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Phyllodactylus magister NOBLE, 1924

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Higher TaxaPhyllodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos) 
Common NamesE: Noble's Leaf-toed Gecko
G: Nobles Blattfingergecko 
SynonymPhyllodactylus magister NOBLE 1924: 110
Phyllodactylus magister (partim) — BURT & BURT 1931
Phyllodactylus reissii (partim) — DIXON & HUEY 1970
Phyllodactylus reissii (partim) — PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1970
Phyllodactylus reissii (partim) — PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1986
Phyllodactylus reissii ― TORRES-CARVAJAL et al. 2014 (partim)
Phyllodactylus reissii — AURICH et al. 2015 (partim)
Phyllodactylus magister — KOCH et al. 2016 
DistributionN Peru (Cajamarca, Amazonas: Marañón River basin and some of its tributaries) elevations 419-1247 m elevation.

Type locality: Chinchipe valley near Perico, Province of Jaén, Department of Cajamarca, Peru.  
Reproductionoviparous. Gravid females of P. magister were collected end of May (ZFMK 88739), and in mid December (CORBIDI 5708, ZFMK 90898), containing two eggs, except for ZFMK 90898 which had only one egg. On the 8th of May 2008 at 11.15 pm a gravid female was discovered (not collected) directly after it had deposited an egg in the soft soil of the sandy walls of a dry creekbed. One juvenile with a SVL of 31 mm (ZFMK 90881) was found in March 2009 and another juvenile with a SVL of 33 mm (CORBIDI 1812) was found in May 2008. Subadults with SVL between 37ˆ45 mm were collected in March 2009 (ZFMK 90880, 90882), April 2009 (CORBIDI 5696, 5697), May 2008 (CORBIDI 1829, 1833, 1836), July 2008 (CORBIDI 1819, ZFMK 88741), and in December 2009 (ZFMK 90895, 90896, 90901, 90902). 
TypesHolotype. MCZ 17974, adult male, collected in deserted huts by G.K. Noble during the Harvard Peruvian Expedition in September 1916. (Pictures of the preserved holotype are available at MCZ URL)
Paratypes (153). All paratypes collected by G.K. Noble during the Harvard Peruvian Expedition in 1916 form the Province of Jaén, Department of Cajamarca: MCZ 18126-18129, 18141, 18142, 126238-126375, 169013 from Bellavista; MCZ 18143ˆ18150 from Perico. 
CommentSynonymy: mostly after KOCH et al. 2016 who revalidated P. magister from the synonymy of P. reissi.

Similar species: P. reissi

Diagnosis and comparison. According to our data0Phyllodactylus magister reaches a maximum SVL of 69 mm. Compared to other species of mainland South America it is thus slightly smaller than P. pachamama, P. delsolari, P. dixoni, P. reissii and P. ventralis (all exceeding 70 mm SVL) and larger than P. angustidigitus (SVL ≤ 57 mm), P. clinatus (SVL ≤ 46 mm), P. gerrhopygus (SVL ≤ 56 mm), P. heterurus (SVL of the single known specimen is 38 mm), P. inaequalis (SVL ≤ 42 mm), P. interandinus (SVL ≤ 49 mm), P. johnwrighti (SVL ≤ 44 mm), P. kofordi (SVL ≤ 46 mm), P. leoni (SVL ≤ 55 mm), P. lepidopygus (SVL ≤ 55 mm), P. microphyllus (SVL ≤ 58 mm), P. pumilus (SVL ≤ 51 mm), P. sentosus (SVL ≤ 56 mm), and P. thompsoni (SVL ≤ 42 mm). The species can be distinguished from P. thompsoni by the lack of an enlarged postanal plate. It further differs from P. angustidigitus, P. gerrhopygus, and P. heterurus by the absence of a preanal plate. By having 12–16 well-defined rows of enlarged, trihedral keeled tubercles, P. magister differs from P. angustidigitus, P. gerrhopygus, P. heterurus (dorsal tubercles absent in all three species), P. delsolari, P. inaequalis (fewer than 10 poorly defined rows of small, smooth, round tubercles in both species), P. microphyllus (dorsal tubercular rows indistinct, composed of small flat, oval tubercles), and P. thompsoni (10). Having 40-60 paravertebral tubercles between rear of head and posterior edge of thigh differentiates the species from P. kofordi (31-36), P. interandinus (54-83) and P. sentosus (26-31). Phyllodactylus magister can further be differentiated from P. angustidigitus, P. clinatus, P. gerrhopygus, P. inaequalis, P. lepidopygus, and P. microphyllus by the presence of tubercles on the tibia. By the absence of tubercles on the forearm it can be differentiated from P. dixoni, P. kofordi, P. sentosus, and P. ventralis and by the absence of tubercles on the tail it further differs from P. heterurus, P. kofordi, P. pumilus and P. sentosus. In contrast to P. angustidigitus, P. microphyllus, and P. sentosus the species possesses large terminal lamellae. By having 12-18 (mean 14.7) lamellae under the fourth toe it can be distinguished from P. inaequalis (10-12, mean 10.7), and P. leoni (9-13, mean 10.9). It further differs from P. reissii and P. pachamama by the presence of small tubercles on the thigh in about half of the specimens (always absent in P. reissii and P. pachamama), and besides it differs from P. pachamama by having always 2 postmentals (2-4, mean 2.5 in P. pachamama), and by an on average smaller number of scales around midbody (78-114, mean 90.3 in P. magister vs. 92-116, mean 103.0 in P. pachamama). Compared to P. reissii the anterior edge of the ear opening is smooth or only slightly denticulated in most specimens (strongly denticulated with pointed scales in P. reissii).

