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Gekko pradapdao MEESOOK, SUMONTHA, DONBUNDIT & PAUWELS, 2021

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Starry Tokay Gecko
F: Gecko tokay étoilé
Thai: ตุ๊กแกประดับดาว (Took-kay pradap dao) 
SynonymGekko pradapdao MEESOOK, SUMONTHA, DONBUNDIT & PAUWELS 2021 
DistributionC Thailand (Lopburi Province)

Type locality: Tham (= Cave) Khao Chan (14°58’35.2”N, 101°18’11.2”E), Tha Luang District, Lopburi Province.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. CUMZ-R 2590 (field nr. MS 733), adult male caught on 20 October 2020 by W. Meesook, M. Sumontha and N. Donbundit.
Paratypes (3). AUP-02009 and PSUZC-R 738 (field nr. MS 735 and MS 736, respectively), adult males, and CUMZ-R 2591 (field nr. MS 734), adult female. Same locality, collecting date and collector as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Gekko pradapdao sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other congeneric species by the combination of its maximal known SVL of 127.1 mm, lack of contact between nostrils and rostral, 24–28 interorbital scales between supraciliaries, 89–91 scale rows around midbody, 16–18 dorsal tubercle rows at midbody, 30–34 ventral scale rows at midbody, 11–13 precloacal pores in males, a single postcloacal tubercle on each side of the base of the tail, 13–16 subdigital lamellae on 1st toe and 17–19 on 4th toe, no Y-shaped mark on head, non-banded dorsal pattern on a dark chocolate brown to black background, and a dark brown iris (Meesook et al. 2021).

Coloration in life. Dorsal surface of head, dorsum, and dorsal surfaces of members and tail uniformly dark chocolate brown, with very contrasting, white spots (covering one tubercle and sometimes also some adjacent small scales) not arranged in transverse rows. Background color of dorsal surfaces of fingers and toes brown but slightly lighter than dorsum background color, with some white tubercles. In the anterior half of the tail, white dorsal tubercles are more or less arranged in five regularly spaced transverse rows, followed in the second half of the tail by five transverse white bands, the last one near the tail tip. No nuchal collar. No Y-shaped mark on head. Iris dark brown. Infralabials chocolate brown. Throat whitish, with irregularly distributed yellowish scales. Venter and lower surfaces of members and tail whitish, with a few irregular chocolate brown spots, and a few yellowish scales. Palms gray. Finger and toe lamellae white (Meesook et al. 2021).

Variation. Main morphometric and meristic characters of the type series are provided in Table 1. Morphological characters of the paratypes agree in most respects with the holotype. The female lacks precloacal pores. All three paratypes have a partly regenerated tail; AUP-02009 even shows a bifurcated regenerated tail (Figure 4) (Meesook et al. 2021).

Comparison to other species. The subgenus Gekko currently includes seven species: G. (G.) albofasciolatus (Günther); G. (G.) gecko (represented by its nominal subspecies and by G. (G.) gecko azhari Mertens); G. (G.) nutaphandi Bauer, Sumontha & Pauwels; G. (G.) reevesii (Gray); G. (G.) siamensis Grossmann & Ulber; G. (G.) smithii Gray; and G. (G.) verreauxi Tytler. The main diagnostic characters of these species are compared in Table 2.
Gekko (G.) pradapdao sp. nov. differs from the Bornean G. (G.) albofasciolatus by its smaller SVL (127.1 vs. 165.1 mm), its much higher DTR number (16–18 vs. 10), its higher VentR (30–34 vs. 26), lower PrePo number (11–13 vs. 16), its dark brown (vs. green) iris and the absence (vs. presence) of a Y-shaped mark on the head. It can be differentiated from the Bangladeshi Gekko (G.) gecko azhari by its smaller SVL (127.1 vs. 155 mm), its higher InterCilS number (24–28 vs. 20–23), higher DTR number (16–18 vs. 15), lower number of postcloacal tubercles (one vs. 2 or 3), lower SubDLT1 (13–16 vs. 17 or 18), lower SubDLT4 (17–19 vs. 22–24), and the absence (vs. presence) of a Y-shaped mark on the head. It differs from the widespread Gekko (G.) gecko gecko by its smaller SVL (127.1 vs. 161 mm), higher DTR number (16–18 vs. 11–13), different iris color (dark brown vs. pale golden, copper, or brown to olive), absence (vs. usual presence) of a Y-shaped mark on head, and a distinct dorsum background color (dark chocolate brown vs. ultramarine gray to bluish- or brownish-gray). It can be separated from the western Thai Gekko (G.) nutaphandi by its much lower MSR (89–91 vs. 115 or 116), its higher DTR number (16–18 vs. 14), lower PrePo number (11–13 vs. 17–22), higher SubDLT1 (13–16 vs. 12), and higher SubDLT4 (17–19 vs. 15), dark brown (vs. brick red) iris, and dark chocolate brown (vs. grayish brown to chestnut brown) dorsum background color; moreover in Gekko (G.) nutaphandi the white dorsal tubercles are arranged in transverse rows, while they are irregularly distributed in Gekko (G.) pradapdao sp. nov. The new species can be differentiated from the Sino-Vietnamese Gekko (G.) reevesii by its much smaller SVL (127.1 vs. 173 mm), its dark brown (vs. pale golden) iris, absence (vs. presence) of a Y-shaped mark on the head, and its dark chocolate brown dorsum (vs. grayish-brown to grayish-green) with irregularly arranged white tubercles (vs. disposed in transverse rows). From the central Thai Gekko (G.) siamensis it can be distinguished by its generally lower SL number (12–14 vs. 13–21), much lower MSR (89–91 vs. 121–132), its single postcloacal tubercle (vs. two), dark brown (vs. green) iris, and its dark chocolate brown (vs. gray-brown to dark green) dorsum background color with irregularly arranged white tubercles (vs. disposed in transverse rows). It can be differentiated from Gekko (G.) smithii by its much smaller SVL (127.1 vs. 191 mm), lower InterCilS number (24–28 vs. 31–43), higher DTR number (16–18 vs. 8–13), dark brown (vs. green) iris, absence (vs. presence) of a Y-shaped mark on head, and by its dark chocolate brown (vs. yellow-green to dark green) dorsum background color with irregularly arranged white tubercles (vs. disposed in transverse rows). It can be separated from Gekko (G.) verreauxi, endemic to the Andaman Islands, by its smaller SVL (127.1 vs. 155 mm), the contact between its nostril and rostral (vs. no contact), much higher DTR number (16–18 vs. 11), smaller SubDLT4 (17–19 vs. 20–22), dark brown (vs. green) iris, and its dark chocolate brown (vs. gray-brown) dorsum background color (Meesook et al. 2021). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a name in apposition, invariable, based on the combination of the Thai words “pradap” (decorated) and “dao” (star). The starry effect is due to the fact that, unlike in other members of the Gecko subgenus such as G. (G.) siamensis or G. (G.) smithii, the white dorsal tubercles are not aligned in transverse rows, but irregularly distributed. It is reinforced by the contrast between the white tubercles and the unusually dark background color of the new species. 
References
  • MEESOOK, WORAWITOO; MONTRI SUMONTHA, NATTASUDA DONBUNDIT, OLIVIER S. G. PAUWELS 2021. A new cave-dwelling Gekko (Gekko) from Lopburi Province, central Thailand (Squamata, Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 4969: 318–330 - get paper here
 
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