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Coleodactylus septentrionalis VANZOLINI, 1980

IUCN Red List - Coleodactylus septentrionalis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Ilha Maracá Gecko 
SynonymColeodactylus septentrionalis VANZOLINI 1980
Coleodactylus meridionalis — VANZOLINI 1957: 2 (part)
Coleodactylus septentrionalis — AVILA-PIRES 1995: 251
Coleodactylus septentrionalis — RÖSLER 2000: 63
Coleodactylus septentrionalis — GAMBLE et al. 2011 
DistributionN Brazil (Roraima), W Suriname (Nickerie), Guyana, Venezuela (Delta Amacuro, Monagas [HR 32: 275])

Type locality: Brazil, Roraima, Ilha Maracá, Rio Uraricoera.  
TypesHolotype: MZUSP 52866 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A diurnal, ground dwelling, small gecko. Maximum SVL in males 26 mm, in females 28.5 mm. Body cylindrical, with short legs and tail. Claws enclosed by an ungual sheath composed of five asymmetrical, imbricate scales. Dorsal scales phylloid, imbricate, smooth. Ventral scales larger, smooth; 26-36 (31.2 ± 2.0) along midventral line, between anterior level of forelimbs and that of hind limbs. Scales around midbody 36-48 (42.8 ± 2.8). Mental without a median cleft, bordered by two to four postmentals; its width distinctly shorter than length of first infralabial (Avila-Pires 1995: 252).

