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Sphaerodactylus notatus (BAIRD, 1859)

IUCN Red List - Sphaerodactylus notatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
SubspeciesSphaerodactylus notatus notatus BAIRD 1858
Sphaerodactylus notatus amaurus SCHWARTZ 1966
Sphaerodactylus notatus atactus SCHWARTZ 1966
Sphaerodactylus notatus peltastes SCHWARTZ 1966 
Common NamesE: Reef Gecko
notatus: Florida Reef Gecko 
SynonymSphaeriodactylus [sic] notatus BAIRD 1859: 254
Sphaerodactylus notatus — BOULENGER 1885: 226
Sphaerodactylus notatus — BARBOUR 1904: 57
Sphaerodactylus notatus — BARBOUR & RAMSDEN 1919: 125
Sphaerodactylus notatus — BURT & MYERS 1942
Sphaerodactylus notatus notatus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 86
Sphaerodactylus notatus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 514
Sphaerodactylus notatus — KLUGE 1993
Sphaerodactylus notatus — RÖSLER 2000: 113
Sphaerodactylus notatus — CROTHER et al. 2012

Sphaerodactylus notatus amaurus SCHWARTZ 1966
Sphaerodactylus notatus amaurus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Sphaerodactylus notatus amaurus — DE LISLE et al. 2013

Sphaerodactylus notatus atactus SCHWARTZ 1966
Sphaerodactylus notatus atactus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Sphaerodactylus notatus atactus — DE LISLE et al. 2013

Sphaerodactylus notatus peltastes SCHWARTZ 1966
Sphaerodactylus notatus peltastes — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Sphaerodactylus notatus peltastes — DE LISLE et al. 2013 
DistributionBahamas (Duncan Town, Great Ragged Island, introduced on Great Inagua), Bimini Islands, Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, Long Island, Cuba (Prov. Oriente), Alicetown, Juventud, Great Abaco,
USA (Florida).

amaurus: Bahama Is.: Great Bahama Bank; CatI., Little San Salvador I.

atactus: Cuba; Cayos bs Ballenatos; apparently introduced on Morant Cays and Great Inagua I., Bahama Is.; probable subspecies on Pedro Cays.

peltastes: Bahama Is.: Little Bahama Bank.

INCERTAE SEDIS: Taxonomic status of Isla de la Juventud, Cayos de San Felipe, and Archipiélago de los Canarreos populations is uncertain.

Type locality: Key West, Monroe County, Florida.  
TypesHolotype: USNM 3215
Holotype: MCZ 77162 [amaurus]
Holotype: AMNH 92820 [atactus]
Holotype: AMNH 74752 [peltastes] 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION: Size moderate (SVL in males to 33 mm, in females to 34 mm); dorsals large, acute, strongly keeled, imbricate, axilla to groin 18-38; no area of mid-dorsal granules or granular scales; ventrals smooth, cycloid, imbricate, axilla to groin 24-36; dorsal caudal scales acute to somewhat rounded, ventral caudal scales cycloid, flat-lying, enlarged midventrally; snout acuminate, not depressed or decurved; snout scales small, smooth to keeled, subimbricate; 3 postnasals; 0-3 (mode 1) internasals; upper labials to mideye 2-4 (mode 3); gular scales smooth to rarely keeled; chest scales smooth to very rarely keeled; midbody scales 31-55; escutcheon rather large, compact, extensions to just proximal to knee, 2-7 x 6-29. Head pattern sexually dichromatic; dorsum (males) tan to brown, unpatterned or with scattered darker scales; head tan to yellow, with or without heavy spotting; dorsum (females) like males but head trilineate brown on paler brown to tan ground; a dark scapular patch with 1-2 pale ocelli variably present in both sexes and juveniles of some populations and subspecies; underside of tail reddish to coral; iris brown, yellowish brown, golden (from Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 514). 
CommentIllustrations: Barbour and Ramsden, 1919; Barbour, 1921 (as S. notatus, S.exsul); Smith, 1946; Conant and Collins 1991.

Subspecies: Sphaerodactylus notatus exsul BARBOUR 1914 has been elevated to full species.

