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Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus (WIEGMANN, 1834)

IUCN Red List - Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaPhyllodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: South American Leaf-toed Gecko
S: Salamanqueja, Salamanquesa 
SynonymDiplodactylus gerrhopygus WIEGMANN in MEYEN 1834: 242
Phyllodactylus gymnopygus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 394
Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 399
Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus — BOULENGER 1885: 95
Phyllodactylus heterurus WERNER in BÜRGER 1907: 149
Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus — WERNER 1910: 6
Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus — BURT & BURT 1933: 7
Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus — WERMUTH 1965: 136
Phyllodactylus heterurus — PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1970: 223
Phyllodactylus heterurus — DIXON & HUEY 1970: 11
Phyllodactylus heterurus — KLUGE 1993
Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus — KLUGE 1993
Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus — RÖSLER 2000: 104
Phyllodactylus heterurus — RÖSLER 2000: 104
Phyllodactylus gerrophygus — AGUILAR et al. 2007 (in error) 
DistributionS Peru (Tacna), N Chile

Type locality: Tacna, Peru.

heterurus: Chile; Type locality: Oasis de Pica, Tarapaca, Chile  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 413 (lost, fide DIXON & HUEY 1970, but extant fide Bauer & Günther 1991, F. Tillack, pers. comm., 11 Feb 2015)
Holotype: lost in the Juan Noé Institute fire, December 2, 1948, (DIXON & HUEY 1970 Nuñez & Jaksic 1992), adult male, collected by C. Reiche 1902 [heterurus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (heterurus). This species is known only from the holotype that was destroyed by a fire. Phyllodactylus heterurus is a small gecko with a maximum snout-vent length of 38 mm; dorsal surfaces of head and body smooth, without tubercles; tail with four rows of tubercles, two on each lateral surface; preanal plate present; terminal lamellae of digits moderately large.
This species is distinguished from all other species of Phyllodactylus except gerrhopygus and angustidigitus, by the presence of an enlarged preanal plate; from gerrhopygus and angustidigitus by the presence of four rows of tail tubercles, with anteriorly projecting tips. (Dixon & Huey 1970)

Description of holotype (heterurus). Since the holotype is no longer extant, Dixon & Huey 1970 provided this translated version of Werner's (1907) original description: Head ovoid, very much longer than wide; snout longer than the distance from the posterior corner of eye to ear and two times the length of eye; frontal region not concave; ear opening small, horizontal and elliptical; body decidedly thin; inferior aspect of digits similar on anterior and posterior limbs, with wide plates whose distal ends are visibly wider than their proximal portion; dorsal aspect of body with small scales that are ovoid, smooth, somewhat convex; rostral scales pentagonal, somewhat concave posteriorly, with a groove beginning on posterior border; nasal opening surrounded by rostral, supralabial and three nasals; nine supralabials and seven infralabials; nasal (internasals) scales separated on median line by an azygous scale; mental two times longer than wide with posterior border rounded, lateral sides parallel; chin without enlarged scales (postmentals absent); scales in gular region very small; ventral scales small, smooth, circular and overlapping; tail cylindrical, with transverse series of robust, conical tubercles whose points are directed anteriorly. (Dixon & Huey 1970)

Coloration (heterurus): on dorsum lead gray with black irregular spots and lines; lines unite on dorsal side to form transverse bands with obscure outlines; tubercles on tail brick red. (Dixon & Huey 1970)

Definition (gerrhopygus). An average size gecko with a maximum known snout-vent length of 56 mm; large preanal plate present; dorsal tubercles absent; tibia and femur tubercles absent; ear denticulate on anterior and posterior margins; median row of scales beneath tail equal in size to other ventral scales; tail about 50 percent of total length; mental much longer than wide and postmentals absent; terminal lamellae of digits large, longer than wide; claws of digits large, usually extending slightly beyond tip of terminal lamellae; dorsal markings present or absent, if present, consisting of broad bands or blotches; tail usually banded (fig. 8a). (Dixon & Huey 1970)

Diagnosis (gerrhopygus). This species may be distinguished from all other species, except angustidigitus and heterurus, by the presence of an enlarged preanal plate; from heterurus by the absence of enlarged lateral tubercles on the tail; from angustidigitus by the larger toe pads and shorter digits. (Dixon & Huey 1970)

Description (gerrhopygus). Rostral about as high as wide, its dorsal edge "M" shaped, with a short median vertical groove; two internasals, somewhat triangular in shape, their median edges not in contact but separated by three azygous scales
(snout granules); internasals bordered posteriorly and medially by small granules and postnasal of each side; nostril surrounded by rostral, labial, internasal, and two postnasals; nostril area somewhat swollen by elevation of postnasals and internasal; first supralabial in broad contact with ventral edge of nostril; moderate depression between internasals, slight depression in frontal region; scales in posterior loreal region about twice the size of midorbital scales; eye large, its diameter contained in snout length about 1.5 times; eyelid with two rows of granules and one larger outer row of scales, the last three to six are pointed; diameter of ear contained in eye diameter about 2 times; ear opening denticulate on anterior and posterior margins, rear of head granular; usually 8 supralabials and 5 or 6 infralabials to point below center of eye; mental straight-edged, rounded posteriorly, about 2.5 times longer than wide; postmentals absent, mental bordered by small chin scales.
Dorsum without enlarged tubercular rows, scales subequal in size, somewhat flattened, about half size of midventral scales; latero-ventral scales smaller than dorsal and ventral scales; very large preanal plate (scaleless), surrounded by about 25 ventral scales; preanal plate about 20 to 30 times larger than adjoining ventral scales; enlarged postanal scales on each side, somewhat flattened.
Dorsal surface of upper arm with flattened scales, forearm with larger, slightly elevated scales; dorsal surface of thigh and lower leg with flattened, but slightly elevated scales; claw moderately exposed when viewed from below; terminal lamellae twice as long as wide, somewhat reduced in size with claw extending beyond tip of terminal lamellae; tail with all scales of ventral surface of equal size, scales of dorsal surface smaller than those of ventral surface. (Dixon & Huey 1970)

