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Sphaerodactylus elegans (MACLEAY, 1834)

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
SubspeciesSphaerodactylus elegans elegans MACLEAY 1834
Sphaerodactylus elegans punctatissimus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836 
Common NamesE: Ashy Geckolet, Ashy gecko, Ashy Sphaero 
SynonymSphariodactylus [sic] elegans MACLEAY 1834:12
Sphaerodactylus elegans — BOULENGER 1885: 220
Sphaerodactylus elegans — BARBOUR & RAMSDEN 1919
Sphaerodactylus elegans elegans — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 86
Sphaerodactylus elegans — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 490
Sphaerodactylus elegans — KLUGE 1993
Sphaerodactylus elegans — RÖSLER 1995: 172
Sphaerodactylus elegans — HEDGES 2010

Sphaerodactylus elegans punctatissimus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836
Sphaeriodactylus [sic] punctatissimus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 405
Sphaerodactylus alopex COPE 1862: 499
Sphaerodactylus punctatissimus — BOULENGER 1885: 220
Sphaerodactylus alopex — BOULENGER 1885: 222
Sphaerodactylus elegans punctatissimus — SCHWARTZ & GARRIDO 1985: 53
Sphaerodactylus elegans punctatissimus — DE LISLE et al. 2013 
DistributionW/C Cuba, Isla de la Juventud; Hispaniola, Haiti
USA (introduced to Florida, Key West Islands)

elegans: Cuba, Isla de la Juventud; associated cayertas; introduced on Florida Keys; Type locality: Cuba; probably the vicinity of Guanabacoa, La Habana Province, Cuba, according to Barbour, 1921.

punctatissimus: Hispaniola; Île Grande Cayemite; Île de la Gonâve.  
TypesHolotype: Unlocated.
Syntypes: MNHN-RA 1768, MNHN-RA 1768A-B [punctatissimus]
Syntype: USNM 52407 [Sphaerodactylus alopex] 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION: Size moderate (SVL in males to 39 mm, in females to 37 mm); dorsals small, slightly swollen, slightly keeled, weakly imbricate, axilla to groin 41-59; no area of middorsal granules or granular scales; ventrals smooth, cycloid, imbricate, axilla to groin 24-45; dorsal caudal scales smooth, cycloid, imbricate, ventral caudal scales smooth, cycloid, imbricate, enlarged midventrally; snout acuminate, not depressed or decurved; snout scales granular, enlarged, flattened; 1 postnasal; 0-2 (strongly modally 1) internasals; upper labials to mideye 3-5 (strongly modally 4); gular scales smooth; chest scales smooth; midbody scales 49-84; escutcheon 4-8 x 19-37. Adults not strongly sexually dichromatic, but strong ontogenetic pattern change; juveniles (SVL 20-28 mm and below, by subspecies) yellowish to reddish dorsally with prominent reddish tail and limbs; body and tail transversely banded with dark brown to almost black, this boldly contrasting pattern gradually changing to (adults) dark brown, pale tan, yellowish tan dorsum, either speckled with many isolated pale whitish to very pale tan scales or not, isolated pale scales at times confluent on body to give vague, fine, longi-
tudinal striate effect; head in both sexes either concolor with dorsum, dotted with minute, pale flecks, or (full adults) strongly streaked or vermiculate with pale tan and dark brown: throat (males) finely stippled or coarsely vermiculate with brown (by population); iris golden to golden yellow (from Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 491). 
CommentSynonymy: S. punctatissimus has been downgraded to S. e. punctatissimus by Schwartz & Garrido (1985). Grant (1948) demonstrated conclusively that elegans and cinereus are actually ontogenetic forms of the same species. However, Mittleman 1950 concluded that they are taxonomically distinct. 
EtymologyThe name elegans (Latin) means tasteful, choice, fine, select or elegant and appears to refer to the color pattern or body shape. 
  • Barbour, T. 1921. Sphaerodactylus. Mem. Mus. Comp. Zool. (Harvard) 47: 215-282. - get paper here
  • Barbour, T. and C. T. Ramsden. 1919. The herpetology of Cuba. Mem. Mus. Comp. Zool., Harvard Coll. 47: 69-213. - get paper here
  • Beate Röll 2006. Kugelfingergeckos, Sphaerodactylus elegans & S. torrei. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 64 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. - get paper here
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Cope, E.D. 1862. On the genera Panolopus, Centropyx, Aristelliger and Sphaerodactylus. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 13: 494-500. [1861] - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M. C. and G. Bibron. 1836. Erpetologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol. 3. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 528 pp. - get paper here
  • Gibbons, Whit; Judy Greene, and Tony Mills 2009. LIZARDS AND CROCODILIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST. University of Georgia Press, 240 pp.
  • Hedges SB. 2010. Sphaerodactylus elegans (Ashy Sphaero). Distribution. Caribbean Herpetology 4: 1 - get paper here
  • Kaup, B. 2012. Farbenfrohe Winzlinge – Kugelfingergeckos im heimischen Wohnzimmer. Reptilia (Münster) 17 (97): 39-45 - get paper here
  • KRYSKO, K.L. AND KEIDRA J. DANIELS 2005. A Key to the Geckos (Sauria: Gekkonidae) of Florida. Carib. J. Sci. 41 (1): 28-36 - get paper here
  • Krysko, Kenneth L.; Coleman M. Sheehy III, A. Nichole Hooper 2003. Interspecific communal oviposition and reproduction of four species of lizards (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in the lower Florida Keys. Amphibia-Reptilia 24 (3): 390-396 - get paper here
  • Macleay, W. S. 1834. A few remarks tending to illustrate the natural history of two annulose genera, namely Urania of Fabricus and Mygale of Walekenien. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1834: 9-12. - get paper here
  • Meshaka Jr., Walter E. 2011. A RUNAWAY TRAIN IN THE MAKING: THE EXOTIC AMPHIBIANS, REPTILES, TURTLES, AND CROCODILIANS OF FLORIDA. Herp. Cons. Biol. 6 (Monograph 1): 1-101 - get paper here
  • Mittleman, M. B. 1950. Insular variation in the lizard Sphaerodactylus cinereus. Herpetologica 6: 60-66 - get paper here
  • Regalado, Rub_n 1997. Social behavior of the Ashy Gecko (Sphaerodactylus elegans Macleay): repertoire and sex recognition. Herpetological Natural History 5 (1): 41-52
  • Rodríguez Schettino, Lourdes, Carlos A. Mancina & Vilma Rivalta González 2013. REPTILES OF CUBA: CHECKLIST AND GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (144): 1-96 - get paper here
  • Rösler, Herbert 1995. Geckos der Welt - Alle Gattungen. Urania, Leipzig, 256 pp.
  • Schröder, E., & Röll,B. 2000. Sphaerodactylus elegans MACLEAY. Sauria (Suppl.) 23 (3): 513-516 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Schwartz, A. and O. H. Garrido. 1985. The Cuban lizards of the genus Sphaerodactylus (Sauria, Gekkonidae). Milwaukee Public Mus. Contrib. Biol. Geol. 62: 1-67. - get paper here
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