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Hemidactylus mabouia (MOREAU DE JONNÈS, 1818)

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: House gecko, Moreau’s Tropical House Gecko, Wood slave gecko
G: Hausgecko
S: Tuqueque, tuteca, largarrabo, salamanquesa
Portuguese: Briba, Briba-da-Casa, Briba-de-Casa, Camaleão, Crocodilinho-de-Parede, Geco-das-Casas, Jacaré-de-Parede, Labigó, Lagartixa, Lagartixa-Africana, Lagartixa-das-Paredes, Lagartixa-de-Casa, Lagartixa-de-Cobreiro, Lagartixa-de-Parede, Lagartixa-Doméstica, Lagartixa-Doméstica-Tropical, Osga, Sardão, Taruíra, Víbora 
SynonymGekko mabouia MOREAU DE JONNÈS 1818: 138
Gekko incanescens WIED 1824: 101
Gecko tuberculosus RADDI 1823 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947),
Gekko armatus WIED 1824 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Gecko aculeatus SPIX 1825: 16
Gecko cruciger SPIX 1825
Gekko incanescens WIED 1825 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Hemidactylus tuberculosus FITZINGER 1826: 105
Gecko mabuia CUVIER 1829: 54 (nomen substitutum pro Gecko mabouia)
Hemidactylus mabouia — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 362
Hemidactylus mercatorius GRAY 1842: 58 (fide BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991)
Hemidactylus (Tachybates) mabuya FITZINGER 1843: 105
Hemidactylus (Tachybates) armatus FITZINGER 1843: 105
Hemidactylus mabuya — BIANCONI 1850: 192
Hemidactylus mabuja [sic] — BIANCONI 1850: 198
Hemidactylus platycephalus PETERS 1854: 615 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Hemidactylus mabouia — GUICHENOT 1855:12
?Hemidactylus sakalava GRANDIDIER 1867: 233 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Hemidactylus exaspis COPE 1868
Hemidactylus frenatus var. calabaricus BOETTGER 1878 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Hemidactylus mabouia — BOULENGER 1885: 122
Hemidactylus benguellensis BOCAGE 1893: 115 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Hemidactylus gardineri BOULENGER 1909: 296 (fide BROADLEY & HOWELL)
Hemidactylus persimilis BARBOUR & LOVERIDGE 1928 (fide BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991)
Hemidactylus tasmani HEWITT 1932: 120 (syn. fide LOVERIDGE 1947)
Hemidactylus mandanus LOVERIDGE 1936: 167 (fide BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991)
Hemidactylus benguellensis — MONARD 1937: 52
Hemidactylus mabovia — BERTHOLD 1946
Hemidactylus mabouia mabouia — AUERBACH 1987: 82
Hemidactylus mabouia — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 414
Hemidactylus mabouia — CEI 1993
Hemidactylus mabouia — LINER 1994
Hemidactylus mabouia — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 278
Hemidactylus mabouia — PAUWELS et al. 2004
Hemidactylus mabouya — UETANABARO et al. 2007 (in error)
Hemidactylus mabouia — JACOBSEN et al. 2010
Hemidactylus mabouia — WILSON 2011
Hemidactylus mabouia — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 90
Hemidactylus benguellensis — MARQUES et al. 2018
Hemidactylus mabouia — MARQUES ET AL. 2018
Hemidactylus benguellensis — BRANCH et al. 2019
Hemidactylus benguellensis — BUTLER et al. 2019
Hemidactylus benguellensis — BAPTISTA et al. 2019 
DistributionAfrica: Mali, Senegal, Central African Republic, W/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Guinea (Conakry), Republic of South Africa (Eastern Cape etc.), Zimbabwe (Driefontein, Mission/Zimba), Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Gabon (BOULENGER 1900), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Cameroon, Swaziland, Mozambique, Sao Tome, Principé (Gulf of Guinea), Chad (L. Chirio/MNHN), Namibia, Angola, Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Equatorial Guinea

Seychelles, Nossi Be = Nosy Bé, Nosy Fanihy, Nosy Mitsio, Nosy Sakatia, Nosy Tanikely,

Central America: Mexico, Honduras (Colón: introduced [HR 31: 113], Veracruz), Costa Rica, Panama,

Caribbean: Antilles, Trinidad, Tobago, Puerto Rico (Isabela, Isla Cueva [HR 30: 110]), Mona, Vieques, Culebra, Virgin Islands, Grand Cayman (HR 33: 148), Martinique, Cuba, Caicos Islands (e.g. Big Ambergris Cay), Jamaica, Great Inagua; Bermuda Islands

South America: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru (Pasco etc.), Bolivia (Beni, Pando, Santa Cruz), Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Bahia, Goias, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Ceará, Mato Grosso, Sergipe, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas, Rondônia, Pernambuco, Piauí, Paraíba), French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, introduced to Venezuela (Nueva Esparta: Isla Margarita, Isla Patos, Caracas, Vargas, La Vela), Paraguay, Argentina (Misiones, Chaco [HR 31: 53], Tucumán), Uruguay

USA (introduced to Florida)

Introduced to Madeira Island (Portugal).