Variation (gerrhopygus). Snout-vent length of young adult and adult males varies from 32 to 56 mm (43.9), females from 32 to 55 mm (42.8), juveniles from 25 to 31 mm (28.9), and males and females together average 42.7 mm; postmentals absent in 96.4 percent of sample; three of 98 specimens have two postmentals, one specimen had one postmental on one side, none on the other side; mental
much longer than wide, extending posteriorly beyond the tips of adjoining labials; number of transverse chin scales immediately following and touching mental vary from 3 to 8 (4.6); scales across midorbital region vary from 13 to 20 (J 5.9), across the snout at level of third labial from 12 to 18 (14.7); number of scales bordering internasals vary from 6 to 10 (7.7), internasals always separated along median line by I to 3 granules; transverse row of scales across venter vary from 20 to 30 (24.7), longitudinally 64 to 76 (69.1); preanal shield large, without scales, generally 20 to 30 times larger than adjoining scales; scales between eye and nostril vary from 8 to 12 (10.4); number of lamellae beneath fourth toe vary from 12 to 15 ( J3. 1); all scales of dorsum, limbs, and tail subequal in size, relatively smooth, and slightly elevated to some extent; supralabials vary from 7 to 9 to a point below center of eye, 8 being most common; dorsal bands (if present) number 4 to 6, tail bands 6 to 9. (Dixon & Huey 1970)

Coloration (gerrhopygus): body bands or blotches that tend to appear freckled with tan and brown scales intermixed, but occasionally some specimens are uniform tan or light brown; tail usually banded; belly usually immaculate white; parietal region and lateral area of head behind ear usually with reticulated brown lines on ground color; limbs usually faintly banded with brown. (Dixon & Huey 1970) 
CommentSynonymy: Phyllodactylus heterurus is known only from the type and the type locality (DIXON & HUEY 1970). The type was destroyed by fire. Due to its similarity with P. gerrhopygus Nuñez & Jaksic 1992 suggested to synonymize the two species. Despite great effort, no additional specimen of P. heterurus has been collected (JO Ortiz and JC Torres-Mura, pers. comm., via J. Troncoso-Palacios, pers. comm. 12 Jul 2016) 
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  • Burt, C. E., and M. D. Burt 1933. A preliminary check list of the lizards of South America. Trans. Acad. Sci. St. Louis 28: 1-104.
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  • Mella-Ávila, Jorge E. & Michael Venegas Ponce. 2019. Distribución, frecuencia y abundancia de reptiles en distintos ambientes de la Región de Tarapacá, norte de Chile. Boletín Chileno de Herpetología. 6: 23-33 - get paper here
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  • PINCHEIRA-DONOSO, Daniel 2006. Geckos of Chile (Scleroglossa, Gekkonidae, Gekkoninae). Part II. Biogeography and ontogenetic shifts in the colour pattern of Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus. Can the evidence support the presence of Phyllodactylus inaequalis in Chile? Multequina 15: 37-48
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  • TAUCARE-RIOS, A. 2020. Predation on the gecko Phyllodactylus gerrhopygus (Wiegmann)(Squamata: Gekkonidae) by the six-eyed sand spider Sicarius thomisoides (Walckenaer (Araneae: Sicariidae). Revista de la Sociedad Entomológica Argentina, 79(2) - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1907. Sobre algunos lagartos nuevos clasificados i descritos. In: Bürger, O. Estudios sobre reptiles chilenos. Anales de la Universidad de Chile, 121:149—155. - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1913. Neue oder seltene Reptilien und Frösche des Naturhistorischen Museums in Hamburg. Reptilien der Ostafrika-Expedition der Hamburger Geographischen Gesellschaft 1911/12. Leiter: Dr. E. Obst. Reptilien und Amphibien von Formosa. Jb. Hamb. wiss. Anst., 30 [1912], 2. Beiheft: 1-39, 40-45, 45-51 - get paper here
  • Werner,F. 1910. Über neue oder seltene Reptilien des Naturhistorischen Museums in Hamburg. ii. Eidechsen. Jahrb. Hamburg. Wiss. Anst., vol. 27 (1909), suppl. no. 2, 1910, pp. 1-46; reprinted: 1910, Mitteil. Naturhist. Mus. Hamburg, vol. 27: 205-) - get paper here
  • Wiegmann, A. F. A. 1834. In: Dr. F. J. F. Meyen: Beiträge zur Zoologie gesammelt auf einer Reise um die Erde. Siebente Abhandlung. Amphibien. Nova Acta Physico-Medica Academia Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina (Halle) 17: 185-268 [1835] - get paper here
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