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Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus (BEDDOME, 1870)

IUCN Red List - Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Southern Ghats slender gecko 
SynonymHemidactylus aurantiacus BEDDOME 1870: 33
Hemidactylus aurantiacus — STOLICZKA 1872
Lepidodactylus aurantiacus — BOULENGER 1885: 164
Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus — STEJNEGER 1899
Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus — BRONGERSMA 1932: 222
Hemiphyllodactylus typus aurantiacus — SMITH 1935
Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus — BAUER & DAS 1999
Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus — ZUG 2010: 37
Hemiphyllodactylus cf. aurantiacus — GANESH et al. 2018 
DistributionS India (Anamallays = Anailmalais, Western Ghats, Bangalore, Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh)

Type locality: “Shevaroys, under stones about Yercaud and elsewhere, at an elevation of 4,000 feet”.  
TypesLectotype: BMNH; Syntypes: ZMB 10233, BMNH–1337 
DiagnosisDescription. A bisexual taxon of geckos (Gekkoninae) with elongate, slender habitus, slightly compressed, elongated appearance accentuated by short limbs and modest head (see Figures 3, 11, 15), tail somewhat elliptical in cross section and regularly shorter than SVL. Adults 27.2–37.9 mm SVL (mean ± SD, 34.3 mm ± 2.80; n = 14), 26–33 mm TailL (29.2 mm ± 2.87), 13.8–18.8 mm TrunkL (16.7 mm ± 1.27), 6.0–8.7 mm HeadL (7.9 mm ± 0.64), 4.3–6.5 mm HeadW (5.6 mm ± 0.72), 2.3– 3.7 mm SnEye (3.1 mm ± 0.36), 1.9–2.8 mm NarEye (2.4 mm ± 0.25), 1.7–2.1 mm EyeD (2.0 mm ± 0.13), 1.2–1.5 mm SnW (1.3 mm ± 0.10). Adult proportions 44–51% TrunkL/SVL (mean ± SD, 48.7% ± 2.0), 21–26% HeadL/ SVL (23.0% ± 1.0), 14–19% HeadW/SVL (16.5% ± 2.9), 57–79% HeadW/HeadL (71.3% ± 7.1), 34–42% SnEye/ HeadL (39.2% ± 2.6), 27–33% NarEye/HeadL (30.6% ± 1.8), 22–28% EyeD/HeadL (25.0% ± 1.7), 14–20% SnW/HeadL (16.7% ± 1.4), 69–96% EyeD/NarEye (82.0% ± 7.7), 21–30% SnW/HeadW (23.5% ± 2.7%). (Zug 2010)

Scalation is predominantly granular from head onto tail, both dorsally and ventrally; ventral trunk scales slightly larger than dorsal ones, 11–17 Dorsal (median ± SD, 13.0 ± 1.87) and 8–12 Ventral (10.0 ± 1.51); similarly, subcaudal scales slightly larger than dorsal caudal scales but not plate-like. Cloacal spurs present, modest sized, 1–3 CloacS (2 ± 0.6). Larger scales on lips and snout, rostral largest, rectangular to pentagonal, often slightly concave on dorsomedial edge with slight cleft; 2–4 CircNa (3 ± 0.5), 3–6 SnS (4 ± 0.9); labial scales enlarged from rostral to below eye, becoming progressively smaller in subocular rictus, 10–13 Suplab (10 ± 1.0), 8–12 Inflab (11 ± 1.0); 10–14 Chin (11 ± 0.8), those behind mental slightly or not enlarged; ear opening distinct with no bordering enlarged scales. Each digit with expanded pad, terminal two phalanges free, arising from within pad on second to fifth digits of fore- and hindfoot and each clawed; pads of these digits each with large triangular apical lamella bordered proximally by lyre-shaped lamellae (scansors); modal digital formulae 2-2-2-2 (forefoot) and 2-2-3-2 or 3 (hindfoot) for scansors; first digit of fore- and hindfeet compressed, usually 4 rectangular lamellae (3-4 fore, 4-5 hind) ventrally, terminal phalanx not free with or without minute claw. Adult females rarely with precloacal pore series (0–3 PreclPor), males always with precloacal pores (median ± SD, 7 ± 1.6; range, 6–11) always separated from femoral pore series, 16–25 TotPore (21.5 ± 2.92). (Zug 2010)

Coloration: Dusky brown ground color dorsally and laterally from head to tail, dark ocular stripe from loreal area to axilla thereafter interrupted and part of zigzag dorsal markings; also narrow dorsolateral dark stripe from rear of eye to axilla, where it also breaks into pieces of the dorsal zigzag marks; small white spots dorsolaterally on trunk but overwhelmed by dark trunk markings; dorsal postsacral mark, anteriormost broad dark brown traverse bar bordered behind by light golden bar then tan and subsequently by irregular edged dark brown bars separated by tan interspaces. (Zug 2010)

Major diagnostic features: bisexual taxon; pigmented caecum and gonadal ducts; in adult males femoral pore series separated from precloacal pore series (TotPore typically 20-25), always absent in females; chin scales bordering mental and first infralabial not greatly enlarged; digital lamellae formulae 2-2-2-2 (forefoot) and 2-2-3-2 or 2-2-3-3 (hindfoot); average adult SVL ~33–35 mm; bold body pattern of contrasting dark brown and dusky brown background and dorsal postsacral double bar of dark brown and light orange (Figure 15). (Zug 2010)

