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Gonatodes alexandermendesi COLE & KOK, 2006

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymGonatodes alexandermendesi COLE & KOK 2006 
DistributionGuyana (drainage system of the Konawaruk River, Kaieteur National Park, on the Potaro River), Venezuela

Type locality: Magdalen’s Creek Camp, near (ca. 275 m north) the northwest bank of the Konawaruk River (ca. 40 km [linear] WSW Mabura Hill), 120 m elevation, 5°13’07’’N, 59°02’43’’W, in WGS 84. The Konawaruk River flows into the western side of the Essequibo River to the south of the Potaro River confluence.  
TypesHolotype: AMNH 151805, an adult male collected on 8–9 March 1998 by C.J.C., Carol R. Townsend, Deokie (Jackie) Arjoon, Gerald King, and Wesley King. 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: This species differs from all known species of Gonatodes by the following combination of characters: very elongate spine on supraciliary flap over eye; 4 lateral rows of scales distally on fingers and toes; beneath tail a row of enlarged hexagonal midventral subcaudal scales distinctly wider than adjacent scales; with or without a few tiny, inconspicuous clusters (about 4 granules) of pale scales on neck and/or body, sometimes containing somewhat enlarged granules; scales on dorsal base of tail suddenly becoming flat, smooth, rounded, imbricate (rather than conical). According to Rivero-Blanco (1979), only one species, Gonatodes hasemani, among the 18 currently recognized species of Gonatodes (Kluge, 1993; Esqueda, 2004), has a very elongate spine on the supraciliary flap over the eye, which is also found in all specimens of G. alexandermendesi (fig. 2). In addition, until now, only G. hasemani was known to have elongate granules in small white patches on the body and base of the tail, as seen, but much less extensively developed, in some specimens (not all) of G. alexandermendesi. In some G. alexandermendesi there are inconspicuous spots with somewhat enlarged granules; other specimens have inconspicuous tiny pale spots without enlarged granules; and others have neither pale spots nor enlarged granules. However, G. hasemani also has the following characters that distinguish it from G. alexandermendesi: midventral subcaudals that are neither widened nor significantly different from adjacent scales; usually 3 lateral rows of scales distally on fingers and toes; and usually 4 scales at the end of the toe surrounding the claw. Also, among the 18 previously recognized species of Gonatodes, only one, Gonatodes annularis, often has 4 lateral rows of scales distally on fingers and toes, as in G. alexandermendesi. However, G. annularis lacks the elongate spine on the supraciliary flap found in alexandermendesi and has significantly different subcaudal scutellation. In annularis, moderately enlarged midventral subcaudals tend to have ‘‘a repetitive sequence of two single midventrals (one after the other) ... followed by a divided midventral’’ (Avila- Pires, 1995: 258, 262, fig. 84). Finally, 12 species of Gonatodes have a row of significantly widened, hexagonal, midventral subcaudal scales, as found in G. alexandermendesi: G. albogularis (certain populations), G. atricucullaris, G. caudiscutatus, G. ceciliae, G. concinnatus, G. falconensis, G. humeralis, G. ocellatus, G. petersi, G. purpurogularis, G. taniae, and G. vittatus. However, none of these species has the elongate spine found on the supraciliary flap of G. alexandermendesi, and all 12 of them have usually 2 or 3 lateral rows of scales distally on the fingers and toes, not 4 as in G. alexandermendesi.
CommentBehavior: mainly diurnal 
EtymologyNamed after Mr. Alexander Mendes, a third-generation Guyanese from the capital city, Georgetown, who also manages Dubulay Ranch on the Berbice River. Mr. Mendes is an important member of the business community of Guyana and,among other things, an active conservationist, explorer, and adventurer, who is keenly interested in ethical and responsible nationbuilding. For the last five field trips of C.J.C. and Carol R. Townsend to Guyana, Mr. Mendes provided invaluable advice, logistical support, and security, with consistent reliability, while being ever anxious himself to learn about new discoveries. 
  • Barrio-Amorós, C.L. 2010. GONATODES - Los Geckos diurnos de Venezuela. RioVerde 2010; 43-50
  • Cole, C.J. & Kok, P.J. 2006. New Species of Gekkonid Lizard (Sphaerodactylinae: Gonatodes) from Guyana, South America. American Museum Novitates (3524): 1-16 - 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
  • Hluschi, D. 2009. Gonatodes - die unbekannten Juwelen der Neotropis. Reptilia (Münster) 14 (78): 16-23 - get paper here
  • Rivas, G.A. & Schargel, W.E. 2008. Gecko on the rocks: an enigmatic new species of Gonatodes (Sphaerodactylidae) from Inselbergs of the Venezuelan Guayana. Zootaxa 1925: 39–50 - 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
  • ROJAS-RUNJAIC, FERNANDO J. M.; EDWIN E. INFANTE-RIVERO, PEDRO CABELLO & PABLO VELOZO 2010. A new non-sexually dichromatic species of the genus Gonatodes (Sauria: Sphaerodactylidae) from Sierra de Perijá, Venezuela. Zootaxa 2671: 1–16 - get paper here
  • SCHARGEL, WALTER E.; GILSON A.RIVAS,ROBERT MAKOWSKY,J.CELSA SEÑARIS,MARCO A. NATERA, TITO R. BARROS, CÉSAR R. MOLINA & CÉSAR L. BARRIO-AMORÓS 2010. Phylogenetic systematics of the genus Gonatodes (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae) in the Guayana region, with description of a new species from Venezuela. Systematics and Biodiversity 8 (3): 321–339 - get paper here
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