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Oedura bella OLIVER & DOUGHTY, 2016

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesGulf marbled velvet gecko 
SynonymOedura bella OLIVER & DOUGHTY 2016 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland, Northern Territory, primarily around the western and southern edges of the Gulf of Carpentaria)

Type locality: 10 km south of Mt Isa on Boulia Road, Queensland, Australia (20.8617°S, 139.4617°E)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. QM J94016 (field number—OMAR #001), adult male with original tail, collected by P.M. Oliver, M. Vucko and M. Vickers, on 20 February 2007.
Paratypes. Northern Territory: AMS R53437–8, 37 km north of McArthur River base camp on Borroloola Road (16.10°S, 136.12°E); AMS R53467, Caranbirini Water Hole, 21 km north of McArthur River base camp (16.22°S, 136.15°E); AMS R53643, Glyde River, 10 km east of McArthur River base camp (16.43°S, 136.17°E); AMS R53782, 37 km north of McArthur River Camp (16.10°S, 136.12°E); SAMA R34188, McArthur River Station (16.67°S, 135.85°E). Queensland: NTM R21288, Musselbrook Reservoir (18.61°S, 138.08°E); SAMA R34208–9, SAMA R35425, Lawn Hill NP (18.58°S, 138.50°E); QM J52748, Lawn Hill Station, Century Project Site (18.75°S, 138.58°E); QM J74927, Hells Gate (17.47°S; 138.37°E); QM J75207–8, Lawn Hill (18.71°S, 138.48°E). 
CommentDiagnosis. A medium-sized (SVL: mean 78 mm, max 92 mm) species in the O. marmorata complex with a wide (HW/SVL 0.19–0.23) and moderately deep head (HD/SVL 0.10–0.12), short body (Trk/SVL 0.41–0.49), short original tail (TL/SVL 0.49–0.65) that is narrower than head and slightly depressed, rostral usually less than half divided, terminal lamellae moderately wide (ToeW/SVL 0.021–0.030), proximal subdigital lamellae of all fingers not wider than apical pair, 12–17 precloacal pores in males and base colouration dark purplish brown with 5 distinct to faint light dorsal bands from nape to hindlimbs.

Comparisons. Oedura bella is similar to parapatric populations of O. marmorata in northern Australia (although it differs in both nuclear and mitochondrial loci). It differs in external morphology by possessing an original or regrown tail that is much narrower (TW/SVL 0.10–0.15 versus 0.19–0.24) and generally less than the width of head, and O. bella also reaches a smaller maximum size, although adult sizes overlap (adult SVL usually 77–92 mm versus 77–97 mm) and sample sizes are low.
Oedura bella differs from O. cincta and Western (see below) by the combination of its smaller maximum size (SVL 64–92 mm versus 77–106 mm), shorter original tail (TL/SVL 0.49–0.65 versus 0.58–0.80), and its narrower terminal lamellae (0.21–0.30 versus 0.23–0.36) and narrower lamellae series on the fingers (not wider than terminal lamellae versus wider on digits 3 and 4). It further differs from the geographically proximate Oedura cincta by generally having a rostral partially divided by a crease (versus usually fully divided).
Oedura bella can be distinguished from the three species of Oedura in the Kimberley region in Western Australia by having subdigital lamellae that are slightly expanded around the midpoint of the digit (versus strongly tapering in O. gracilis King, 1984, or obviously flared and often as wider or wider than the apical lamellae in O. filicipoda King, 1984 and O. murrumanu Oliver, Laver, Melville & Doughty, 2014), and its moderately long and slightly swollen tail (versus very long [approaching length of body] and tapering in gracilis, or greatly flattened and wider than body in O. filicipoda and O. murrumanu). With a maximum SVL of 92 mm, O. bella is also smaller than O. filicipoda and O. murrumanu (which both regularly exceed 100 mm).
Oedura bella differs from all other Oedura in eastern Australia by possessing more than one postcloacal tubercle and in having a base colouration of five relatively thin dorsal bands. The latter character distinguishes it from two other small saxicoline Oedura in eastern Australia: O. coggeri has large ocelli on limbs and torso and O. jowalbinna has a pale pinkish gray dorsum with distinct dark-edged bands across the neck and base of tail and a plain yellow original tail (Hoskin & Higgie 2008). All other Oedura in eastern Australia tend to be larger (SVL > 90 mm) and also have dorsal patterns that do not feature thin light bands; specifically, O. castelnaui has wide bands, O. monilis has blotches or ocelli, and O. tryoni has dense small spots.

Habitat: primarily saxicoline, using both horizontal screes and vertical faces (including road cuttings), however, it has also been recorded under bark around the base of trees (but in rocky country) (G. Bourke, pers. comm., in OLIVER & DOUGHTY 2016). 
EtymologyFrom the Latin masculine adjective bellum (used in its feminine form), meaning amongst other things pretty, handsome, charming, fine, lovely, neat, pleasant, agreeable, active, gallant or good. In reference to the very attractive contrasting yellow and dark colour pattern of this species. 
References
  • Hagey TJ, Harte S, Vickers M, Harmon LJ, Schwarzkopf L 2017. There’s more than one way to climb a tree: Limb length and microhabitat use in lizards with toe pads. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184641 - get paper here
  • OLIVER, PAUL M.; PAUL DOUGHTY 2016. Systematic revision of the marbled velvet geckos (Oedura marmorata species complex, Diplodactylidae) from the Australian arid and semi-arid zones Zootaxa 4088 (2): 151–176 - get paper here
 
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