Type locality: restricted to “Insel St. Vincent, Kleine Antillen” (STEJNEGER 1904, SMITH & TAYLOR 1950).

aculeatus: “Habitat in domiciliis prope urbem Rio de Janeiro” [Brazil, near Rio de Janeiro] according to the original description and Vanzolini (1981).  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 6573
Holotype: MCZ; Paratypes: DNMNH (= TM) 13286 [persimilis]
Lectotype: ZSM 166/0/1 (ZSMH 166/0 A in Hoogmoed & Gruber 1983), male, collected by Spix and Martius expedition to Brazil, 1817-1820, designated by Hoogmoed & Gruber (1983); Paralectotype: ZSM 166/0/2 (ZSMH 166/0 b in Hoogmoed & Gruber 1983), male, same data as lectotype [aculeatus]
Lectotype: SMF 8476 [calabaricus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): The species of Hemidactylus share a unique combination of derived features in toe morphology. These include the unusual form and interrelationships of the antepenultimate phalanx of digits III–V of the pes (Russell, 1977), the distal extent of the dorsal interossei muscles along the digit, and the means of tendinous insertion of these muscles onto the scansors (Bauer and Russell, 1995; Russell, 1976, 1977). These features also occur in the monotypic South American Briba, in southeast Asian Cosymbotus, and in the two Indian species of Teratolepis (Bauer and Russell, 1995). Toe structure strongly suggests that all these geckos form a clade (Bauer and Russell, 1995) [from CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2006].

Diagnosis. A medium sized Hemidactylus, maximum snout-vent length 67.4 mm (Figs. 19–20). Dorsal pholidosis heterogeneous, with 12–19 irregularly arranged longitudinal rows of subtrihedral, striated, moderately keeled tubercles. Two well-developed pairs of postmentals, the inner pair much longer than the outer pair, slightly longer than the mental, and in broad contact behind the mental. ventrolateral folds distinct, about 34–37 scale rows across venter. Four to six divided scansors beneath first digit of both manus and pes, seven to nine beneath fourth digit of manus, six to eight beneath the fourth digit of pes. Males with a discontinuous series of 28– 39 cloacal pores. Original tail depressed, slightly spinose; scales on the tail slightly larger than dorsals of body, striated, imbricate, with a longitudinal series of conical, obtusely keeled tubercles; median series of subcaudal scales transversely enlarged. Dorsum greyish, light brown, or brown, uniform or spotted with darker bands; back with wavy crossbars, sometimes not visible, from occiput to sacrum, sometimes; tail with distinct alternating light and dark bands (CERIACO et al. 2020: 44). An older diagnosis is provided by Kluge 1969: 29.

Comparison with West and Central African congeners. Hemidactylus mabouia is readily distinguished from H. kamdemtohami and H. richardsonii by the lack of basal digital webbing, and from H. matschiei by having spiny tubercles on the dorsum. It is easily distinguished from all other remaining regional members of the African-Atlantic clade, except H. pseudomuriceus, by having enlarged subcaudal scales, covering almost all of the entire tail base. It can be distinguished from H. pseudomuriceus by its higher number of precloacal-femoral pores (28–39 versus 14–17). See new species accounts for comparisons with these taxa (CERIACO et al. 2020: 46).

This species shares with H. angulatus broad transverse subcaudal plates and largely overlapping ranges of precloacal pores and tubercle rows.  
CommentSynonyms after CEI 1993 and A. Schmitz (pers. comm.). Chromosomal variability may indicate cryptic species (McBee et al. 1987). Hemidactylus platycephalus PETERS 1854 is now considered as a valid species. Not listed for Honduras and Mexico by KÖHLER (2000). Marques et al. 2018 “tentatively” considered Hemidactylus benguellensis as valid. The monotypic Indian Dravidogecko, which has similar digits has already been placed in the synonymy of Hemidactylus (Bauer and Russell, 1995), and it may be appropriate to treat the other three genera similarly [from CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2006]. It is possible that some literature records of H. angulatus may be referable to H. mabouia.

Distribution: Originally this species is from Africa, but has been introduced to many other parts of the world. Reported from Madagascar (BARBOUR 1918). However, reports from Madagascar include H. mercatorius which is here considered as a valid species (although this has been refuted). For a map of South American localities see May et al. 2022. For a map with localities in Equatorial Guinea see SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS et al. 2022.

Type locality: The type locality of H. mabouia (Moreau de Jonne´s, 1818) has been restricted to St Vincent in the Lesser Antilles (Stejneger, 1904), but the type specimen does not belong to the taxon to which this name is usually applied. Instead it is a H. angulatus, being especially similar to those from the Greater Antilles and Colombia, particularly the latter (Kluge, 1969) [from CARRANZA & ARNOLD 2006].

Type species: Hemidactylus mabouia is the type species of the genus Hemidactylus GOLDFUSS 1820: 158 (fide Frétey & Dubois 2019). Other authors have credited OKEN 1817: 1183 (fide WERMUTH 1965). Kluge (2001:12) considered Oken’s (1811:1182) names to be nomina nuda, but offered no explanation for those decisions.

Phylogenetics: Lajmi & Karanth 2019 present a phylogenetic analysis of Hemidactylus of peninsular India.

The biology of this species was discussed by Gramentz (2000, 2003).

Keys: Torki 2019 presented a key for the Hemidactylus of Iran. For African species, Loveridge 1947: 97 provides a key and table with key characters (p. 104). 
EtymologyThe name mabouia is derived ‘‘from the language of savage tribes of Septentrional America, and refers to everything that induces disgust or fear’’ (translated from Lacepède, 1788: 379, by A. Miralles, personal communication, 28 November 2006, cited in McCranie 2018: 59).

Genus: named after the split lamella of the fingers and toes in this genus, i.e. the “half” (hemi) lamella under the fingers (Greek “dactylos”). 
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