P. Heinicke, A. M. Bauer, T. Gamble, D. Zarkower, J. Marais, A. Kuhn, E. Frietas, R. Skinner, 2 August 2013.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A small-bodied Goggia, snout-vent length to 28.58 mm. Body form is cylindrical, with a deep head and short, rounded snout. The rostral scale bears a median cleft, and snout scales are relatively large and domed, with 8–10 rows of scales between the rostral and the anterior margin of the orbits. Dorsal scalation is homogenous, consisting of uniform flattened subimbricate scales, grading to clearly imbricate on the venter. Midbody scale rows number 73–81. Digits bear a single pair of subdigital scansors (“leaf toes”) enclosing a small claw. Males typically have five precloacal pores. Typical color pattern consists of a gray background overlain with a series of small, often unnoticeable pale spots with dark anterior margins that typically fuse to form a series of scallops or chevrons. Some individuals additionally bear four dark longitudinal stripes, which in this species are always connected by the aforementioned scallops.|
The combination of leaf toes, atuberculate dorsal scalation, and cleft rostral distinguishes this species from all non-Goggia geckos in southern Africa. Goggia incognita sp. nov. can be distinguished from G. microlepidota based on its much smaller body size (maximum SVL 29 mm in G. incognita sp. nov. vs. 67 mm in G. microlepidota). All small-bodied Goggia except for G. lineata can be easily distinguished from G. incognita sp. nov. based on color pattern: in G. braacki, G. essexi, G. hewitti, and G. hexapora, the pale spots and dark pattern elements form a clear reticulated pattern. In G. gemmula and G. rupicola (including “rupicola” from Kliprand described as another new species below), the pale spots are large and are yellow or orange rather than white or cream. In addition to color pattern, G. braacki and G. hewitti differ from G. incognita sp. nov. in being larger- bodied (SVL to 35 mm in G. braacki, 37 mm in G. hewitti), having only four precloacal pores in males, and in having more midbody scale rows (usually more than 80). Goggia essexi, G. gemmula, G. rupicola, and G. “rupicola” also have only four precloacal pores in males; G. essexi, G. rupicola, and G. “rupicola” also have flattened bodies and typically more than 80 midbody scale rows, whereas G. gemmula has a more elongate body than G. incognita sp. nov. Goggia hexapora usually has six precloacal pores in males and more than 80 midbody scale rows. Goggia lineata is the species most similar to G. incognita sp. nov., but can be distinguished as having a color pattern typically dominated by bold longitudinal stripes (Fig. 1), and having smaller, flatter scales on the head, with 11 or more rows between the rostral and the anterior margin of the orbits, vs. 8–10 in G. incognita sp. nov. (Fig. 5).
|Comment||Similar species: Goggia lineata, as which it has been identified in the older literature.|
Distribution: The distribution of this species comprises what was formerly considered the southern half of the distribution of G. lineata. The boundary between the two species appears to be at the Knersvlakte, a quartz plain lying between the Cape Fynbos and Little Namaqualand ecoregions, near the border between the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces, with G. incognita sp. nov. occurring only to the south in the Cape (Fig. 2).
Habitat: terrestrial, nocturnal species that shelters by day under a wide range of available debris, including under stones, in plant litter, and under or within dead Aloe stems (Branch & Bauer 1995, Branch & Braack 1989, Branch 1998). At the type locality, along the coast, individuals may be encountered both under boulders and under strand debris. At Farm Buffelskloof, in the Little Karoo, no individuals were found sheltering under the local conglomerate rock, but one individual was found inside a dead Aloe.
Sympatry: Afrogecko porphyreus, Pachydactylus geitje (near Jacobsbaai); Goggia hewitti and Pachydactylus geitje at Farm Buffleskloof.
|Etymology||The specific epithet is from the Latin word incognitus, meaning “not known”. The English phrase “going incognito” refers to remaining hidden or disguised. The name is chosen to reflect the 150+ year time period in which this species has remained hidden within what were considered nominotypical populations of Goggia lineata. It additionally reflects the natural history of the species, as members of the species are typically inconspicuous and hidden under cover objects by day. The name is used as an adjective.|