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Hemidactylus benguellensis BOCAGE, 1893

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common NamesE: Benguela House gecko
G: Benguela Hausgecko 
SynonymHemidactylus platycephalus — BOCAGE 1873: 209 [part]
Hemidactylus longicephalus — BOCAGE 1873: 210 [part]
Hemidactylus benguellensis BOCAGE 1893: 115 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Hemidactylus benguellensis — BOCAGE 1895: 12
Hemidactylus bocagii — BOCAGE 1895: 1
Hemidactylus benguellensis — MONARD 1937: 52
Hemidactylus mabouia — LOVERIDGE 1947: 170
Hemidactylus mabouia — LOVERIDGE 1957: 185 [part]
Hemidactylus mabouia — HELLMICH 1957: 34
Hemidactylus benguellensis — FRADE 1963
Hemidactylus longicephalus — BRANCH 1998: 234, pl. 89
Hemidactylus mabouia — FRÉTEY & BLANC 2002: 22
Hemidactylus longicephalus — GRIFFIN 2003: 42
Hemidactylus longicephalus — HERRMANN & BRANCH 2013: 98
Hemidactylus cf. longicephalus — RÖSLER 2015: 10
Hemidactylus longicephalus — CERÍACO et al. 2016: 54
Hemidactylus benguellensis — MARQUES et al. 2018: 184
Hemidactylus benguellensis — BRANCH et al. 2019: 315
Hemidactylus benguellensis — BUTLER et al. 2019: 232
Hemidactylus benguellensis — BAPTISTA et al. 2019
Hemidactylus benguellensis — CERÍACO et al. 2020: 27 
DistributionAngola (Benguela, Namibe, Huila), Namibia

Type locality: “Cahata” [= Caota], Benguela Province, Angola. Neotype locality: N’Dolondolo (- 13.81328°, 13.13618°, 682 m elevation), Namibe Province, Republic of Angola.  
TypesNeotype: CAS 263540 (field number AMB 10304; Fig. 8; Table 4), adult male, collected by Luis M.P. Ceríaco, Suzana Bandeira and Ishan Agarwal on 21 November 2016. Original syntypes lost, was MBL, specimen numbers not known (collector J.A. d’Anchieta)”, destroyed by fire 18 March 1978. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A medium sized Hemidactylus, maximum snout-vent length 54.5 mm (Fig. 7 in Ceriaco e tal. 2020). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, with 13–18 irregularly arranged longitudinal rows of subtrihedral, striated, strongly keeled tubercles at midbody. Two well-developed pairs of postmentals, the inner pair longer than the outer pair. ventrolateral folds distinct, about 25–34 scale rows across venter. Five to seven divided scansors beneath first digit of both manus and pes, six to seven beneath fourth digit of manus, eight to nine beneath the fourth digit of pes. Males with 23–33 continuous precloacal-femoral pores. Original tail roughly cyclotetragonal, strongly spinose; scales on the tail slightly larger than dorsals of body, striated, imbricate, with a longitudinal series of two enlarged, strongly keeled, striated, pointedtubercles on either side of the median dorsal furrow. Subcaudal scales small and imbricate, about one fifth of tail width. Body dorsum with a series of dark-brown “W-shaped” transverse markings from occiput to sacrum; enlarged dorsal tubercles orangish; tail with distinct alternating light and dark bands.

Comparison with West and Central African congeners. Hemidactylus benguellensis is readily distinguished from H. kamdemtohami and H. richardsonii by its lack of basal digital webbing (partial webbing only present between toes Iv and v of pes); from H. matschiei by having spiny tubercles on the dorsum and tail and small subcaudal scales; and from H. steindachneri by lacking a longitudinal row of keeled tubercles on the ventrolateral border of flanks. It is distinguished from H. echinus by lacking both a pair of tubercle rows on the ventral surface of the tail and a double row of enlarged spines on the lateral surface of the tail; from H. ansorgii by having a bulkier, more compact body (versus largely dorsoventraly flattened and slender) and by having enlarged keeled tubercles on body and tail (tubercles small and inconspicuous in H. ansorgii); and from H. pseudomuriceus by having small subcaudal scales (versus large). It differs from H. muriceus in having a higher number of dorsal tubercle rows (13–18 versus 7–12) and from H. hecqui in having a higher number of precloacal-femoral pores (23–33 versus 6).

