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Rhoptropella ocellata (BOULENGER, 1885)

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Namaqua Day Gecko 
SynonymRhoptropus ocellatus BOULENGER 1885: 475
Rhoptropus ocellatus — BOULENGER 1887: 490
Phelsuma ocellata — SCHMIDT 1933
Rhoptropella ocellata — HEWITT 1937
Rhoptropella ocellata — LOVERIDGE 1947: 294
Rhoptropella ocellata — WERMUTH 1965: 159
Phelsuma ocellata — RUSSELL 1977
Phelsuma ocellata — KLUGE 1993
Phelsuma ocellata — RÖSLER 1995: 143
Rhoptropella ocellata — RÖLL 1999
Rhoptropella ocellata — RÖSLER 2000: 109
Phelsuma ocellata — BAUER & BRANCH 2003
Rhoptropella ocellata — AUSTIN et al. 2004
Rhoptropella ocellata — ROCHA et al. 2010
Phelsuma ocellata — BATES et al. 2014: 145 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Cape Province, Little-Namaqualand), SW Namibia

Type locality: Cape Province, South Africa (fide LOVERIDGE 1947).  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.28.4 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and comparisons: The snout is moderately long, but rather broad at end in Rhoptropella, compared to Phelsuma, which has a long, narrow, pointed snout, except in mirabilis and breviceps which are scarcely or not distinguishable on this character.
The rostral is relatively larger in Rhoptropella, with its hind margin extending backwards beyond an imaginary line connecting the posterior margins of the nostrils. In Phelsuma, it is relatively smaller, its hind margin not extending backward as far as an imaginary line connecting the posterior margins of the nostrils.
In Rhoptropella, the nostrils are pierced in first upper labial (with which the foremost nasal is normally fused) and 1 nasal (2 when foremost not fused). In Phelsuma, the nostril lies between first upper labial and 3 nasals (2 only in mutabilis and breviceps; rostral also in others).
In Rhoptropella, the eyelid is continuous as a narrow circular fold more or less around the eye, its upper portion projecting with the margin bearing 7-8 somewhat enlarged scales and internally, near the eye, a second row of 5-8 small, broad, flattened scales. In Phelsuma, the eyelid is continuous as a narrow circular fold more or less around the eye, its upper portion not projecting nor its margin scaled inferiorly.
In Rhoptropella, the upper surface of digital expansion has only a few small scales, about 3-5 in a single series, which distally extends only to the greatly enlarged mesial scale that terminates the mesial row of more or less enlarged scales; the marginal scales are broader than the height of the adjacent subdigital scansors.In Phelsuma, the upper surface of digital expansion has many small scales basally in a double series and distally extending in 1-2 rows almost to the end between the mesial row of more or less enlarged scales and the marginal ones which correspond in breadth with the height of the sub-digital scansors.
In Rhoptropella, the scansors beneath the digital expansion number only 7-8, including the very small distal one but excluding the 8-9 transversely dilated shields into which the scansors merge proximally. In Phelsuma, the scansors beneath the digital expansion number more than 8 except in mutabilis and breviceps which have 8 if one excludes the transversely dilated shields into which they merge. (modified after Loveridge 1947: 294.) 
CommentAlthough molecular analyses by AUSTIN et al. (2004) present no positive evidence that Rhoptropella is closely related to Phelsuma, such a relationship is strongly indicated by morphology. The two genera share a very broad frontal bone that may be completely bordered by extensions of the prefrontal and postfrontal bones, hypertrophied distal chondroepiphyses on the antepenultimate and prepenultimate phalanges of digits 2–5 of both manus and pes, pupil usually more or less round with un-notched borders, digit 1 on both manus and pes greatly reduced (data from Bauer, 1990; Russell and Bauer, 1990; Kluge and Nussbaum, 1995).

Type species: Rhoptropus ocellatus BOULENGER 1885: 475 is the type species of the genus Rhoptropella HEWITT 1937: 199. 
  • Austin, J.J.; E. N. Arnold and C. G. Jones 2004. Reconstructing an island radiation using ancient and recent DNA: the extinct and living day geckos (Phelsuma) of the Mascarene islands. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31 (1): 109-122 - get paper here
  • Barts, M. 2021. Geckos aus dem südlichen Afrika. DATZ 2021 (5): 24-34
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, A.M. 1990. Phylogenetic systematics and biogeography of the Carphodactylini (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). Bonner zool. Monogr. 30: 1-220 - get paper here
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Descriptions of three new species of geckoes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (5) 16: 473-475 - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Glaw, F. & Rösler, H. 2015. Taxonomic checklist of the day geckos of the genera Phelsuma Gray,1825 and Rhoptropella Hewitt,1937 (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Vertebrate Zoology 65 (2): - get paper here
  • Good, D. A.; Bauer, Aaron M. 1995. The Namaqua day gecko revisited: Allozyme evidence for the affinities of Phelsuma ocellata. Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa 44 (1): 1-9 - get paper here
  • Good, D.A. and A.M. Bauer 1995. Allozyme evidence for the affinities of the Namaqua day gecko, Phelsuma ocellata. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 44:1-9 - 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
  • Hewitt, J. 1937. Descriptions of South African lizards. Ann. Natal Mus. 8: 199-209
  • Kluge,A.G. & Nussbaum,R.A. 1995. A review of African-Madagascan gekkonid lizard phylogeny and biogeography (Squamata). Misc. Pub. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan 183: 1-20 - get paper here
  • Knothig, Michael 1994. Observations on Phelsuma ocellata (Boulenger, 1885): an isolated species of Phelsuma from South Africa. Dactylus 2 (4): 134-137
  • Loveridge, A. 1947. Revision of the African lizards of the family Gekkondiae. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 98: 1-469 - get paper here
  • ROCHA, SARA; HERBERT RÖSLER, PHILIP-SEBASTIAN GEHRING, FRANK GLAW, DAVID POSADA, D. JAMES HARRIS & MIGUEL VENCES 2010. Phylogenetic systematics of day geckos, genus Phelsuma, based on molecular and morphological data (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 2429: 1–28 - get paper here
  • Röll,B. 1999. Biochemical and morphological aspects of the relationship of the Namaqua day gecko to Phelsuma and Rhoptropus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). Zoology 102: 50-60
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • RÖSLER, H. 2020. Hommage an Murk van Phelsum. Sauria 42 (2): 3-27
  • Rösler, Herbert 1995. Geckos der Welt - Alle Gattungen. Urania, Leipzig, 256 pp.
  • Rösler, Herbert 2017. Gecko-Chorologie (Squamata: Gekkota). Gekkota (4): 1-160
  • Russell, A.P. 1977. The genera Rhoptropus and Phelsuma (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) in southern Africa: a case of convergence and a reconsideration of the biogeography of Phelsuma. Zool. Afr. 12: 393-408 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, Karl Patterson 1933. The reptiles of the Pulitzer Angola Expedition. Annals of the Carnegie Museum 22 (1): 1-15
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