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Coleonyx switaki (MURPHY, 1974)

IUCN Red List - Coleonyx switaki - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaEublepharidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Switak’s Banded Gecko
G: Gebänderter oder Switaks Barfuß-Gecko
S: Geco Descalzo 
SynonymAnarbylus switaki MURPHY 1974
Coleonyx swaitaki [sic] — STEBBINS 1985: 112
Coleonyx switaki — KLUGE 1993
Coleonyx switaki — RÖSLER 2000: 63
Coleonyx switaki— PIANKA & VITT 2003: 39
Coleonyx switaki — SEUFER et al. 2005 
DistributionUSA, Mexico (from San Diego County, SW California southward to the vicinity of San Ignacio in C Baja California, Mexico)

Type locality: “5.5 miles west of San Ignacio (27 'N, 112 51'W) along Mexican Highway 1, Baja California Sur, Mexico, 500 feet elevation.”  
TypesHolotype: CAS 139472 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Coleonyx switaki differs from other Coleonyx in these characters: deep rostral depression; reduced transverse sub-digital lamellae; 48-70 scales around the non-regenerated tail; tip of ventral portion of tail tuberculate; diploid complement of 24 chromosomes consisting of a graded series of 22 metacentric and 2 acrocentric chromosomes with each 2 pairs conspicuously larger than those following when ranked by size; bright yellow breeding color in males; dorsal pattern a series of transverse spots arranged in bands, sometimes modified; 6-11 bands between nape of neck and caudal constriction;nuchal loop absent; derived adult color pattern present in juveniles; S-shaped isthmus of the thyroid gland [Grismer 1990].

Diagnosis (Anarbylus): The genus Anarbylus was defined by Murphy (1974) on the basis of three seemingly unique characters: (1) presence of a single enlarged postnasal scal (2) lack of transverse subdigital lamell and (3) a unique karyotype. Murphy (1974) stated that no other eublepharine gecko possessed a single enlarged postnasal scale. Fritts et al. (1982) demonstrated the variability of this character in both Baja California Sur and southern California populations of A. switaki, noting that either one or two postnasal scales may be present. I have also observed a single postnasal scale in C. reticulatus and C. brevis. Murphy (1974) distinguished Anarbylus from Aeluroscalabotes, Eublepharis and Coleonyx by its lack of tranverse subdigital lamellae. The lamellae, however are only slightly reduced in relation to those homologous rows in C. variegatus Murphy (1974) distinguished Anar and C. brevis and merely extend a trend of decreasing size found within the genus Coleonyx. Hence, Grismer 1983 synonymized Anarbylus with Coleonyx. 
CommentSynonymy: Grismer (1999) elevated gypsicolus to full species status based on scale counts: it has 42-48 eyelid fringe scales versus 32-40 in Coleonyx switaki switaki.

Variation: C. switaki is a highly variable species. See Grismer 2001 for a series of photos that show the many color patterns rnaging from spotted to banded. 
EtymologyNamed after Karl H. Switak, Supervising Herpetologist of the Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco, CA. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Fritts, T. H.;Snell, H. L.;Martin, R. L. 1982. Anarbylus switaki Murphy: an addition to the herpetofauna of the United States with comments on relationships with Coleonyx. Journal of Herpetology 16 (1): 39-52 - get paper here
  • Grismer L L 1990. Coleonyx switaki (Murphy). Barefoot banded gecko. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (464): 1-2 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. L., and J. R. Ottley. 1988. A preliminary analysis of geographic variation in Coleonyx switaki (Squamata: Eublepharidae) with a description of an insular subspecies. Herpetologica 44: 143—154 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. Lee 1983. A reevaluation of the North American gekkonid genus Anarbylus Murphy and its cladistic relationships to Coleonyx Gray. Herpetologica 39 (4): 394-399 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. Lee 2001. Geographic Variation of Color Pattern in Peninsular Populations of Coleonyx switaki (Squamata: Eublepharidae) from Baja California, Mexico and Southern California. Gekko 2 (1): 14-19
  • Grismer, L. Lee. 1999. An evolutionary classification of reptiles on islands in the Gulf of California, México. Herpetologica 55 (4): 446-469 - get paper here
  • Jones, L.L. & Lovich, R.E. 2009. Lizards of the American Southwest. A photographic field guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, AZ, 568 pp. [review in Reptilia 86: 84] - get paper here
  • MILLS, A. M., S. S. MURRAY, E. A. DUGAN, AND T. S. HENRY 2020. Geographic Distribution: Coleonyx switaki (Switak’s Banded Gecko). USA: California: Imperial Co. Herpetological Review. 51:76.
  • Murphy, R. W. 1974. A new genus and species of eublepharine gecko (Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Baja California, Mexico. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 40:87-92 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E.R. & Vitt, L.J. 2003. Lizards - Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley, 347 pp. [review in Copeia 2004: 955] - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • Seufer, H.; Y. Kaverkin & A. Kirschner (eds.) 2005. Die Lidgeckos. Kirschner und Seufer Verlag, 238 pp.
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
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