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Sphaerodactylus schwartzi THOMAS, HEDGES & GARRIDO, 1992

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Higher TaxaSphaerodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Monitongas Collared Geckolet, Guantanamo collared sphaero 
SynonymSphaerodactylus schwartzi THOMAS, HEDGES & GARRIDO 1992: 359
Sphaerodactylus schwartzi — KLUGE 1993
Sphaerodactylus schwartzi — RÖSLER 2000: 114 
DistributionCuba (Guantanamo)

Type locality: "Loma Redonda, 5 km NW Hatibonico, Guantanamo Prov., Cuba, 100 m"  
TypesHolotype: MNHNCU (NMNHNCU) 3438 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A dwarf Sphaerodactylus (adults 18-20 mm SVL), the smallest known Cuban species, having small, nearly granular dorsal scales, rostral with a semicircular flat plate delimited by a ridge, two prominently enlarged internasals, one postnasal, two enlarged postmentals, and a head pattern of two pale postocular stripes being confluent with, abutting or approximating a fine, pale, transverse neck band (forming a pale V-shaped figure); weak sexual dichromatism present in throat pattern and head stripes. The presence of more than one internasal and very small (nearly granular) dorsal scales distinguishes S. schwartzi from other Sphaerodactylus except two presumably close relatives occurring in eastern Cuba, S. ramsdeni and a second new species described below. S. schwartzi can be easily separated from both of those species by its two large internasals (versus 3-5 small internasals) and very small body size [20 mm maximum SVL versus 25 mm (new species) and 33 mm (ramsdeni)]. The small body size is also noteworthy in that S. schwartzi is the second smallest species in the genus (S. parthenopion of Virgin Gorda is 18 mm maximum SVL) and thus is one of the smallest known lizards. Additional comparisons with S. ramsdeni and the new species are given below (from Thomas et al. 1992: 359).

Coloration. Dorsal trunk dark brown to gray brown with a relatively uniform stipple of darker scales; stippling varies in intensity from fairly dense to sparse; some with evidence of pattern on trunk; pair of pale, dark-edged sacral lines extending posteriorly onto base of tail and anteriorly just onto presacral region; faint, irregular traces of longitudinal lines seen on three individuals; others with no trace of longitudinal patterning. Head with bold, pale, dark-edged postocular stripes connecting with a transverse pale collar band, forming in most a U-shaped figure (more heavily dark-edged in males); connection not present in two specimens and faint in another; two specimens with a faint secondary transverse band anterior to the main one passing just across the occiput and connecting with the postocular stripes at both ends; most specimens with dark pigmentation in center of U-shaped head figure, irregular in appearance and not forming a distinct marking; most with indications of a pale occipital spot that may be prominent and elongate. Approximately 7-8 radiating pale and dark stripes proceeding ventral from eye, thence curving posteriad on sides of throat and fading out on neck; dark throat stripes darker and more prominent in males; venters unpatterned, pale, to faintly stippled or darkly flecked. In life (USNM 309767 and MNHNCV 3439), medium brown or dark brown ground color with dark brown spots (USNM 309767 only); throat white with dark markings; venter gray ish brown; postocular stripe white and orange cream; neck band cream and orange cream; eye color dark brown, pupil black (from Thomas et al. 1992: 361). 
CommentS. schwartzi and S. cricoderus appear to be sister species and allied to S. ramsdeni, also endemic to eastern Cuba. Together, these three species form the ramsdeni group, which is characterized by dark, short-snouted species with very small dorsal scales, more than one internasal, and lack of marked sexual dichromatism. 
EtymologyNamed after Albert Schwartz (1923-1992), American biologist and entomologist. Schwartz was Professor of Biology, Miami-Dade Community College (Forida). 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - 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
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • Thomas, R., S. B. Hedges, and O.H. Garrido. 1992. Two new species of Sphaerodactylus from eastern Cuba (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Herpetologica 48: 358-367. - get paper here
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