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Hemidactylus alfarraji ŠMÍD, SHOBRAK, WILMS, JOGER & CARRANZA, 2016

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymHemidactylus alfarraji ŠMÍD, SHOBRAK, WILMS, JOGER & CARRANZA 2016
Hemidactylus yerburii — ARNOLD 1980
Hemidactylus yerburii — ARNOLD 1986
Hemidactylus yerburii — CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2006
Hemidactylus yerburii — MORAVEC et al. 2011
Hemidactylus yerburii — CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2012 
DistributionSaudi Arabia (Najran Province)

Type locality: Saudi Arabia, Najran Province, 32 km W of Najran (17.529° N, 43.827° E), 1969 m elevation  
TypesHolotype: NMP P6V 75269 (sample code HSA35, Fig. 5), adult male, May 24, 2012, collect- ed by S. Carranza, M. Shobrak, and T. Wilms, MorphoBank M390464–M390480.
Paratypes. NMP P6V 75270 (sample code HSA36, MorphoBank M390450–M390463), IBES 10303 (HSA43, MorphoBank M390355–M390366), adult females; IBES 10266 (HSA37, MorphoBank M390434–M390449), IBES 10295 (HSA41, MorphoBank M390379–M390392), adult males; all paratypes have the same collection data as the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of the Arabian radiation of the Arid clade of Hemidactylus characterized by (1) medium size with a maximum recorded SVL 57.8 mm (48.7–57.8 in males, 45.4–52.6 in females); (2) long, wide, and robust head clearly distinct from the neck, particularly in males (HL = 24–29 % of SVL; HW=10.3±,9.1±0.9mmin females); (3) uppermost nasals always separated by a small median scale; (4) large anterior postmentals in wide mutual contact and in contact with the first and second infralabial; (5) 7–9 infralabials and 8–11 supralabials; (6) dorsum with 14–16 longitudinal rows of enlarged, strongly keeled, conical tubercles; (7) males with invariably 4 preanal pores; (8) 7–8 lamellae under the first toe and 10–12 lamellae under the fourth toe; (9) enlarged tile-like subcaudals; and (10) brownish-beige coloration with distinct dark bands starting behind nostrils and crossing the eyes to the ear openings, dorsum with slightly visible X-shaped dark markings (most distinct in juveniles) formed by dark tubercles, and intact tail with 10–11 intensely dark bands on a beige background, becoming paler towards the tail tip so the dark bands are most contrasting at the end of the tail.

Differential diagnosis. Hemidactylus alfarraji sp. n. is not significantly different in body size and head shape from its closest relatives, H. granosus and the new species endemic to the Asir Mountains described below, although it is seemingly the biggest of the three species (Fig. 4). It is significantly distinct from these species by the following characters: the number of infralabials in H. alfarraji sp. n. (8.5 ± 0.5, range 7–9) is higher than in H. granosus (7.4 ± 0.4, 7–8) and the new species endemic to the Asir Mountains (7.7 ± 0.5, 7–9) (one-way ANOVA F(2, 47) = 17.849, p < 0.001). The number of supralabials is also higher in H. alfarraji sp. n. (10.2 ± 0.6, 9–11) than in H. granosus (9.3 ± 0.5, 9–11) and the new species endemic to the Asir Mountains (9.4 ± 0.7, 7–11) (one-way ANOVA F(2, 47) = 6.467, p < 0.01). Hemidactylus alfarraji sp. n. has a lower number of preanal pores in males (invariably four) than H. granosus (5.7 ± 0.8, 4–7) and the new species endemic to the Asir Mountains have (invariably six) (one-way ANOVA F(2, 17) = 24.663, p < 0.001). From the new species endemic to the Asir Mountains, it further differs in having distinctly keeled dorsal tubercles and a higher number of subdigital lamellae under the first toe (7.1 ± 0.3, 7–8 in H. alfarraji sp. n. vs. 6.2 ± 0.4, 5–7 in the latter; t test t = 6.247, p < 0.001; Fig. 5). Although the above described significant differences between the species support their species status, the high overlap of scale counts indicates that these characters are of limited use in species identification. Comparison of metric and meristic variables with the other SW Arabian Hemidactylus is given in ŠMÍD et al. 2016 (Table S4). 
CommentDistribution: see map in ŠMÍD et al. 2016: Fig. 3. 
EtymologyThe species epithet “alfarraji” is a genitive Latin noun to honor Dr. Saud Al Farraj for his life-long dedication and contribution to the herpetology of Saudi Arabia, raising public awareness of biodiversity protection and contribution to education at all school levels. 
  • Arnold E N 1986. A key and annotated checklist to the lizards and amphisbaenians of Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 8: 385-435
  • Arnold, E. N. 1980. The reptiles and amphibians of Dhofar, southern Arabia. Journal of Oman Studies, Special Report, 2: 273–332
  • Carranza, S. and E.N. Arnold 2006. Systematics, biogeography, and evolution of Hemidactylus geckos (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) elucidated using mitochondrial DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38 (2): 531-545 - get paper here
  • Carranza, S., Arnold, E. Nicholas 2012. A review of the geckos of the genus Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Oman based on morphology, mitochondrial and nuclear data, with descriptions of eight new species. Zootaxa 3378: 1–95 - get paper here
  • MORAVEC, JIŘÍ; LUKÁŠ KRATOCHVÍL, ZUAIR S. AMR, DAVID JANDZIK, JIŘÍ ŠMÍD, & VÁCLAV GVOŽDÍK 2011. High genetic differentiation within the Hemidactylus turcicus complex (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) in the Levant, with comments on the phylogeny and systematics of the genus. Zootaxa 2894: 21–38
  • Šmíd, Jiří; Mohammed Shobrak; Thomas Wilms; Ulrich Joger & Salvador Carranza 2016. Endemic diversification in the mountains: genetic, morphological, and geographical differentiation of the Hemidactylus geckos in southwestern Arabia. Org Divers Evol, DOI 10.1007/s13127-016-0293-3 - get paper here
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