Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

April 19, 2005

Unidentified Gecko Emergency

Not every soldier in Iraq is a birder. Some are herpetologists, of course. Herpetologists with a problem. Herpetologists like 1LT Bill, who says that--as I suspected--there's a crying need for an online version of Kamel T. Khalaf's Reptiles of Iraq.

I'll certainly reference it. I already have two unknown Geckos, a lizard, and a skink well-photographed and observed.

I'm hoping to connect with some of the researchers, primarily from Germany I believe, who may have been here in the 1980s or earlier who may have written any descriptions on the local fauna. I doubt I'll get much more internet time than 30 minutes a day to surf around and find their information. I wish there was a research library with journals nearby, too. I'm making due with my copies of two different herp journals, which I get a month or so after they come out there.

The thought that there are geckos out there going unidentified is what keeps me up at night. Well, that and all the coffee. And while a short search of the Net has convinced me that locating German herpetologists with a knowledge of Iraq's herp fauna is a daunting task indeed, I can scan books with the best of them.

Iraqi Geckos - From Kamel T. Khalaf's Reptiles of Iraq. Links are to images or species descriptions, when I can find them. I'll update each species with a link to Khalaf's description of them once they are scanned in.

Family Gekkonidae
Genus Hemidactylus
H. turcicus - Mediterranean Gecko
H. persicus - Persian Gecko
H. flaviviridis - Yellow-bellied House Gecko
Genus Gymnodactylus
G. scaber, aka Cyrtodactylus scaber, Bent-Toed Gecko
Genus Phyllodactylus
P. elisae, aka Asaccus elisae
Genus Pristurus
P. rupestris - Dwarf Rock Gecko
Genus Stenodactylus
S. sthenodactylus - The name is one of the more famous spelling mistakes in gecko literature - the extra “h” in “sthenodactylus” is due to a typographical error in the original description by Lichtenstein! aka Banded Sand Gecko, Israeli Dune Gecko, Micro Gecko
S. grandiceps
S. doriae - Arabian Whip-Tailed Gecko
Genus Ptyodactylus
P. hasselquisti - Fan-Toed Gecko
Genus Alsophylax
A. tuberculatus - aka Bunopus tuberculatus, Stone Gecko, Baloch Rock Gecko
Genus Eublepharis
E. macularius - Leopard Gecko - note that this species can be highly variable.
Eublepharis angramainyu, aka the Western Leopard Gecko or Iranian Fat-Tailed Gecko. First discovered in Iraq in 1966, and so not found in Khalaf's book.

Family Gekkonidae (gekkos)
Head covered with minute granules or small scales, without symmetrical shields on top. Eyes, except Eublepharis, without movable lids. Pupil is usually vertical, and forms a more or less denticulated slit; in Pristurus the pupil is round. Aperture of the ears in the form of an upright slit. Tongue short, broad, thick, fleshy, covered with villose papillae, not sheathed at base, slightly nicked anteriorly. Body in most cases covered, above with small granules and/or tubercles, rarely imbricating, and beneath with small imbricate scales. Digits vary greatly and afford excellent and sound taxonomic characters, the tips or side of which may be more or less dilated into adhesive discs of which the under surface is formed by a series of plates. Stenodaciylus, Also'phylax, Gymnodactylus, and Pristurus have the primitive, non-dilated form of digits.

Small depressed forms with dust-like coloration. Four-footed, with short, thick neck. Head broad, more or less depressed. Eyes large. No movable lower eyelids, except Eublepharis. The eyelid in most genera is represented by an immovable rim of tissue in the upper part of the eye. In Pristurus it is present in the lower part also, and this genus, therefore, has it developed ail around the eye.

Distinct fold of skin along each side of the body is present in many geckos. Femoral and/or preanal pores are usually present. They are found normally in the males, but have been met with occasionally in females. They may vary in number within the species. Most females have enlarged, sometimes pitted scales, corresponding to the position of the pores of the males. Tail brittle, easily and quickly reproduced. The reproduced part can be usually recognized by a simpler form of scaling, often lacks the coloration of the original tail, and is often abnormal in shape, bifid, or even trifid.

