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Sphaerodactylus argivus GARMAN, 1888

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
SubspeciesSphaerodactylus argivus argivus GARMAN 1888
Sphaerodactylus argivus bartschi COCHRAN 1934
Sphaerodactylus argivus lewisi GRANT 1941 
Common NamesE: Cayman Islands Geckolet, Cayman Least Gecko 
SynonymSphaerodactylus argivus GARMAN 1888:103
Sphaerodactylus argivus — GRANT 1941: 17
Sphaerodactylus argivus argivus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Sphaerodactylus argivus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 465
Sphaerodactylus argivus — KLUGE 1993
Sphaerodactylus argivus — RÖSLER 2000: 110

Sphaerodactylus argivus bartschi COCHRAN 1934
Sphaerodactylus bartschi COCHRAN 1934: 5
Sphaerodactylus bartschi — GRANT 1941: 18
Sphaerodactylus argus bartschi — COCHRAN 1961: 146
Sphaerodactylus argivus bartschi — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Sphaerodactylus argivus bartschi — DE LISLE et al. 2013

Sphaerodactylus argivus lewisi GRANT 1941
Sphaerodactylus lewisi GRANT 1941: 20
Sphaerodactylus argivus lewisi — THOMAS 1975
Sphaerodactylus argivus lewisi — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Sphaerodactylus argivus lewisi — DE LISLE et al. 2013 
DistributionCayman Brac, Antilles, Cayman-Islands (Little Cayman, Grand Cayman)

Type locality: Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands.  
TypesSyntypes: MCZ 6223, MCZ 13597.
Holotype: USNM 81759, male [bartschi]
Holotype: MCZ 44987, originally in private collection #2956 (given as "writer's collection"), adult male. Paratypes: BMNH 1939.2.1.95-96. [lewisi] 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION: Size small (SVL in males to 28 mm, in females to 29 mm); dorsals moderate to large, swollen to relatively flattened, rounded or obtusely angulate to acute, keeled, weakly to moderately imbricate, axilla to groin 27-50; no area of middorsal granules or granular scales; ventrals acute to cycloid, smooth, imbricate, axilla to groin 24-34; snout acuminate, short, moderately narrow; snout scales broad, rounded, or subhexagonal, smooth to keeled, juxtaposed to subimbricate; 2 postnasals; 0-1 (mode 1) internasals; upper labials to mideye 3-4 (mode 3); gular scales small, smooth, imbricate; chest scales acute to cycloid, flattened, smooth; midbody scales 46-70; escutcheon compact centrally, with or without extensions onto thighs, 5-7 x 8-26. Not sexually dichromatic; dorsum brown with darker flecking or vermiculations; sacral pattern lineate; at times head and body somewhat striped; venter white or yellow; underside of tail yellow to red; iris golden (S. a. argivus, S. a. lewisi) or blue (S. a. bartschi) (from Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 465).

Detailed description: Grant 1941 (including Garman’s original description)

Diagnosis (bartschi). Dorsals keeled, imbricate, no differentiated middorsal zone; about nine dorsals in the standard distance between center of eye and tip of snout; lateral grooves more or less apparent on the rostral; faintly or distinctly spotted on the posterior part of body and on tail; sometimes a light dark-bordered stripe on each flank extending onto the tail; adult size rather small. (Cochran 1934)

Detailed description (bartschi): Grant 1941: 18.

Diagnosis (lewisi). “The only Sphaerodactylus known from Grand Cayman; 10 dorsals and 9 ventrals in distance snout to center of orbit.” (Grant 1941)

Description of type (lewisi). “Similar in general proportions to the medium sized
species of the genus. Rostral grooved nearly to tip, smooth and without Any
semicircular groove, bordered by two large internasals which may or may not
be separated by a small scale; nostril pierced between rostral, internasal, first
labial and a medium sized following scale; snout covered with coarse, very
feebly keeled sub-hexagonal scales which become narrower and more strongly
keeled between the orbits; three or four large and one tiny upper labials; one
large, one small and one tiny lower labials; dorsals plainly, but not sharply,
keeled, about ten in distance snout to center of orbit; mental smooth, followed
by two rather large, smooth postmentals which are followed by the fine smooth
throat scales; belly scales circular, smooth, juxtaposed or feebly imbricate; tail
covered above by feebly keeled, pointed scales which become progressively larger
and smoother on sides to the large, single, central row of plates; limbs covered
on their exposed aspects by smaller, feebly-keeled, pointed scales and their rear
aspects by fine tuberculated granules.” (Grant 1941)

Dimensions (lewisi). “Snout to vent, 21 mm.; tail partially regenerated, probably normally about as long as snout to vent.” (Grant 1941)

Color pattern (lewisi). “From preserved specimen: Uniform olive-brown above;
light yellow below, including throat; faint pigmentation along edges of some
belly scales; no pattern or markings of any kind. No. 2957, cotype in the
writer's collection, has very fine, darker specks and a very few, almost obsolete,
light stripes on head and back; escutcheon scales of both specimens finely out
lined with dark.” (Grant 1941)

Sexual dimorphism (lewisi). This has the largest escutcheon of any species with which the writer is familiar. It is subrectangular with branches extending from the posterior angles well down the legs; 7 scales long by 26 wide; 22 scales wide in the cotype.” (Grant 1941) 
CommentFor illustrations see Grant, 1941; Thomas, 1975. 
  • Cochran, D. M. 1934. Herpetological collections from the West Indies made by Dr. Paul Bartsch under The Walter Rathbone Bacon Scholarship, 1928-1930. Smithsonian Misc. Coll. 92 (7): 1-48. - get paper here
  • Garman, S. 1888. Reptiles and batrachians from the Caymans and from the Bahamas. Collected by Prof. C. J. Maynard for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, Mass. Bull. Essex Inst. 20: 101-113 - get paper here
  • Grant, C. 1941. The herpetology of the Cayman Islands. Bulletin of the Institute of Jamaica, Science Series [1940] (2):1-56
  • Pagoda, P. 2011. Ein Monat als Volontär in der Karibik - der Blauen wegen. Elaphe 19 (1): 65-72
  • Röll, B. 2017. Die Strandmandel. Vielseitig nutzbar für kleine Reptilien. Reptilia (Münster) 22 (124): 44-49 - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Thomas, R. 1975. The argus group of West Indian Sphaerodactylus (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Herpetologica 31: 177-195. - get paper here
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