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Rhynchoedura ornata GÜNTHER, 1867

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Western Beaked Gecko 
SynonymRhynchoedura ornata GÜNTHER 1867
Rhynchoedura ornata — BOULENGER 1885: 12
Rhynchoedura ornata — LOVERIDGE 1934: 297
Rhynchoedura ornata — WORRELL 1963: 30, 167
Diplodactylus paraornatus WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984
Rhynchoedura ornata — KLUGE 1993
Rhynchoedura ornata — RÖSLER 1995: 83
Rhynchoedura ornata — COGGER 2000: 274
Rhynchoedura ornata — PIANKA & VITT 2003: 182
Rhynchoedura ornata — PEPPER et al. 2011 
DistributionAustralia (Drier interior of New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia). Absent from SW, S and SE Australia as well as from much of the tropical north.

Type locality: Nicol Bay, Western Australia [”Nickol Bay” fide PEPPER et al. 2011]  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.20.50 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): A genus of diplodactylid geckos defined by small body size (to 57 mm SVL), slender cylindrical body shape, head small and narrow with protruding eyes with overhanging brow, short sharp snout terminating in beak-like projections formed by enlarged rostral and mental scales, labial scales not enlarged rela- tive to neighboring scales, neck and tail long and slender; limbs short and gracile, digits covered in fine scales terminating in a sharp claw surrounded by a sheath of modified scales (no expanded apical plates), 2–6 pre-anal pores, cloacal spurs comprising 1–3 enlarged pointed scales, and body covered with fine homogeneous scales. Internal morphology: lacrimal contacting dorsally ex- panded lateral process of prefrontal, four phalanges on fourth finger, vertebral count 27, and lateral and medial pairs of cloacal bones absent (Oliver et al., 2007a). Dorsal pattern is complex, consisting of a dark background color often with a light vertebral zone with transverse barring; usually small to large white to yellow spots covering entire dorsum and head or confined to flanks; labials and scales bordering eye whitish to yellow; usually a pale spot dorso-posterior to eye; transition to ventrum abrupt; ventrum immaculate to pale off-white; original tail pattern mirrors pattern on body [from PEPPER et al. 2011].

Diagnosis (species): Morphologically distinguished from Rhynchoedura
sexapora sp. nov. by two oblong, enlarged preanal pores, relatively flat dorsal and ventral scales approximately equal in size, and small scales on digits, and from Rhynchoedura mentalis sp. nov. by having a single enlarged mental scale and cloacal spurs formed by a single enlarged scale; morphologically similar to remaining species of Rhynchoedura, but reaches a larger maximum size (to 57 mm SVL) and usually has an ungrooved rostral scale. 
CommentStorr et al. (1990) suggested that Rhynchoedura is closely related to the conspicillatus group of Diplodactylus and that the latter should be transferred to Rhynchoedura. Rhynchoedura ormsbyi WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985 has been removed from the synonymy of R. ornata by PEPPER et al. 2011.

Type species: Rhynchoedura ornata GÜNTHER 1867 is the type species of the genus Rhynchoedura GÜNTHER 1867.

Abundance: common, with more than 500 specimens collected (Pianka 2011) 
  • 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
  • CHIACCHIO, MICHELE; ANNEGRET GRIMM-SEYFARTH<br />KLAUS HENLE<br /> AND JEAN-BAPTISTE MIHOUB 2020. Water availability as a major climatic driver of taxonomic and functional diversity in a desert reptile community. Ecosphere 11(7):e03190. 10.1002/ecs2.3190 - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Dittmer, D. E., Chapman, T. L. & Bidwell, J. R. 2020. In the shadow of an iconic inselberg: Uluru’s shadow influences climates and reptile assemblage structure at its base. J. Arid Environ. 181, 104179 (2020) - get paper here
  • Girard, Francis 2008. The Feeding in Captivity of Two Small Australian Terrestrial Termite-eating Geckos: Rhynchoedura ornata Gunther, 1867 and Diplodactylus conspicillatus Lucas and Frost, 1897. Gekko 5 (2): 25-27
  • Günther, A. 1867. Additions to the knowledge of Australian reptiles and fishes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (3) 20: 45-57 - get paper here
  • Kinghorn, J. Roy 1924. Reptiles and batrachians from south and south-west Australia. Rec. Austral. Mus. 14 (3): 163-183 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1934. Australian reptiles in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 77: 243-383 - get paper here
  • Pepper, Mitzy; Paul Doughty, Mark N. Hutchinson, J. Scott Keogh 2011. Ancient drainages divide cryptic species in Australia’s arid zone: Morphological and multi-gene evidence for four new species of Beaked Geckos (Rhynchoedura). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61 (3): 810-822 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. 1969. Habitat specificity, speciation, and species density in Australian desert lizards. Ecology 50 (3): 498-502 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R.; Pianka, H. D. 1976. Comparative ecology of twelve species of nocturnal lizards (Gekkonidae) in the western Australian desert. Copeia 1976 (1): 125-142 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E.R. & Vitt, L.J. 2003. Lizards - Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley, 347 pp. [review in Copeia 2004: 955] - get paper here
  • Rösler, Herbert 1995. Geckos der Welt - Alle Gattungen. Urania, Leipzig, 256 pp.
  • Rösler, Herbert 2017. Gecko-Chorologie (Squamata: Gekkota). Gekkota (4): 1-160
  • Storr, G.M., Smith, L.A. & Johnstone, R.E. 1990. Lizards of Western Australia III. Geckos and Pygopods. Western Australian Museum, Perth.
  • Wells R W; Wellington C R 1984. A synopsis of the class Reptilia in Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology 1 (3-4): 73-129 [1983]
  • Wells, R. W. and Wellington, C. R. 1985. A classification of the Amphibia and Reptilia of Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology, Supplementary Series (1): 1-61 [sometimes cited as 1983] - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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