Distribution: Reports from Honduras (WILSON & MCCRANIE 2002) are now considered as S. exsul (MCCRANIE 2015). 
  • Allen, Kaitlin E.; Kevin J. Avilés Rodríguez, Douglas A. Eifler, and Robert Powell 2015. Social and Environmental Factors Influence Microhabitat Selection in the Brown-Speckled Sphaero, Sphaerodactylus notatus (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae). Journal of Herpetology Jun 2015, Vol. 49, No. 2: 165-169. - get paper here
  • Baird, S.F. 1859. Description of new genera and species of North American lizards in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 10: 253-256 [1858] - get paper here
  • Barbour, T. 1904. Batrachia and Reptilia from the Bahamas. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 46: 55—61 - get paper here
  • Barbour, T. 1921. Sphaerodactylus. Mem. Mus. Comp. Zool. (Harvard) 47: 215-282. - get paper here
  • Barbour, T. and C. T. Ramsden. 1919. The herpetology of Cuba. Mem. Mus. Comp. Zool., Harvard Coll. 47: 69-213. - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas 1914. A Contribution to the Zoögeography of the West Indies, with Especial Reference to Amphibians and Reptiles. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy 44 (2): 205-359 - 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
  • Burt, Charles E. & Myers, George S. 1942. Neotropical lizards in the collection of the Natural History Museum of Stanford University. Stanford University Press, 52 pp.
  • Clements, S. L., Powell, E. A., Mothes, C. C., & Searcy, C. A. 2020. Assessing the conservation risk of Sphaerodactylus notatus, the US herpetofaunal species most vulnerable to sea level rise. Biodiversity and Conservation, 1-15 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Colletie, B.B. 1962. Arboreality; Lamellae, and Body size in two species of Cuban Geckos. Copeia 1962 (3): 664-665 - get paper here
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Cunningham, Carol A.; Tulloch, John S.; Powell, Robert 1993. Food habits of four Hispaniolan species of Sphaerodactylus (Lacertilia: Gekkonidae). Herpetological Natural History 1 (2): 1-10
  • Franz, Richard;Dodd, C. Kenneth, Jr 1994. Sphaerodactylus notatus amaurus (Great Bahama Bank reef gecko). Bahamas: Great Bahama Bank. Herpetological Review 25 (4): 166 - get paper here
  • Gibbons, Whit; Judy Greene, and Tony Mills 2009. LIZARDS AND CROCODILIANS OF THE SOUTHEAST. University of Georgia Press, 240 pp.
  • Grant, C. 1958. Sexual Dichromatism in Sphaerodactylus notatus (Reptilia: Lacertilia) Herpetologica 14 (3): 184. - get paper here
  • KRYSKO, K.L. AND KEIDRA J. DANIELS 2005. A Key to the Geckos (Sauria: Gekkonidae) of Florida. Carib. J. Sci. 41 (1): 28-36 - get paper here
  • Krysko, Kenneth L.; Coleman M. Sheehy III, A. Nichole Hooper 2003. Interspecific communal oviposition and reproduction of four species of lizards (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in the lower Florida Keys. Amphibia-Reptilia 24 (3): 390-396 - get paper here
  • Ljustina, O. 2017. Sphaerodactylus notatus (Florida Reef Gecko) Arboreal behavior. Herpetological Review 48 (2): 440 - get paper here
  • Mays, Jonathan D., Enge, Kevin M., Emerick, Adam and Hill, E. Pierson 2017. New island records for reptiles in the Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida, USA. Herpetological Review 48 (1): 145-146 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • Powell, E.A., Uy, J.A.C. 2022. Male color polymorphism in populations of reef geckos (Sphaerodactylus notatus) reduces the utility of visual signals in sex recognition. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 77, 2 (2023) - get paper here
  • Rodríguez Schettino, Lourdes, Carlos A. Mancina & Vilma Rivalta González 2013. REPTILES OF CUBA: CHECKLIST AND GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (144): 1-96 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. 1966. Geographic variation in Sphaerodactylus notatus Baird. Revista de Biologia Tropical 13 [1965]:161—185 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. 1970. Spherodactylus notatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (90) - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Schwartz, Albert 1970. Sphaerodactylus notatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (90) - get paper here
  • Shreve, B. 1968. The notatus group of Sphaerodactylus (Sauria, Gekkonidae) in Hispaniola. Breviora (280): 1-28 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1946. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Comstock, Ithaca, NY, xxii + 557 pp.
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • Wilson, Larry David and James R. McCranie 2002. Update on the list of reptiles know from Honduras. Herpetological Review 33 (2):90-94 - get paper here
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