Compared to other Angolan congeners, H. benguellensis differs from H. longicephalus and H. bayonii by having a higher number of precloacal-femoral pores (23–33 versus 6–11 and 6–9, respectively), and from H. mabouia by having small subcaudal scales (versus enlarged plate-like subcaudals covering most of tail base in width). See new species accounts for comparisons with these taxa.
CommentSynonyms: LOVERIDGE 1947 synonymized Hemidactylus benguellensis with H. mabouia. Marques et al. 2018 “tentatively” considered Hemidactylus benguellensis as valid and Ceriaco et al. 2020 formally revalidated it. 
  • Baptista NL, António T, Branch WR. 2019. The herpetofauna of Bicuar National Park and surroundings, southwestern Angola: a preliminary checklist. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13(2) [Special Section]: 96–130 (e203) - get paper here
  • BLANC, C.P. & T. FRETEY. 2002. Analyse Zoogegraphique du peuplement reptilien de L’Afrique Centrale et de L’Angola. Biogeographica 78: 49-75
  • Bocage, J.V.B. 1873. Melanges erpetologiques. II. Sur quelques reptiles et batraciens nouveaux, rares ou peu connus d‘Afrique occidentale. Jorn. Acad. Sci. Lisboa 4: 209-227
  • Bocage, J.V.B. du 1893. Diagnoses de quelques nouvelles especes de reptiles et batraciens d‘Angola. J. Sci. math.-phys. nat., Lisboa, 3 (2): 115-121
  • Bocage,J.V. du B. 1895. Herpétologie d'Angola et du Congo. Lisbon: Imprimerie Nationale, i-xx, 203 pp.
  • Branch, W. R. 1998. Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. 3rd ed. Fully Revised and Updated to Include 83 New Species. Ralph Curtis Books (Sanibel Island, Florida), 399 pp.
  • Branch, William R.; Pedro Vaz Pinto, Ninda Baptista, and Werner Conradie 2019. The Reptiles of Angola: History, Diversity, Endemism and Hotspots. Chapter 13 in: B. J. Huntley et al. (eds.), Biodiversity of Angola. Springer Verlag, pp. 283-334 - get paper here
  • Butler, B O; Ceríaco, L M P; Marques, M P; Bandeira, S; Júlio, T; Heinicke, M P & Bauer, A M; 2019. Herpetological survey of Huíla Province, Southwest Angola, including first records of Bicuar National Park. Herpetological Review 50 (2): 225-240
  • CERÍACO, LUIS M. P.; ISHAN AGARWAL, MARIANA P. MARQUES, AARON M. BAUER 2020. A review of the genus Hemidactylus Goldfuss, 1820 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Angola, with the description of two new species. Zootaxa 4746 (1): 1-71. - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, Luis M. P.; Sango dos Anjos Carlos de Sá, Suzana Bandeira, Hilária Valério, Edward L. Stanley, Arianna L. Kuhn, Mariana P. Marques, Jens V. Vindum, David C. Blackburn, and Aaron M. Bauer 2016. Herpetological Survey of Iona National Park and Namibe Regional Natural Park, with a Synoptic List of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Namibe Province, Southwestern Angola. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 4, 63: 15-61 - get paper here
  • GRIFFIN, M. 2003. Annotated Checklist and Provisional National Conservation Status of Namibian Reptiles. Namibia Scientific Society, Windhoek. [2] + 169 pp.
  • Hellmich, W. 1957. Herpetologische Ergebnisse einer Forschungsreise in Angola. Veröff. Zool. Staatssammlung München 5: 1-91 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1947. Revision of the African lizards of the family Gekkondiae. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 98: 1-469 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1957. Check list of the reptiles and amphibians of east Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 117 (2): 153-362 - get paper here
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Monard, ALBERT 1937. Contribution à l'herpétologie d'Angola. Arq. Mus. Bocage, Lisbon 8:19-153.
  • Rösler, Herbert 2015. Bemerkungen über einige Geckos der Zoologischen Staatssammlung München. Gekkota, Suppl. (2): 3-54
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