Description. Sphaerodactyline gecko with maximum SVL in males of 26 mm (MPEG 14800 and others), in females of 28.5 mm (MR 063). Head 0.17-0.23 (0.21 ± 0.01, n= 61) times SVL; 1.2-1.6 (1.40 ± 0.08, n= 59) times as long as wide; 1.2-1.6 (1.42 ± 0.09, n= 59) times as wide as high. Snout elongate, bluntly pointed, gently sloping toward top of head. Neck narrower than head, slightly narrower than body. Body cylindrical. Limbs relatively short, forelimbs 0.20-0.32 (0.26 ± 0.03, n= 49) times SVL, hind limbs 0.29-0.43 (0.34 ± 0.03, n= 45) times. Tail round in cross section, tapering toward the tip, 0.7-0.9 (0.78 ± 0.05, n= 15) times SVL.
Tongue wide, covered with imbricate, scale-like papillae; tip round, with a short median cleft. Teeth minute, conical, subequal.
Rostral very large, approximately as wide as high, distinctly visible from above; posterior part, between level of nostrils, with a shallow depression and a median cleft; bordered posteriorly by three or four, exceptionally five, scales, lateral ones (supranasals) by far the largest. Nostril bordered by rostral, first supralabial, two or three (rarely one) postnasals and lateral postrostral (supranasal); postnasals slightly to distinctly larger than adjacent loreal scales. Scales on snout smooth, flat, subimbricate, irregularly polygonal and relatively large anteriorly, gradually decreasing in size, imbricate, and with round posterior margin toward top of head. Loreal region with scales similar to those on anterior part of snout, but smaller; 4-7 scales in a longitudinal line between postnasal and orbit. Scales on supraorbital region and on top of head smooth, flat, imbricate, with round posterior margin i n the anterior part, smaller posteriorly, and almost granular, subimbricate on posterior part of head. A supraciliary flap is present, with 3-6 (mostly 3 or 4) enlarged scales. Pupil round.
Suboculars 1-4, narrow, mostly one of them much longer than the others. Temporal region with small, smooth, imbricate scales, with round posterior margin. Ear-opening small, round to vertically or obliquely oval or subtriangular. Supralabials 4-5, exceptionally six, decreasing in size posteriorly, reaching approximately to below posterior margin of eye; most commonly fourth, occasionally third or fifth, supralabial below centre of eye.
Mental rhomboid or resembling an arrow-head, with blunt anterior and truncate posterior margins; its width distinctly shorter than length of first infralabial; no posterior median cleft. Postmentals 3, occasionally 2 or 4; generally median one several times larger than lateral ones, in some specimens all postmentals subequal. Scales on chin mostly hexagonal, anteriorly larger and juxtaposed, posteriorly smaller, imbricate. Infralabials 3-5, first very long, decreasing in size posteriorly; 2-4 to below centre of eye. Scales on neck forming a short transitional zone between those on head and those on body.
Dorsals smooth, imbricate, with round posterior margin. Ventrals similar, but larger; 31-42 (36.0 ± 2.2, n= 55) scales along the midventral line between anterior level of forelimbs and vent; 26-36 (31.2 ± 2.0, n= 55) to anterior margin of hind limbs. Both dorsals and ventrals in approximately longitudinal and oblique rows. Scales around midbody 36-48 (42.8 ± 2.8, n= 59), dorsals grading into ventrals. Scales on preanal plate similar to ventrals, except for scales on border of vent, which are smaller. Escutcheon absent.
Scales on tail similar to dorsals and ventrals, respectively.
Scales on limbs smooth, imbricate, with round posterior margin; posterior surfaces of upper arms, forearms and thighs with much smaller, almost granular, scales. Six, occasionally five or seven, lamellae under fourth finger; seven or eight, rarely six, under fourth toe. Claws enclosed by an ungual sheath composed of five asymmetrical, imbricate, scales, of which two infero-laterals, innermost slightly larger and swollen, and three smaller dorsals, of which one internal apical and two supero-laterals; one of the supero-laterals, which according to Parker (1926) is homologous with the median dorsal of Lepidoblepharis, occupies the most external position of the set.
The only colour description of living specimens available is that of O'Shea (1989: 55), "brown with a series of paired white dorsal spots and occasionally a pair of broken white dorso-lateral stripes". Vanzolini (1980), Cunha (1981a), and Hoogmoed (1985) give colour descriptions of recently fixated material. Among the specimens from Roraima I studied, three (MPEG 14798-800) show an apparently well preserved pattern, as follows. General dorsal colour dark brown. A transverse, relatively large, white band across posterior part of head, which is in contact with posterior border of eye through a less evident and narrower white line. Body with a series of dorsolateral white, irregular, spots, one pair at the level of forelimbs, a second approximately at midbody, and a third shortly before the level of hind limbs; in two of the specimens, the spots are connected by a paler dorsolateral stripe, which continues along anterior half of tail. The single specimen with complete original tail also shows three white spots on tail, first double, others single. Flanks uniformly brown in two specimens, with small white spots in the other. Ventral region mostly white, laterally peppered (in one specimen entire belly peppered); underside of tail mostly peppered.
Other specimens from Roraima show a reddish-brown colour, almost uniform, only with the light band across head distinct; ventral region mostly cream, in some specimens with peppered areas.
In specimens from Venezuela, the white band across posterior part of head varies from absent to very conspicuous; the back may be uniformly brown, or with small, light, dark bordered spots irregularly dispersed, or else with a few similar but slightly larger spots, more or less dorsolateral in position. In any case, the pattern is much less conspicuous than i n the three specimens from Roraima described above (Avila-Pires 1995: 252). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an adjective in the nominative case derived from the Latin for ‘northern’, referring to the distribution of this species. 
  • Avila-Pires, T.C.S. 1995. Lizards of Brazilian Amazonia (Reptilia: Squamata). Zoologische Verhandelingen 299: 1-706 - get paper here
  • Cole, Charles J.; Carol R. Townsend, Robert P. Reynolds, Ross D. MacCulloch, and Amy Lathrop 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Guyana, South America: illustrated keys, annotated species accounts, and a biogeographic synopsis. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 125 (4): 317-578; plates: 580-620 - get paper here
  • Freire, E. M. X. 1999. Espécie nova de Coleodactylus PARKER, 1926 das Dunas de Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brasil, com notas sobre suas relaçoãs dicromatismo sexual no género (Squamata, Gekkonidae). Bol. Mus. Nac. nov. Ser. Rio de Janeiro, 399: 1-14.
  • Gamble, Tony; Juan D. Daza, Guarino R. Colli, Laurie J. Vitt and Aaron M. Bauer 2011. A new genus of miniaturized and pug-nosed gecko from South America (Sphaerodactylidae: Gekkota). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163 (4): 1244–1266 - get paper here
  • Gonçalves, UBIRATAN; SELMA TORQUATO, GABRIEL SKUK & GEORGE DE ARAÚJO SENA 2012. A new species of Coleodactylus Parker, 1926 (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) from the Atlantic Forest of northeast Brazil. Zootaxa 3204: 20–30 - get paper here
  • Hoogmoed, M. S. 1977. Notes on the Herpetofauna of Suriname X. Coleodactylus septentrionalis Vanzolini, a Lizard new for the Surinamese Fauna (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Zoologische Mededelingen 59: 229-238 - get paper here
  • RIBEIRO-JÚNIOR, MARCO A. 2015. Catalogue of distribution of lizards (Reptilia: Squamata) from the Brazilian Amazonia. II. Gekkonidae, Phyllodactylidae, Sphaerodactylidae. Zootaxa 3981 (1): 001–055 - get paper here
  • Ribeiro-Júnior, Marco A. & Silvana Amaral 2016. Diversity, distribution, and conservation of lizards (Reptilia: Squamata) in the Brazilian Amazonia. Neotropical Biodiversity, 2:1, 195-421 - get paper here
  • RIVAS, GILSON A.; CÉSAR R. MOLINA, GABRIEL N. UGUETO, TITO R. BARROS, CÉSAR L. BAR- RIO-AMORÓS & PHILIPPE J. R. KOK 2012. Reptiles of Venezuela: an updated and commented checklist. Zootaxa 3211: 1–64 - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • Vanzolini P E 1980. Coleodactylus septentrionalis sp. n., with notes on the distribution of the genus (Sauria, Gekkonidae). PAPEIS AVULSOS DE ZOOLOGIA (SAO PAULO) 34(1) 1980: 1-9
  • Vitt, L.J. et al. 2005. Small in a big world: ecology of leaf-litter geckos in new world tropical forests. Herpetological Monographs 19: 137-152 - get paper here
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