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Sphaerodactylus exsul BARBOUR, 1914

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Swan Islands Geckolet 
SynonymSphaerodactylus exsul BARBOUR 1914
Sphaerodactylus notatus exsul — SCHWARTZ 1966: 170
Sphaerodactylus notatus exsul — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Sphaerodactylus exsul — MCCRANIE 2011
Sphaerodactylus exsul — POWELL & HENDERSON 2012
Sphaerodactylus exsul — MCCRANIE 2015 
DistributionHonduras (Swan Island)

Type locality: Little Swan Island, Swan Islands  
Reproductionoviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: MCZ 7894 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The combination of lacking moveable eyelids, having dorsal surface of the head covered with small scales, having the claws displaced laterally by expanded terminal subdigital lamellae, and having a superciliary spine distinguishes Sphaerodactylus exsul from all other Honduran lizards, except the remaining Sphaerodactylus. Sphaerodactylus exsul has larger middorsal scales numbering 22– 30 longitudinal rows and lacks a middorsal zone of granular scales (versus 40 or more dorsal scales, or if less than 40 dorsal scales, a distinct middorsal zone of granules present, in all other Sphaerodactylus) (McCranie 2018: 110).

Color in life: (adult male, MCZ R191125; Plate 19 in McCranie 2018): dorsal surface of body Drab (color 19 in Köhler, 2012) with Dark Drab (45) spots, each spot confined to single scale; dorsal surface of head pale brownish white with numerous Brownish Olive (276) stripes and elongated blotches, nuchal area also with Sayal Brown (41) mottling; nuchal blotch absent; basal portion of top of tail similar in color to body, posterior two-thirds of top of tail mottled with Dark Drab and orange brown; dorsal surfaces of fore- and hind limb mottled with Dark Drab and Cinnamon Drab (50); ventral surfaces of head and body pale brown; ventral surfaces of toe pads white; subcaudal surface mottled pale and medium brown; iris Buff (15) with white ring around pupil. Color in life of an adult female (MCZ R191145): dorsal surfaceofbodyClayColor(color18inKo ̈hler, 2012) with Dark Brownish Olive (127) and Amber (51) spots, each spot confined to 1 scale; dorsal surface of head Cinnamon-Drab (50) with Russet (44) preand postocular and middorsal stripes, middorsal stripe Clay Color medially at posterior edge of head; Sepia (279) occipital blotch present, blotch outlined anteriorly by dirty white line, paired yellowish white spots present on posterolateral portion of Sepia occipital blotch; no separate nuchal blotch present; dorsal surfaces of fore- and hind limb Clay Color with Olive-Brown (278) spots and lines, Mikado Brown (42) spots also present on hind limb; basal portion of tail similar in color to that of body, posterior three-quarters of tail Mikado Brown with scattered dark brown spots; ventral surfaces of head, body, and tail pale brown, distal three-quarters of subcaudal surface Mikado Brown; iris Mikado Brown with golden brown ring around pupil (McCranie 2018: 111). 
CommentFor illustrations see Barbour and Ramsden, 1919; Barbour, 1921 (as S. notatus, S.exsul)

Abundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe specific name exsul is Latin, meaning banished person or exile. The name alludes to the isolated occurrence of this species. 
  • Barbour, Thomas 1914. A Contribution to the Zoögeography of the West Indies, with Especial Reference to Amphibians and Reptiles. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy 44 (2): 205-359 - get paper here
  • Hedges SB, Powell R, Henderson RW, Hanson S, and Murphy JC 2019. Definition of the Caribbean Islands biogeographic region, with checklist and recommendations for standardized common names of amphibians and reptiles. Caribbean Herpetology 67: 1–53
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2018. The Lizards, Crocodiles, and Turtles of Honduras. Systematics, Distribution, and Conservation. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Special Publication Series (2): 1- 666 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Powell, R., and R. W. Henderson, Eds. 2012. Island lists of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum 2:85–166 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. 1966. Geographic variation in Sphaerodactylus notatus Baird. Revista de Biologia Tropical 13 [1965]:161—185 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1988. West Indian Amphibian and Reptiles: A Checklist. Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Contr. Biol. Geol. No. 74: 264 pp. - get paper here
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