Limbs are always pentadactyle (provided with five toss). In some cases claws are retractile.

Key To The Iraqian Genera Of Gekkonidae

1. Eyelids well developed - Eublepharis
Eyelids absent - 2

2. Digits distinctly dilated - 3
Digits slender, not dilated - 5

3. Digits proximally strongly dilated, terminal phalanges slender and rising from within the extremity of the dilated portion - Hemidactylus
Digits slender at base, dilated at tip - 4

4. Dilated extremity of digits furnished with distinct double series of transverse lamellae inferiorly - Ptyodactylus
Dilated extremity of digits without such lamellae inferiorly - Phyllodactylus

5. Pupil circular, rim of the eyelid distinct all around the eye
Tail compressed, keeled or crested - Pristurus
Pupil vertical, eyelids absent. Tail cylindrical - 6

6. Digits with lateral fringes of pointed scales - Stenodactylus
Digits without lateral denticulations - 7

7. Digits with the distal phalanges formmg an angle with the basal portion - Gymnodactylus
Digits straight, not angularly bent at any of the articulations - Alsophylax

Posted by Bigwig at April 19, 2005 01:02 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

Why not just call GEICO and ask for the expert?

Posted by: Sigivald at April 19, 2005 06:56 PM

Hey, could you pass back a question to LT Bill? When I served in GWI in Saudi/Southern Iraq, we captured a really freakin' large lizard, and I was wondering what species it was. It looked like a big tan iguana, except its belly was kind of rounded out on the sides, like an iguana that had swallowed a frying pan. It was basically brown, and had a kind of elongated octagonal shaped head. It was about 5 feet long from nose to tail-tip, of which maybe 2 feet was body. It had some spikes on its back, which were rarely up. It was wicked cool to look at and completely foul tempered, and would bite the living shit out of anybody who got near it, though the guy who kept it seemed to reach a rapprochement with the vile mannered thing. So we put it on a leash and kept it for a while, taking it for walks around the revetments and painting a unit patch on its back and feeding it meat. Eventually, it got so foul tempered we had to let it run off into the desert before it seriously harmed anybody. I was wondering if the LT had any idea what species that was, or in the alternative, if he'd run across a strange new species of desert lizard with an apparently naturally occurring Big Red One dress patch on its back. (Okay, so PETA should sue me.)

Of course the thing probably never reproduced, especially not if the local lady lizards were aware of the semiotics of the 1ID patch...

Posted by: Blackavar at April 19, 2005 07:11 PM

You definitely provided enough info to burn up my half hour today. I'm sure I'll check out other links and do a lot of cross-referencing with the key, my pictures, and a dictionary. Thank you very much. I'll share pictures as I ID a critter.

Posted by: Bill Barthen at April 20, 2005 01:34 AM

There's only one lizard that big in SA, Blackavar, so odds are what you saw was a Varanus griseus, aka the desert monitor.

They're known to be foul tempered, as well.

Posted by: Bigwig at April 20, 2005 11:29 AM

Known to be foul tempered, eh? This one was meaner than the ex-girlfriend who tried to stab me.

Good call, Bigwig. This is roughly what he looked like:, except with a 1ID patch on his back. And angrier.

Posted by: Blackavar at April 20, 2005 12:03 PM

Looks like I've got both the Mediterranean and yellow-bellied house geckos in my building. I still don't know about the long-toed one. I'll keep surfing for comparative photos.

Now, where do I find a reference for skinks and frogs?

Posted by: Bill Barthen at April 22, 2005 06:43 AM

Sid just sent this about frogs: If that's the one Khalaf says is here, I've befinitely found it. However, the two dead on road (DOR) frogs I've observed looked strikingly different from one another. There could be quite a bit of variation in appearance based on size and sex.

Also, there are toad-like tadpoles swimming in my fake lake and I've photographed some small anurans. They look like Bufonids, so they may be Bufo viridus, but I'm not sure what Khalaf said about them.

Happy wildlife observations...

Posted by: Bill Barthen at April 28, 2005 03:04 AM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?