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Sphaerodactylus plummeri THOMAS & HEDGES, 1992

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Barahona Big-scaled Geckolet, Barahona big-scaled sphaero 
SynonymSphaerodactylus plummeri THOMAS & HEDGES 1992: 289
Sphaerodactylus plummeri — KLUGE 1993
Sphaerodactylus plummeri — RÖSLER 2000: 113 
DistributionCaribbean: Hispaniola

Type locality: "10.6km N Calo Rojo on the Alcoa road (2.6km N Pedernales-Oviedo road), Pedernales Province, Dominican Republic, elevation 80 m"  
TypesHolotype: USNM 317892 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small, short, but acute-snouted species of Sphaerodactylus (18-22 mm SVL,snout-vent length) with large, flattened, keeled, imbricate dorsal body scales and unusually large cobblelike (broad, rounded, and raised) snout scales (snout averages 36% head length); with only two toe pad bracket scales; a four-lined head pattern, with the two postocular lines extending onto the body as dorsolateral and midflank stripes (indistinct in most specimens); and with minute prescapular ocelli in line with the head stripes. Sphaerodactylus plummeri is unique in several respects: it has the lowest dorsal and midbody scale counts of any Hispaniolan species (among the lowest of any species); the snout scales are the largest (with the exception of S. elasmorhynchus); it has only two toe pad bracket scales (only one other species of Sphaerodactylusthat we have examined has fewer than three); and females undergo ontogenetic head pattern modification in which the striped pattern becomes broken into spots. Sphaerodactylus streptophorus (Fig. 1B) is a small, dark or dull-colored species and superficially resembles S. plummeri; however, it is larger than S. plummeriwith a maximum SVL of 26 mm. The two differ in details of coloration: S. s. streptophorus,the Barahona Peninsula subspecies, has a pale transverse collar across the neck, no dorsolateral lines, and much smaller body scales (midbody scales 41-62: Thomas and Schwartz, 1983); it also has smaller snout scales and three toe pad bracket scales. A larger species, S. armstrongi (Fig. 1C), occurs in the upper elevations of the Sierra de Baoruco and Massif de la Selle (it occurs at higher elevations on the Alcoa road). Although it is dark like S. plummeri,S. armstrongi usually has Y or V-shaped markings on the head, various ocelli on the body, and has a much greater number of midbody scales (49-75; Thomas and Schwartz, 1983). Sphaerodactylusrandi also is a larger species with smaller scales; its basic pattern involves the trilineate head pattern (as in difficilis),a dark scapular patch, and a pair of ocelli. We compare S. plummeri with these species because they occur in the area and might be confused with plummeri on superficial examination (from Thomas & Hedges 1992: 291). 
CommentIts combination of small body size and very large, flattened, keeled dorsal scales distinguish it from other species in the genus.

Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyNamed after one of the collectors, Nicholas Plummer. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • Thomas, R. and S. B. Hedges. 1992. An unusual new Sphaerodactylus from Hispaniola (Squamata, Gekkonidae). Journal of Herpetology 26 (3): 289-292 - get paper here
  • Thomas, Richard and S. Blair Hedges 1998. A new gecko from the Sierra de Neiba of Hispaniola (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Sphaerodactylus). Herpetologica 54 (3): 333-336 - get paper here
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