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- Thecadactylus rapicauda: (Breuil (2002, 2003; in part.), Bergmann and Russell (2007; in part.).
SMF 92120, an adult male from Sint Maarten, near the southern edge of the village of Dawn Beach, 18.042°N, 63.023°W, 45 m elevation; collected 12 April 2011 by Stephan Prein and Maciej Oskroba.
SMF 92194, 92721–29, same collecting data as holotype.
A species (SVL in largest specimen examined 99 mm) of the genus Thecadactylus(sensu Russell and Bauer 2002) that differs from all other species in the genus by having a distinct dorsal pattern of numerous irregular but sharply deliminated black spots and blotches on an otherwise almost patternless background. Thecadactylus oskrobapreinorum lacks a dorsally directed postocular stripe (such stripe present in most specimens of Thecadactylus solimoensis; see Bergmann and Russell 2007). Thecadactylus oskrobapreinorum differs further from Thecadactylus rapicauda in the mean values of several morphometric and pholidotic characteristics, most pronounced in the number of subdigital lamellae and supralabial scales (see Table 1).
Description of the holotype
Adult male as indicated by partially everted hemipenes; SVL 95.5 mm; tail length 75.0 mm, tail complete; tail almost round in cross section, tail height 6.9 mm, width 7.6 mm; axilla to groin distance 37.0 mm; head length 24.5 mm; snout length 12.2 mm; head width 20.5 mm; shank length 16.2 mm. Rostral large, rectangular, about twice as wide as deep, visible from above, and with a long median cleft extending from posterior margin; 2 relatively large, rectangular postrostrals; nostril bordered by rostral, first supralabial, 3 small postnasals and one postrostral; scales on snout and on loreal region granular, mostly keeled; 22 loreal scales in a longitudinal line between rostral and orbit; scales on upper and posterior portions of head slightly smaller than on snout; scales in supraorbital region not differentiated from those on upper part of head; supraciliary flap bordered by a double row of scales, 18 in outer row between anterior border of flap and a point above center of eye, with 7 small spines posteriorly; pupil four-lobed, vertically elongate; 8 supralabials to level below center of eye, total number 10, anterior supralabials subequal in size, below eyes decreasing in size; ear opening obliquely oval, 3.0 x 1.5 mm (length x height) distinctly smaller than eye (eye length 6.1 mm); mental larger than adjacent scales, pentagonal; 2 relatively large postmentals, at each side followed by a row of smooth, polygonal scales, decreasing in size posteriorly, and in contact with anterior infralabials; scales on chin granular, mostly pointed; scales on throat small, round, convex, juxtaposed; 8 (right)–7 (left) infralabials to level below center of eye, total number 10; infralabials mostly large, smooth, quadrangular to pentagonal, posterior ones smaller; dorsum of body with convex, juxtaposed to subimbricate scales with rounded posterior margins, about twice as large as scales on snout, largest dorsal scales about 0.35 x 0.29 mm (length x width); about 72 median dorsal scales in one head length; ventral scales at midbody smooth, juxtaposed to subimbricate with rounded posterior margins, forming oblique rows, about 0.42 x 0.39 mm (length x width); about 45 ventral scales in one head length; a gradual transition between dorsal and ventral scales; 218 scales around midbody; caudal scales smooth, imbricate, with rounded posterior margins, slightly larger ventrally; scales on limbs mostly smooth, subimbricate, with rounded posterior margins, equal to, to larger than dorsals; scales on posterior surfaces of forelimbs and on posterior and upper surfaces of hind limbs small, granular; fingers and toes depressed with a middorsal elevation, connected by a basal web; subdigital lamellae forming two transversely enlarged rows, divided by a median sulcus, 20 under fourth toe, 19 under fourth finger; claw on distal extremity of distal sulcus.
Coloration after one month in preservative (70% ethanol) was recorded as follows: Dorsal surfaces of head, body, limbs, and tail grayish brown with numerous irregular but sharply deliminated, black spots and blotches; ventral surfaces of head, body, and limbs cream with gray shading and faint gray reticulations; widened lamellae of fingers and toes gray; ventral surface of tail brown with dark grayish brown reticulations.
The paratypes agree well with the holotype in general appearance, morphometrics and scalation (see Table 1). Variation of coloration in life is illustrated in Fig. 4. As can be seen, the number and distribution of the dark spots and blotches varies between individuals as does the background color which ranges from pale pearl gray over pale grayish yellow to grayish olive. Scale size differences in certain areas of gular and temporal region of male holotype are probably the result of bites from other males in territorial fights. The damaged parts of the skin are covered by smaller granular scales as it is typical for scar tissue.
The name oskrobapreinorum is a construction in the genitive plural honoring Maciej Oskroba and Stephan Prein, two German herpetoculturists who directed our attention to this new species and made field observations on this gecko on the island of Sint Maarten.
Natural history notes
All type specimens were collected at night while the lizards were active on the lower parts of the trunks of large living trees within or at the edge of forested areas (see also Fig. 5). From 11–16 April 2011, the air temperature (measured in the shade) varied at the type locality from 21.1–23.7°C (mean 22.7°C) in the morning hours and 24.6–28.2°C (mean 26.6°C) in the afternoon.
As currently known, Thecadactylus oskrobapreinorum is restricted to the island of Sint Maarten, Lesser Antilles. Although the type locality is in the Dutch portion of the island, the species is also known from several localities in the French portion (see records in Breuil 2002).
- Köhler, G; Vesely, M; 2011: A new species of Thecadactylus from Sint Maarten, Lesser Antilles (Reptilia, Squamata, Gekkonidae) ZooKeys, 118: 97-107. doi
- Breuil M (2002) Histoire Naturelle des Amphibiens et Reptiles Terrestres de l’Archipel Guadeloupéen. Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy. Patrimoines Naturels 54: 1-339.
- Bergmann P, Russell A (2007) Systematics and biogeography of the widespread Neotropical gekkonid genus Thecadactylus (Squamata), with the description of a new cryptic species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 149: 339-370.
- Russell A, Bauer A (2002) Thecadactylus, T. rapicauda. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 753: 1-16.