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Sphaerodactylus sputator (SPARRMAN, 1784)

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Leeward Banded Geckolet, Island Least Gecko 
SynonymLacerta sputator SPARRMAN 1784: 164
Lacerta sputator — MEYER 1795: 30
Sphaeriodactylus sputator — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 402
Sphaerodactylus sputator — BOULENGER 1885: 219
Sphaerodactylus pictus GARMAN 1887
Sphaerodactylus sputator — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 537
Sphaerodactylus sputator — KLUGE 1993
Sphaerodactylus sputator — RÖSLER 2000: 114
Sphaerodactylus sputator — POWELL & BAUER 2012 
DistributionAntilles, Statia, Dog, St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Kitts, Nevis, Haiti (Departm. de l'Artibonite), Sombrero Island, Anguilla Bank (Dog, Little Scrub, Scrub, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin, Ile Fourchue, Îlet Pinel), St. Eustatius, St. Christopher

Type locality: St. Eustatius.  
TypesLectotype: NRM (NHRM) 2669. 
DiagnosisDescription: Size moderate (SVL to 35 mm in males, to 39 mm in females); dorsals keeled, slightly imbricate, axilla to groin 31-39; ventrals cycloid, smooth, axilla to groin 27-34; middorsal area of granular scales; dorsal caudal scales weakly keeled, imbricate, ventral caudal scales cycloid, imbricate, enlarged midventrally; snout scales flat, smooth, juxtaposed; 2 postnasals; 1-2 (mode 2) internasals; upper labials to mideye 3-4 (mode 3); gular scales smooth; midbody scales 49-62; escutcheon 3-6 x 26-30 (Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 537).

Sexual dichromatism: absent.

Coloration: dorsal ground color pale tan (St. Martin), sandy buffy (St. Martin), purplish tan (St. Barthelemy; St. Eustatius), or pale pink (Anguilla); pattern of 5-8 brown-edged, dull white, cream, or buffy crossbands between head and groin; crossbands continue onto tail, but ill-defined and obscure; entire animal may have slight greenish cast; yellow canthal line; throat pale yellow; ventral ground color pearly (St. Martin), creamy white (Anguilla), pinkish (St. Eustatius); tail pale yellow to orangish (St. Martin; St.Barthelemy); iris bronze (St. Martin; St. Barthelemy), golden (Anguilla), golden orange (St. Eustatius) (Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 537).

Diagnosis: Sphaerodactylus sputator may be distinguished from other Lesser Antillean congeners by having a middorsal area composed of granules that lack knob-like scale organs and have only hair-bearing scale organs (King 1962) and in having smooth gular and ventral scales (Schwartz and Henderson 1985, Powell & Bauer 2012). 
CommentFor illustrations see Barbour, 1921 (as S. pictus); King, 1960; King, 1962.

Type species: Lacerta sputator SPARRMAN 1784: 164 is the type species of the genus Sphaerodactylus WAGLER 1830: 143.

Type genus: Sphaerodactylus is the type genus of the family Sphaerodactylidae.

The family Sphaerodactylidae has changed in composition. Vanzolini 1968 assigned 5 genera to the family (Gonatodes, Lepidoblepharis, Pseudogonatodes, Coleodactylus, and Sphaerodactylus) while it now (2018) has 12.

Extinct species: Sphaerodactylus dommeli Böhme 1984 has been described from amber, found in the Dominican Rebuplic.

Distribution: For maps of South American species see Vanzolini 1968: 94 (Map 5).

Reproduction: for a collection of data on reproductive details in Sphaerodactylidae see Rösler 2022. 
  • Barbour, T. 1921. Sphaerodactylus. Mem. Mus. Comp. Zool. (Harvard) 47: 215-282. - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas 1923. West Indian investigations of 1922. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (132): 1-9 - 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
  • 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
  • Garman, S. 1887. On West Indian Geckonidae and Anguide. Bull. Essex Inst. 19: 17-24. - get paper here
  • Howard, K. G., J. S. Parmerlee. Jr and R. Powell. 2001. Natural History of the edificarian geckos Hemidactylus mabouia, Thecadactylus rapicauda, and Sphaerodactylus sputator on Anguilla. Carib. J. Sci. 37 (3-4): 285-288
  • Kaup, B. 2012. Farbenfrohe Winzlinge – Kugelfingergeckos im heimischen Wohnzimmer. Reptilia (Münster) 17 (97): 39-45 - get paper here
  • King, F.W. 1960. The status of Sphaerodactylus pictus, with comments on the distribution of S. sputator and S. sabanus. Breviora (132):1-5. - get paper here
  • King, W. 1962. Systematics of Lesser Antillean lizards of the genus Sphaerodactylus. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences, 7:1-52 - get paper here
  • Malhotra, A. & Thorpe, R.S. 1999. Reptiles & Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean. MacMillan, London & Oxford
  • Meyer, F.A.A. 1795. Synopsis Reptilium, novam ipsorum sistens generum methodum, nec non Gottingensium huius ordinis animalium enumerationem. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, Göttingen, 32 pp [for current names see Rösler & Böhme 2021] - get paper here
  • Powell, Robert and Aaron M. Bauer. 2012. Sphaerodactylus sputator. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (897): 1-7 - get paper here
  • Questel K. 2012. Sphaerodactylus sputator (Leeward Banded Sphaero). Distribution. Caribbean Herpetology 34: 1 - get paper here
  • Questel K. 2018. Discovery of geckos, Sphaerodactylus macrolepis Günther and Sphaerodactylus sputator Sparrman, on Prickly Pear Cays, Anguilla, British West Indies. Caribbean Herpetology 61, 1-2 (4 September 2018) - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • Rösler, Herbert 2022. Akzente der Fortpflanzungsbiologie oviparer Geckos (Squamata: Gekkota) - Charakter, Evolution, Phylogenie. Vernate 41/2022: 91-212
  • Rösler, Herbert & Wolfgang Böhme 2021. Das Leben von Friedrich Albrecht Anton Meyer (1768 – 1795) und die Herpetologie in seinen Schriften, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der „Synopsis Reptilium“. Sekretär 21: 83-129
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Schwartz, Albert 1973. Sphaerodactylus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (142): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Sparrman, A. 1784. Lacerta Sputator und Lacerta bimaculata, zwey neue Eideren aus Amerika, beschrieben von ANDERS SPARRMAN. [in German] Der Königlich-Schwedischen Akademie der Wissenschaften Neue Abhandlungen, aus der Naturlehre Haushaltungskunst und Mechanik, für das Jahr 1784, 3(1): 166-168 - get paper here
  • Vanzolini, P.E. 1968. Geography of South American Gekkonidae (Sauria). Arquivos de Zoologia (Sao Paulo) 17(2): 85-112. - get paper here
  • Wissmann, S.M.; R.L. Hensley, R. Powell & J.S. Parmerlee Jr. 2005. Social behavior in the dwarf geckos Sphaerodactylus sabanus and S. sputator from St. Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles. Salamandra 41 (1-2): 45-50 - get paper here
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