Habitat: drought-resistant trees (e.g. Acacia, Anadenanthera, Ceiba, Cordia, Prosopis), dense shrubs (e.g. Croton, Mimosa) and ground vegetation layer (e.g. Opuntia, Poaceae).

Behavior: “During daytime surveys we found several specimens of this nocturnal species hidden under stones or inside deserted huts. Active individuals were recorded between 6.45 pm and 01.00 am, primarily on rock walls, sandy walls besides paths, roads or dry creek beds, as well as house walls from ground level up to about 2.5 m above the ground. Air temperatures during the active hours of this species ranged from 19.2 to 29.9° C, substrate temperatures ranged from 17.4 to 31.9° C and air humidity ranged from 52 to 75%.” (Koch et al. 2016).

Sympatry: “We found Phyllodactylus magister in sympatry with the congener P. interandinus in Jaén, Bellavista and Puerto Malleta, and according to Dixon & Huey (1970) the two species also occur sympatrically in Bagua Chica, Bagua Grande, and Perico. In Jaén and Santa Rosa de la Yunga, we observed P. magister in the same habitat as the sphaerodactylid species Gonatodes atricucullaris, and Noble (1921) also adds Bellavista as a contact zone of both species. According to him, a second sphaerodactylid species, Pseudogonatodes barbouri, also occurs in Bellavista, but we did not find this species in sympatry with P. magister in Perico.” (Koch et al. 2016). 
  • Burt,C.E. & Burt,M.D. 1931. South American lizards in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. Bull. Amer. Mus. nat. Hist. 61 (7): 227-395
  • Dixon, James R. & Huey, Raymond B. 1970. Systematics of the lizards of the Gekkonid genus Phyllodactylus on mainland South America. Los Angeles County Museum Contributions in Science (192): 1-78 - get paper here
  • KOCH, CLAUDIA; MORRIS FLECKS, PABLO J. VENEGAS, PATRICK BIALKE, SEBASTIAN VALVERDE, DENNIS RÖDDER 2016. Applying n-dimensional hypervolumes for species delimitation: unexpected molecular, morphological, and ecological diversity in the Leaf-Toed Gecko Phyllodactylus reissii Peters, 1862 (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae) from northern Peru. Zootaxa 4161 (1): 041–080 - get paper here
  • Noble, G. K. 1924. New lizards from northwestern Peru. Occasional Papers of the Boston Society of Natural History 5: 107—113 - get paper here
  • Peters, James A. & Donoso-Barros, Roberto 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part II. Lizards and Amphisbaenians. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 293 pp. - get paper here
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