Description of lectotype: An adult male: 34.5 mm SVL, broken TailL, 17.5 mm TrunkL, 7.8 mm HeadL, 5.6 mm HeadW, 3.7 mm SnEye, 2.8 mm NarEye, 2.0 mm EyeD, and 1.2 mm SnW. Proportions: 51% TrunkL/SVL, 23% HeadL/SVL, 16% HeadW/SVL, 72% HeadW/HeadL, 40% SnEye/HeadL, 30% NarEye/HeadL, 26% EyeD/ HeadL, 15% SnW/HeadL, 87% EyeD/NarEye, 21% SnW/ HeadW. Scalation: 3 CircNa, 5 SnS, 13 Suplab, 11 Inflab, 12 Chin (anteromedial ones only slightly larger than adjacent ones), 16 Dorsal, 12 Ventral, 1 CloacS, Subcaud not enlarged, 7 PreclPor, 22 TotPore with no contact between precloacal and femoral, digital formulae 2-2-2-2 (forefoot) and 2-3-3-3 (hindfoot). Pigmented caecum, pigmentation unknown for testis epididymis. Body ground color brown, no lateral light spotting evident, dark dorsolateral stripe from eye to shoulder, lateral stripe from in front of eye to axilla, these stripes broken on trunk and form lateral parts of dorsal chevron or zigzag markings of trunk, dark chevron at tail base. (Zug 2010) 
CommentDistribution: ZUG (2010) believes that its occurrence in Banglore is edificarian and appears to represent a recent accidental transport.

Behavior: nocturnal 
EtymologyBeddome offered no explanation for his choice of aurantiacus as the epithet for his new species. He did mention the orange color of the tail base, and because aurantium is a new Latin noun for the orange (fruit), ZUG (2010) suggested his choice derived from the association between the color of the orange and the gecko’s tail. 
  • Bauer, A.M. & Das,I. 1999. The systematic status of the endemic south Indian gecko Hemidactylus aurantiacus (BEDDOME 1870). J. South Asian Nat. Hist. 4 (2): 213-218
  • Beddome, R.H. 1870. Descriptions of some new lizards from the Madras Presidency. Madras Monthly J. Med. Sci. 1: 30-35
  • Bhupathy, Subramanian & N. Sathishkumar 2013. Status of reptiles in Meghamalai and its environs, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5 (15): 4953-4961 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. - get paper here
  • Brongersma, L.D. 1932. Some notes on the genus Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker. Zoologische Mededelingen 14: 211- - get paper here
  • Chettri, Basundhara & S. Bhupathy 2010. Three little known reptile species from the Araku Valley, Eastern Ghats with notes on their distribution. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (8): 1109-1113 - get paper here
  • Das, Indraneil & Abhijit Das 2017. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., Oxford, 176 pp.
  • Ganesh, S. R.; M. Arumugam 2016. Species Richness of Montane Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India: A Historical Resume and a Descriptive Checklist. Russ. J. Herpetol. 23 (1): 7-24 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R.; A. Kalaimani, P. Karthik, N. Baskaran, R. Nagarajan & S.R.Chandramouli 2018. Herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India – II From Western Ghats to Coromandel Coast. Asian Journal of Conservation Biology, July 2018. Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 28-45 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. Lee; Perry L. Wood Jr, Shahrul Anuar, Evan S. H. Quah, Mohd Abdul Muin, Chan Kin Onn, Alexandra X. Sumarli and Ariel I. Loredo 2015. Repeated evolution of sympatric, palaeoendemic species in closely related, co-distributed lineages of Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker, 1860 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) across a sky-island archipelago in Peninsular Malaysia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 174 (4): 859–876; DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12254 - get paper here
  • Grismer, L.L.; PERRY L. WOOD Jr, SHAHRUL ANUAR, MOHD ABDUL MUIN, EVAN S. H. QUAH, JIMMY A. MCGUIRE,, RAFE M. BROWN,0, NGO VAN TRI and PHAM HONG THAI 2013. Integrative taxonomy uncovers high levels of cryptic species diversity in Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker, 1860 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) and the description of a new species from Peninsular Malaysia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 169: 849–880 - get paper here
  • NGO VAN TRI; L. LEE GRISMER, PHAM HONG THAI & P. L. WOOD, JR. 2014. A new species of Hemiphyllodactylus Bleeker, 1860 (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Ba Na–Nui Chua Nature Reserve, Central Vietnam. Zootaxa 3760 (4): 539–552 - get paper here
  • NGUYEN, TRUONG QUANG; QUYEN HANH DO, HANH THI NGO, ANH VAN PHAM,<br />CUONG THE PHAM, MINH DUC LE, & THOMAS ZIEGLER 2020. Two new species of Hemiphyllodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Hoa Binh Province, Vietnam. Zootaxa 4801 (3): 513–536 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1935. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptiles and Amphibia, Vol. II. Sauria. Taylor and Francis, London, 440 pp.
  • Venugopal, P.D. 2010. An updated and annotated list of Indian lizards (Reptilia: Sauria) based on a review of distribution records and checklists of Indian reptiles. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (3): 725-738. - get paper here
  • Zug, G. R. 2010. Speciation and Dispersal in a Low Diversity Taxon: The Slender Geckos Hemiphyllodactylus (Reptilia, Gekkonidae). Smithsonian contributions to zoology (631): 1-70 - get paper here
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