Sphaerodactylus alphus MCCRANIE & HEDGES, 2013
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Sphaerodactylus alphus?
|Higher Taxa||Sphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)|
|Common Names||E: Guanaja Large-scaled Geckolet|
|Synonym||Sphaerodactylus alphus MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013|
Sphaerodactylus rosaurae — WILSON & HAHN 1973: 106 (part)
Sphaerodactylus rosaurae — SCHWARTZ 1975: 17 (part)
Sphaerodactylus rosaurae — SCHWARTZ & GARRIDO 1981: 20 (part)
Sphaerodactylus rosaurae — MCCRANIE et al. 2005: 82 (part)
|Distribution||Honduras (Islas de la Bahía: Guanaja)|
Type locality: Savannah Bight, 16.29078°, -85.50300°, Isla de Guanaja, Islas de la Bahía, Honduras, 15 m elevation.
|Types||Holotype: FMNH 283672 (genetic sample 1, KF017633, KF017624), an adult female, collected 20 September 2012 by James R. McCranie and Leonardo Valdés Orellana. Paratypes (7). FMNH 283666, adult female, same data as holotype; FMNH 283663, 283674, adult males, and FMNH 283668, juvenile, from East End, 16.486°, -85.832°, collected 19 September 2012 by McCranie and Valdés Orellana; FMNH 283671, 283673 (genetic sample 2, KF017634, KF017625), adult females from East End, collected 17 November 2011 by McCranie; FMNH 283664, adult male from the Hotel Posada del Sol ruins, 16.462117°, -85.853867°, collected 21 September 2012 by McCranie and Valdés Orellana.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. Sphaerodactylus alphus can be distinguished from S. rosaurae by its larger size (41.2 mm SVL in two of the seven adults versus maximum known SVL 38.5 mm in 26 adult S. rosaurae; mean SVL 38.6 mm in seven adults larger than largest known female [38.5 mm] of S. rosaurae). Sphaerodactylus alphus also differs from S. rosaurae in having a white spot enclosed in a dark brown occipital blotch that is especially distinct in adult females and juveniles, dark brown occipital blotch confluent with a narrow dark brown crossband in adult females and juveniles, and conspicuous dark, medially broken, crossbands in adult females (versus no white occipital spot, no dark brown occipital blotch confluent with narrow dark brown crossband, and dorsal pattern of adult females reduced to dark spots in S. rosaurae). Sphaerodactylus alphus also averages more dorsal scales in males (29–35, x = 31.3±3.2, n = 3) than do male S. rosaurae (21–29, x = 26.0±2.3, n = 12). Sphaerodactylus alphus occurs sympatrically with one other species of Sphaerodactylus, S. guanajae of the S. millepunctatus species group (McCranie & Hedges 2012), but is easily distinguished from that species in having 2–3 middorsal rows of granular scales that are sharply and distinctly differentiated from the much larger surrounding dorsal scales (versus all dorsal body scales of a similar size in S. guanajae). Sphaerodactylus alphus also differs from other S. copei species group members in amount of model-corrected cytochrome b sequence divergence (6 %; Fig. 1 in MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013).|
|Comment||Synonymy: after MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013|
Sexual dimorphism: see Fig. 5 in MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013.
Habitat. Specimens were found by raking through Sea Grape (Cocoloba uvifera) leaf litter and debris below coconut palms. Individuals usually tried to rapidly retreat to nearby cover when first exposed. Thus, they are somewhat difficult to capture while at the same time the collector trying not to be too aggressive because of the fragile skin of this species. Because of that fragile skin, many museum specimens of Sphaerodactylus alphus have some damage to their skin.
|Etymology||The specific name alphus is a Latin masculine, singular noun meaning “a white spot on the skin.” The name alludes to the distinctive white occipital spot found in this species.|
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