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Uroplatus malahelo NUSSBAUM & RAXWORTHY, 1994

IUCN Red List - Uroplatus malahelo - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymUroplatus malahelo NUSSBAUM & RAXWORTHY 1994: 320
Uroplatus malahelo — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 273 
DistributionS Madagascar

Type locality: west-facing slope of Ambatorongorongo Mountain, 5.3 km SE Manambaro, 25°4'45" S, 46°47'00" E, 350 m elevation, Tolanaro (Fort Dauphin) Fivondronana, Toliara (Tulear) Province, Madagascar.  
TypesHolotype: UMMZ 201498, mature male, collected 10 October 1992, by Ronald A. Nussbaum. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A small Uroplatus, maximum SVL 79 mm; snout short, 1.6 times eye length, depressed, rounded at tip, canthus rostralis barely expressed; body depressed; tail short, about 0.5 times the SVL, pygal portion with a short fleshy protuberance on each side, borders with shallow scalloping, rounded tip; no membranous lateral fringes except on postpygal portion of tail; rostral scale entire; superciliary scales granular, one posterior superciliary on each side with a short spine; jaw angle lying directly below posterior portion of orbit; dorsal and ventral scales homogeneous; dorsal coloration nearly uniform light tannish gray in life, with scattered small dark spots and streaks in preservative, but no regular pattern of bands or large spots; ventral coloration uniform light tan-brown, somewhat lighter toward the midline (Nussbaum & Raxworthy 1994).

Uroplatus malahelo is characterized by its small size; dorsoventral flattening of the body; absence of lateral membranous fringes on the head, neck, body, limbs, and tail base; short snout; undivided rostral scale; short tail with shallow and regular crenellation along the border; homogeneous dorsal and ventral scalation; and nearly uniform coloration. The new species is most similar to Uroplatus alluaudi, which is known only from the extreme northern rainforests of Madagascar, but it differs from U. alluaudi in having homogeneous dorsal scales (heterogeneous in U. alluaudi), in coloration, and in the structure of the hemipenis. 
EtymologyThe name "malahelo," pronounced "mawlahayloo," is a Malagasy word meaning "forlorn" or "sad," in reference to the fact that the only known locality for this species is a tiny, degraded patch of rainforest that was being cut and burned at the time the species was discovered. 
  • Andreone, F. & Randrianirina, J.E. 2007. The amphibians and reptiles of Kalambatritra, a little-known rainforest of south-easter n Madagascar. Boll. Mus. Reg. Sci. Nat. Torino 14 (1): 179-190
  • Gehring, Phillip-Sebastian 2020. Leaf-tailed Geckos – The Complete Uroplatus. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main, Germany ( 383 pp., ISBN: 978-3-89973-349-5 [review in HR 53 (1): 171]
  • Glaw ,F. & Vences, M. 1994. A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag, Köln (ISBN 3-929449-01-3)
  • Nussbaum, R. A. and C. RAXWORTHY 1994. A new species of Uroplatus DUMÉRIL (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from southern Madagascar. Herpetologica 50 (3): 319-325. - get paper here
  • Ratsoavina, F. M., N. R. Raminosoa, E. E. Louis Jr., A. P. Raselimanana, F. Glaw & M. Vences 2013. An overview of Madagascar’s leaf tailed geckos (genus Uroplatus): species boundaries, candidate species and review of geographical distribution based on molecular data. Salamandra 49 (3): 115-148 - get paper here
  • Schönecker, P. 2006. Plattschwanzgeckos (Uroplatus). Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 64 pp. - get paper here
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