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Goggia essexi (HEWITT, 1925)

IUCN Red List - Goggia essexi - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Essex’s Dwarf Leaf-toed Gecko 
SynonymPhyllodactylus essexi HEWITT 1925: 343
Phyllodactylus lineatus essexi — HEWITT 1937
Phyllodactylus lineatus essexi — LOVERIDGE 1947
Phyllodactylus lineatus essexi — WERMUTH 1965: 139
Phyllodactylus lineatus essexi — KLUGE 1993
Phyllodactylus essexi — BRANCH et al. 1995
Goggia essexi — BAUER et al. 1997
Goggia essexi — RÖSLER 2000: 83
Goggia essexi — BATES et al. 2014: 109 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Suurberg/Hounslow near Grahamstown)

Type locality: Hounslow, near Grahamstown, Cape Province.  
TypesLectotype: PEM R11157 (designated by BRANCH et al. 1995); Syntype: UMMZ 61515 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Distinguished from other members of the P. lineatus complex by a combination of the following features: Usually four preanal pores in males, a medium number of midbody scale rows (78-84), 9-12 scales between the nostril and anterior margin of the orbit, (only 0-2 nasorostrals, and a dorso-ventrally flattened head and body. In addition, it differs by 5-8 fixed alleles from the other taxa examined electrophoretically (Branch et al. 1995).

Description: Head dorso-ventrally flattened (depth 1.95 times width; range 1.53-2.46); snout rounded, and at least 1.5 times the eye diameter; ear opening small, obliquely rounded, and without enlarged lobules or a tympanic shield; rostral subpentagonal with a median cleft above; nostril pierced between rostral, 1st supralabial and three nasals, the largest bordering the rostral; usually I (33.3%) or 2 (41.7%) nasorostral grannles, rarely 0 (12.5%) or 3 (12.5%); supralabials usually 7 (66.6%), often 8 (27.8%), rarely 9 (5.6%); infralabials usually 7 (77.8%), sometimes 6 (22.2%); mental subpentagular bordered by 2-3 (average 2.14) chinshields that are larger than adjacent granules; 5-9 (average 6.45) granules bordering chinshields. Body short (maximum snout-vent length 28.4 mm) and dorsoventrally flattened, covered dorsally with uniform, smooth, flattened, subimbricate granules; belly covered in smooth, hexagonal, imbricate scales that are much larger than on back. Limbs moderate and covered in uniform, flattened, subimbricate granules; digits flattened basally, with three rows of subdigital granules, the median series slightly broader; toe tips rounded, only slightly expanded and bearing a pair of large, subrectangular scansors that enclose a small claw. An angular series of 4 (100%, n = 7) preanal pores present only in males; two to three enlarged tubercular scales on either side of tail base near vent, that are larger in males. Original tail cylindrical, tapering, and subequal to (max. 0.912 times) snout-vent length; covered above with regular rows of uniform, smooth granules, that are much larger, flattened and imbricate on ventral surface (Branch et al. 1995: 39, Figure 1A).

Colour: (PEM R7236, Farm Hounslow, Grahamstown District). Above grey-brown with irregular series of 5-6 pale spots, emargined anteriorly in dark brown (in some specimens the dark edges fuse to form an irregular series of 8-10 scalloped bars); back of head, temporal region and upper surfaces of limbs pale brown with dark reticulation; a vague dark band extends from middle of eye on to the snout; original tail with irregular bars formed from the fused, dark anterior margins of paired vertebral pale spots; lower surfaces of throat, belly, limbs and tail, dirty cream. The pattern in some specimens (eg. PEM R 11711, Pluto's Vale, Albany District) is obscured by heavy stippling, that extends on to the ventrum (Branch et al. 1995). 
EtymologyNamed after Robert Essex who worked as a collector at the Albany Museum when Hewitt was Director there. Essex also described two new Acontias. 
  • 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.
  • Bauer A M. Good D A. Branch W R. 1997. The taxonomy of the Southern African leaf-toed geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with a review of Old World "Phyllodactylus" and the description of five new genera. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 49 (14): 447-497. - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Branch, W. R., A. M. BAUER & D. A. GOOD 1995. Species limits in the Phyllodactylus lineatus complex (Reptilia: Gekkonidae), with the elevation of two taxa to specific status and the description of two new species. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 44 (2): 33-54. - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - get paper here
  • Essex, R. 1925. Descriptions of two new species of the genus Acontias and notes on some other lizards found in the Cape Province. Rec. Albany Mus. 3: 332-342.
  • Hewitt, J. 1925. On some new species of Reptiles and Amphibians from South Africa. Rec. Albany Mus. (Grahamstown) 3: 343-370
  • Hewitt, J. 1937. A guide to the vertebrate fauna of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, Part II: reptile, amphibians, and freshwater fishes. Grahamstown, vii + 141 pp.
  • Kluge A G 1993. Gekkonoid Lizard Taxonomy. International Gecko Society, San Diego, 245 pp.
  • Loveridge, A. 1947. Revision of the African lizards of the family Gekkondiae. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 98: 1-469 - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
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