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Homopholis arnoldi LOVERIDGE, 1944

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common Names 
SynonymHomopholis wahlbergii arnoldi LOVERIDGE 1944
Homopholis wahlbergii arnoldi — LOVERIDGE 1947: 305
Homopholis arnoldi — BROADLEY et al. 2014 
DistributionS Zimbabwe

Type locality: Mahalapsi River, Bechuanaland [= Mahalapye River, Botswana]  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 12581 
CommentDescription. Nostril bordered by 4–9 scales and the first upper labial; internasals –3; upper labials 9–14; lower labials 11–13; scales between eye and ear 22–32; midbody scale rows 7–16, but 79–16 in the west and 7–9 in the east; precloacal pores in males 2, very rarely 4; lamellae beneath fourth toe 11–13.

Size. Largest male (NMZB-UM 2846—Nchangwe, Mozambique) 127 mm SVL; largest female (NMZB 11443—Bazaruto Island, Mozambique) 13 mm SVL + 97 mm tail length.

Colour pattern. Approximately 75% of specimens have a largely striped dorsal colour pattern. This may consist of a pair of broad black dorsolateral stripes extending from the eye or back of the head to the base of tail and a broken pale vertebral line (e.g. Auerbach 1987, pl. 8/8 from Gaborone and a Thabazimbi specimen in Pienaar et al. 1983, pl. 7) (Figs. 3A, 3C), or the stripes may be fragmented caudad, or replaced by irregular black crossbands. Branch (1998, pl. 9) illustrates H. arnoldi with a broad black dorsolateral stripe which does not reach the pelvic region. In the eastern part of the range below 5 m asl (southeastern Zimbabwe and central Mozambique), the black stripes may be narrow and undulating and divide into four narrow stripes on the neck, and there is an almost continuous white vertebral stripe (e.g. FitzSimons 1943, pl. VII, fig. 1 [TM 1615], from an isolated population at Klaserie, Mpumalanga). The specimen illustrated in Fig. 3D came from a population including individuals with heavy black dorsolateral stripes from the nape onto the base of the tail. The rest of the specimens are almost uniform grey, or have a faint series of pale vertebral spots and sparse black lateral speckling, although there may be black crossbands on the original tail (e.g. NMZB-UM 5184). Heavily patterned and almost uniform specimens are often sympatric. There may be black peppering of the venter, often restricted laterally. Pattern differences between eastern and western populations are not reflected in midbody scale counts, which overlap completely, despite mean differences (Table 1).

Diet. A small sample of examined stomachs revealed beetles and alate termites most frequently, followed by grasshoppers and cockroaches (cf. Whiting et al. 27, data for H. wahlbergii).

Habitat. Field data for 38 specimens showed that 11 were taken on the walls of buildings, nine in rock crevices, five on the trunks of large trees, four under loose bark on dead trees, three in holes in tree trunks, three in the thatch of huts, two in swallows’ nests in caves and one in a hollow log. 
EtymologyNamed after the collector of the type specimen, Mr. Walberg of Stockholm. Note, however, that Smith’s spelling was not consistent. He used “wahlbergii” in the index to his book, but “walbergi” in the description. We use walbergi here as he explicitly mentions “Mr. Walberg”. 
  • Broadley, Donald G.; Todd R. Jackman & Aaron M. Bauer 2014. A review of the genus Homopholis Boulenger (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) in southern Africa. African Journal of Herpetology, 63 (2): 109-126; DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2014.930071 - get paper here
  • Danis, Kaitlin; Ashley Hogan, and Kirsten Smith 2016. Texas Tech University Students Take On Zimbabwe. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 23 (1): 51–61 - get paper here
  • Loveridge,A. 1944. Remarks on the gekkonid genera Homopholis and Platypholis with description of a new race. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 57: 1-4 - 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
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