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Afroedura halli (HEWITT, 1935)

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Hall’s Flat Gecko, Inland Rock Gecko 
SynonymOedura halli HEWITT 1935: 321
Afroedura karroica halli — LOVERIDGE 1947: 271
Afroedura karroica halli — WERMUTH 1965
Afroedura halli — BRANCH 1998: 233
Afroedura karroica halli — KLUGE 2001
Afroedura halli — ALEXANDER & MARAIS 2007
Afroedura halli — MASHININI & MAHLANGU 2013 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Eastern Cape)

Type locality: Telle Junction near Palmietfontein, Herschel district, elevation about 4500 feet, Cape Province (now Eastern Cape).  
TypesSyntypes: NMSA (also as NMP, TM) 19183 (Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg, Natal) 
DiagnosisDescription: (apparently based on 2 male types) The species is related to O. nivaria Blgr. from the summit of the Drakensberg, north-west Natal (Proc. ZooI. Soc. London, 1894, p. 726, PI. XLVII, fig. 1), but is distinguishable on the characters of the nostril, and in the number of preanal pores, 7 instead of 15 in nivaria. An immature specimen from Herschel I have previously identified in error as nivaria (Records Albany Museum Ill, p. 401).

Nasal scales three, first upper labial entering the nostril, but rostral widely separated therefrom: two large nasals well separated from each other by a single granular scale which is larger than the scales behind it. Rostral 5-sided, the exact shape varying, the breadth less than twice the height. Mental scute rather broader at the base but not narrowing greatly behind: in one specimen appreciably larger than the first labial, in the other subequal thereto, or even a trifle narrower than the labial: in neither specimen is the mental well elongate. Scales adjoining mental and first labial somewhat enlarged, and those bordering on labials II and III rather less so: altogether about a dozen more or less distinct chin-shields may be distinguished, the middle four being largest. Lower labials 9. Dorsal scales of head, neck and body all granular, none even subimbricate: they are smallest over the occiput and neck. Ventral scales all imbricate, those on the throat very small. Digits of hands and feet short, each with two pairs of adhesive plates at the distal end of the basal portion inferiorly: there is also a transversely elongate scale adjoining thereto and terminating a short mesial row of enlarged scales on most of the digits, the third toe for example having four or five such scales: these scales, however, with the exception of the distal one above mentioned and a smaller one next to it, are not greatly elongate transversely though decidedly broader than long.
In both specimens the tail is largely reproduced. At the base on each side of the vent is an oblique row of three blunt tubercles, one quite small and the other two not very prominent. The segment bearing these tubercles is scaled above more or less like the back, but its hindermost scales tend to become a little subimbricate: the next segment is quite differently scaled, having five transverse rows of larger flatter and definitely sub-imbricate scales: the next segment is similar thereto but scales a little larger and imbricate. Ventrally these two segments have three and four rows of imbricate scales respectively. The segmentation is conspicuous, due to constriction at the lateral junctions. The reproduced tail is quite unsegmented, scales flat and imbricate, in transverse rows above and below, the ventral ones largest. It is somewhat depressed, swollen out laterally in its basal portion and tapering acuminately: the surviving portion of the original tail is also depressed.
The head is depressed and snout rather pointed.

Colour of preserved specimens: pale grey with dark reticulation on the back, referable to irregular and zigzag transverse-oblique cross-bands which partially fuse. Blackish markings also occur over the head, limbs and tail.

Size: Total length 118, snout to vent 61, breadth of head 13.2. The measurements of 9 additional speciemens are as follows: total length adult male with original tail 138, of adult female with reproduced tail 116.5: breadth of head M. 13.8, F. 13.3: greatest breadth of tail M. 9, of reproduced tail of F. 13.7: vertical thickness of tail at its widest part M. 4.3, F. (reproduced) 6.2: length of tail M. 74, F. (reproduced) 56: height of head at occiput M. 7.2, F. 7.

To this species I now refer specimens from Majuba Nek, district, a very young one from Masite near Morija, and apparently also one from Cala.

From the Karroo-dwelling forms, karroica and wilmoti, this differs in the more granular scaling of the head and body: also in greater bodily size. From the Cofimvaba species tembulica, to which there is, some resemblance in granulation of the head, it is sharply separable on the nostril character and on the shape of the mental shield which narrows much in tembulica.

With regard to the nostril character, a specimen from Majuba Nek shows some indication of a fourth nasal scale due to segregation of the upper part of the first labial. This specimen has a tail very much like that of the types, with three original basal segments remaining.

The dorsal pattern of nine addiitonal specimens is very variable. In two specimens there are well defined cross-bands on the occiput and back, altogether about 6 or 7: these are more or less wavy and irregular, either whitish, conspicuously black-edg.ed in front, or dark with white edging behind. In most cases the cross-bands are very irregular owing to partial fusion and indentations, sometimes to such an extent that banding is hardly traceable as such.

All text above slightly modified after Hewitt 1935: 321 ff. 
Etymologynamed after the collector of the type, C. Hall. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Branch, W. R. 1998. Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. 3rd ed. Fully Revised and Updated to Include 83 New Species. Ralph Curtis Books (Sanibel Island, Florida), 399 pp.
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Hewitt, J. 1926. Descriptions of some new species of batrachians and lizards from South Africa. Annals of the Natal Museum (Pietermaritzburg) 5: 435-448
  • Hewitt, J. 1935. Some new forms of batrachians and reptiles from South Africa. Rec. Albany Mus. 4: 283-357
  • JACOBSEN, NIELS H. G.; ARIANNA L. KUHN, TODD R. JACKMAN & AARON M. BAUER 2014. A phylogenetic analysis of the southern African gecko genus Afroedura Loveridge (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with the description of nine new species from Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa. Zootaxa 3846 (4): 451–501 - get paper here
  • Mashinini, P. L. and Mahlangu, L. M. 2013. An annotated catalogue of the types of gekkonid lizards (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) in the Herpetology collection of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, South Africa. Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History 3: 165-181
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