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Ramigekko swartbergensis (HAACKE, 1996)

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Higher TaxaGekkonidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Swartberg African Leaf-Toed Gecko 
SynonymPhyllodactylus swartbergensis HAACKE 1996
Afrogecko swartbergensis — BAUER et al. 1997
Afrogecko swartbergensis — MASHININI & MAHLANGU 2013
Afrogecko swartbergensis — BATES et al. 2014: 101
Ramigekko swartbergensis — HEINICKE et al. 2014 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Cape Fold Mountains)

Type locality: Swartberg Pass, near forestry quarters on north-facing slope, Groot Swartberge (33° 20’ S, 22° 02’ E; 3322Ac), altitude 1580 m, Oudtshoorn district, Western Cape Province, South Africa.  
TypesHolotype: DNMNH (= TM) 56468, adult male, collected by W. D. Haacke, 31 January 1983. 
DiagnosisDefinition (genus). Ramigekko is distinguishable from all other geckos based on the following combination of characters: size large (77 mm max. SVL), with a moderately flattened head and body, and round, tapering tail. Digits are free and bear a single pair of dilated terminal adhesive pads (‘leaf toes’); claws are present on all digits. Dorsal scalation consists of enlarged smooth tubercles interspersed with smaller granules. Preanal pores are absent; one cloacal spur is present. The eye bears a vertical pupil with crenate margins. The skull displays no co-ossification with the overlying skin. Nasals are fused; frontal single; parietals partly fused; stapes imperforate; 14 scleral ossicles; 13 premaxillary and fewer than 40 dentary teeth; hyoid with second ceratobranchial cartilages. There are 26 presacral vertebrae and one pair of cloacal bones. The phalangeal formula is 2-3-4-5-3 (manus)/2-3-4-5-4 (pes); paraphalangeal elements are absent, but extraphalangeal digital ossifications are present.
Ramigekko swartbergensis exhibits the following nonhomoplastic apomorphic characters: suborbital fenestra oval, almost chicken egg shaped (23-0); posterior edge of the ascending nasal process transverse (41-3, Fig. 13); border of frontal inflected along posterior portion of prefrontal seam (131-1, Fig. 13); frontal participates in the orbitonasal foramen (148-1); coronoid participates in the labial border of the anterior surangular foramen (317-1, Fig. 18); number of maxillary tooth loci between 35 and 39 (370-7); dentary tooth row extends to the posterior half of the jaw (377-1); teeth narrowly spaced with crowns contacting for much of their height, ctenodont (387-2, Fig. 18).
Ramigekko and Cryptactites are unique among leaftoed gecko genera in having partial fusion of the parietals (Figs 12–13). Ramigekko is also readily distinguished from all other African leaf-toed gecko genera based on its large body size and unkeeled tubercular dorsal scalation [Heinicke et al. 2014]. 
CommentType species: Phyllodactylus swartbergensis HAACKE 1996 is the type species of the genus Ramigekko HEINICKE et al. 2014. 
Etymology“The name is a combination of the Latin noun ramus, meaning branch, and gekko, a latinization of a Malay word said to imitate the vocalizations of geckos (subsequently applied to the lizards themselves). We apply the name in recognition of Professor William R. Branch, curator emeritus of herpetology at Bayworld (formerly Port Elizabeth Museum), in honour of his recent retirement and in recognition of his many contributions to the systematic herpetology of southern Africa. The gender is masculine.” 
  • Barts, M. 2021. Geckos aus dem südlichen Afrika. DATZ 2021 (5): 24-34
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer A M. Good D A. Branch W R. 1997. The taxonomy of the Southern African leaf-toed geckos (Squamata: Gekkonidae), with a review of Old World "Phyllodactylus" and the description of five new genera. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 49 (14): 447-497. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R.;Bauer, Aaron 1996. Notes on two poorly-known Phyllodactylus (Squamata: gekkonidae) from South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 4 (2): 127-134 [1997]
  • Haacke, W.D. 1996. Description of a new species of Phyllodactylus Gray (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from the Cape Fold Mountains, South Africa. Annals Transvaal Mus. 36 (18): 229-237. - get paper here
  • Heinicke, Matthew P.; Juan D. Daza, Eli Greenbaum, Todd R. Jackman & Aaron M. Bauer 2014. Phylogeny, taxonomy and biogeography of a circum-Indian Ocean clade of leaf-toed geckos (Reptilia: Gekkota), with a description of two new genera. Systematics and Biodiversity 12 (1): 23-42, DOI:10.1080/14772000.2013.877999 - get paper here
  • Mashinini, P. L. and Mahlangu, L. M. 2013. An annotated catalogue of the types of gekkonid lizards (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) in the Herpetology collection of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, South Africa. Annals of the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History 3: 165-181
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