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Hemidactylus beninensis BAUER, TCHIBOZO, PAUWELS & LENGLET, 2006

IUCN Red List - Hemidactylus beninensis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common Names 
SynonymHemidactylus beninensis BAUER, TCHIBOZO, PAUWELS & LENGLET 2006 
DistributionBenin, probably adjacent Nigeria

Type locality: Bénin, Département des Collines, Collines de Dassa-Zoumè, (07°45’N, 02°10’E).  
TypesHolotype: IRSNB 2617, adult male (Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique); collected by Sévérin Tchibozo, 13 June 2005. Paratype. IRSNB 2618, subadult male; same data as holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderate-sized Hemidactylus, snout-vent length at least 68 mm. One pair of greatly enlarged postmentals, in contact behind mental. 14–16 rows of relatively small tubercles. 49 scale rows across venter between lowest rows of tubercles. Six to seven enlarged paired scansors beneath fourth toes of both manus and pes. A single row of 38 precloacal-femoral pores in adult males. Original tail atuberculate, with median subcaudal scales forming broad transverse plates. Dorsal pattern with a series of four complete, dark crossmarkings between nape and sacrum, alternating with incomplete transverse bands extending dorsally form the flanks but failing to meet along the dorsal midline. Hemidactylus beninensis may be distinguished from all other mainland West African congeners on the basis of (sympatric taxa with differing or non-overlapping character states indicated parenthetically): 14–16 rows of dorsal tubercles (0 rows in H. matschiei, 0–4 rows in H. richardsonii, 8–10 in H. ansorgii, 18–24 rows in H. fasciatus, 18–20 rows in H. n. sp. from Cameroon), precloacal-femoral pores in male in single row of 38 (fewer than 12 in H. echinus, H. muriceus, and H. ansorgii, 14–17 in H. pseudomuriceus, 45 in H. n. sp. from Cameroon), median subcaudal scale row greatly enlarged transversely (not enlarged or hexagonally enlarged in H. echinus, H. kamdemtohami, H. pseudomuriceus, H. muriceus, and H. ansorgii). Both H. angularis and H. mabouia share overlapping precloacal-femoral pore counts and transversely enlarged subcaudal scales with H. beninensis; however, both species have conspicuous tubercles on the dorsum of the tail, whereas that in H. beninensis. The new species is most similar in general appearance to a newly described species of Hemidactylus from Cameroon (Bauer et al., in press), with which it shares a mostly smooth dorsal tail surface (atuberculate in H. beninensis, very weakly tuberculate in H. n. sp.), transversely enlarged subcaudal scales, and a similar dorsal color pattern. However, these taxa differ with respect to (H. beninensis versus H. n. sp.): size (68 versus 100 mm SVL), scansors beneath the fourth toe (6–7 versus 10–11), precloacal-femoral pores (38 versus 45 in the respective holotypes), and rows of dorsal tubercles (14–16 versus 18–20). 
CommentThe species inhabits primary forest near Raphia swamps.

Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyNamed after its distribution. 
  • BAUER,A.M.; S. TCHIBOZO, O.S.G. PAUWELS & G. LENGLET 2006. A review of the gekkotan lizards of Bénin, with the description of a new species of Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 1242: 1-20 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Rösler, Herbert 2015. Bemerkungen über einige Geckos der Zoologischen Staatssammlung München. Gekkota, Suppl. (2): 3-54
  • Trape, J.F.; Trape, S. & Chirio, L. 2012. Lézards, crocodiles et tortues d'Afrique occidentale et du Sahara. IRD Orstom, 503 pp. - get paper here
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