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Gehyra australis GRAY, 1845

IUCN Red List - Gehyra australis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Western Top End Gehyra, Top-end Dtella, Northern Dtella, House Gecko
G: Australischer Hausgecko 
SynonymPhyria punctulata GRAY 1842
Gehyra australis GRAY 1845 (part)
Platydactylus australis — DUMÉRIL 1856
Hemidactylus australis — SCHMELTZ 1874
Gehyra grayi — GÜNTHER 1875
Gehyra australis — BOULENGER 1885: 152
Phyria punctulata — BOULENGER 1885: 228
Gehyra variegata — LUCAS & FROST 1894: 32
Peropus variegatus — ZIETZ 1920
Peropus variegatus australis — LOVERIDGE 1934
Phyriadoria australis — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985
Gehyra australis — KLUGE 1993
Gehyra australis — COGGER 2000: 236
Gehyra australis — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Gehyra australis — OLIVER et al. 2019 
DistributionAustralia (N Northern Territory)

Type locality: Port Essington, NT  
TypesLectotype: BMNH xxii 55b. Designated by Cogger in Cogger et al. (1983). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large Gehyra species (up to 68.1 mm SVL), differing from all other Gehyra species outside of the G. australis complex as per the diagnosis above. Differs from other members of the G. australis complex in the combination of: moderate size within complex (adult SVL up to 68.1 mm, mean 62.7 mm); pre-cloacal pores in males not numerous (11–14), mostly equal in size, not extending onto limbs and not distinctly tapering in size distally; suture between first and second chin shields usually straight; second chin shields approximately two thirds length of first chin shields (mean ratio 0.63, range 0.58–0.70); and base colouration of adults smoky grey to brown, often with faint but extensive pattern of indistinct darker grey or brown vermiculations across the head, body and tail. Further diagnosed from other species within the G. australis complex genetically by three unique amino acids in the ND2 locus (Table 1). Gehyra australis may occur in close geographic proximity to two other members of the G. australis group; G. lapistola sp. nov. and G. pamela. G. australis differs from G. lapistola sp. nov. by its smaller size (mean and maximum adult SVL, respectively: 62.7 mm and 68.1 mm vs. 74.2 mm and 79.5 mm) and also tending to have more extensive dorsal patterning of vermiculations and flecking (vs. plain grey or brown with no or very little pattern); and from G. pamela in lacking prominent pale spots and ocelli (vs. present), having a rounded snout tip in dorsal aspect (vs. squarish), and in having smaller chin shields (extending to approximately level with posterior edge of second infralabial vs. approximately level with posterior edge of third infralabial) (see King (1982) for images), and in having a lower number of pre-cloacal pores in adult males (11–14 vs. 18–24). Within the G. australis complex, G. australis occurs in contact or in potential sympatry with G arnhemica sp. nov. and G. gemina sp. nov. G. australis differs from G. arnhemica sp. nov. in having a lower number of pre-cloacal pores in males (10–14 vs. 21–26), and also in tending to have less distinct and extensive dorsal patterning in life (faint barring vs a clear network of vermiculations). G. australis differs from G. gemina sp. nov. in having posterior edge of first infralabial generally ∼50% or greater the length of second supralabial (vs. ∼60% or less) and outer edge of first pair of chin shields in contact with second pair usually strait (vs. usually convex). It differs from G. lauta sp. nov. in its smaller size (mean and maximum adult SVL, respectively: 62.7 mm and 68.1 mm vs. 71.4 mm and 83.1 mm), second chin shields usually less than three-quarters length of first chin shields (mean and range ratios 0.63 (0.58–0.70) vs. 0.77 (0.70–0.88)), and fewer pre-cloacal pores (10–14 vs. 22–32) generally not extending onto limbs. Based on the morphological characters we have examined, G. australis is most similar morphologically to G. arnhemica sp. nov. (particularly weakly patterned females), G. gemina sp. nov. (both sexes) and G. chimera sp. nov. (both sexes) of the G. koira complex. The relatively disjunct distributions (particularly G. chimera sp. nov.) permit identification in most cases when accurate locality data is available. Along the southern edge and central portions of the Top End region where some of these species may occur in sympatry, genetic data may be required to confidently identify specimens to species (see Table 1 for diagnostic amino acids) (Oliver et al. 2020: 22). 
CommentSynonymy: Due to the absence of a type specimen, it is not possible to definitively allocate Phyria punctulata to any known species. On the basis of the type locality (Port Essington), the name has been placed in the synonymy of G. australis (Bauer 1994).

Distribution: populations from outside the Northern Territory were assigned to other species by Oliver et al. 2020. See map in Oliver et al. 2020: 9 (Fig. 2).

Type species: Gehyra australis GRAY 1845 is the type species of the genus Phyriadoria WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985. 
  • Bauer, A.M. 1994. Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien: Gekkonidae I (Australia). Das Tierreich, Vol. 108, W. de Gruyter & Co. (Berlin)
  • 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
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Doody, J. Sean, Ryan Ellis and David Rhind. 2015. Gehyra australis (tree dtella) and Gehyra pilbara (Pilbara dtella) environmentally cued hatching. Herpetological Review 46 (2): 257-258 - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Gray, J. E. 1842. Description of some hitherto unrecorded species of Australian reptiles and batrachians. Zoological Miscellany 2: 51—57 (London: Treuttel, Würtz & Co) - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Horner, P. 2005. Gehyra koira sp. nov. (Reptilia: Gekkonidae), a new species of lizard with two allopatric subspecies from the Ord-Victoria region of north-western Australia and a key to the Gehyra australis species complex. The Beagle 21: 165-174
  • King M 1984. The Gehyra australis species complex (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 4 (2-4) 1983: 147-169 - get paper here
  • Lucas, A. H. S. & Frost, C. 1894. The lizards indigenous to Victoria. Proc. R. Soc. Vict. (ns) 6: 24-92 - get paper here
  • Maryan, B. 2009. NATIVE GECKO INTRODUCTIONS. Herpetofauna 39 (2): 94-95
  • Mitchell, F. J. 1965. Australian geckos assigned to the genus Gehyra Gray (Reptilia, Gekkonidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 46: 287—319
  • Oliver PM, Prasetya AM, Tedeschi LG, Fenker J, Ellis RJ, Doughty P, Moritz C. 2020. Crypsis and convergence: integrative taxonomic revision of the Gehyra australis group (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from northern Australia. PeerJ 8:e7971 - get paper here
  • Oliver, P. M., Ashman, L. G., Bank, S., Laver, R. J., Pratt, R. C., Tedeschi, L. G., & Moritz, C. C. 2019. On and off the rocks: persistence and ecological diversification in a tropical Australian lizard radiation. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19(1), 81 - get paper here
  • Rösler, Herbert 2017. Gecko-Chorologie (Squamata: Gekkota). Gekkota (4): 1-160
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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