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April 25, 2005

Reptiles of Iraq: Geckos of the Hemodactylus Genus

From Kamel T. Khalaf's Reptiles of Iraq.

An initial key to the various Iraqi members of the Family Gekkonidae may be see here. Links to the intra-genus keys will be added there as each is posted.

Genus Hemidactylus
Eyelids absent. Pupil vertical. Digits, proximally strongly dilated, inferiorly with two rows of lamellae; terminal phalanges (joints) slender, bent, and rising from within the extremity of the dilated portion (Fig. 2)

Head covered above, with small scales. Dorsal scales not imbricate, granular, uniform or intermixed with larger tubercles .Males with preanal and/or femoral pores. Claws compressed.

Key To The Species Of Hemidactylus
1. Upper surface with small granules. Upper labials usually more than 12. Usually more than ten lower labials - H. flaviviridis

Upper surface with small granules mixed with larger tubercles. Upper labials usually less than 12. Usually less than ten lower labials - 2

2.. Small species. Ear opening not quite half the diameter of the eye. 7-10 upper and 6-9 lower labials. 4-10 preanal pores - H. turcicus

Larger species. Ear opening larger. 10-12 upper and 8-10 lower labials. 8-13 preanal pores - H. persicus

Species order here is slightly different from the order in which they appear in Khalaf's book. As best as I can tell, he has arranged them by size; whereas I have chosen list them as they appear in the key above. Also, Prof. Khalaf appends the name of the initial descriptor or taxonomic classifier of the various geckos to the end of each species name. In the interests of making the descriptions less confusing for the laymen, I've dropped those as well.

Hemidactylus flaviviridis - aka Common House Lizard, and perhaps the Yellow-bellied House Gecko. Not sure I trust the ID on the second link.

Large species. Upper surface with small granules. Ear opening rather large, oval, oblique. 12-15 upper and 10-12 lower labials. Males with 5-7 femoral pores under each thigh. Greyish above, with indistinct darker transverse bands.

Head covered with minute granules posteriorly, with larger ones anteriorly. Abdominal scales moderate, cycloid, and imbricate. Tail swollen at base, depressed, flat inferiorly, covered above with small smooth scales and 4-6 longitudinal series of conical tubercles, inferiorly with a median series of transversely dilated plates. Digits strongly dilated; nearly straight lamellae inferiorly (Fig. 3).

Greenish grey, with five transverse, broad, undulating, greenish brown bands; the first on the neck, the, fifth on the loin, and all edged white posteriorly. Tail similarly banded above, and the white edgings are often more conspicuous. A pale band through the eye on the side of the head, margined with dark above and below, and generally becoming obsolete on the neck. The animal changes its coloration rapidly in life; sometimes the bands turn almost to blackish-brown, and at another time they become obsolete. Below white. In spirit the brown fades.

Translation: "In spirit" - when preserved

Hemidactylus turcicus - (Khalaf calls this a Turkish gecko. It's better known as the Mediterranean Gecko

Small, species, not more than four inches in length. Back of head and upper part of the body covered with minute granules mixed with larger tubercles. Ear opening oblique, not quite half the diameter of the eye. 7-10 upper and 6-9 lower labials. Males with 4-10 (rarely 2) pre-anal pores. Body covered with 14-16 longitudinal rows of warts of which some are white and the others blackish. Dorsally spotted with darker color.

In the head, the gular region with small granules. Nostril between the rostral, first labial, and two or three small scales (nasals). Tubercles over the back arranged in 14-16 fairly regular longitudinal series. Belly with smooth, rounded, imbricate scales. Tail subcylindrical, covered above with minute, pointed scales and series of 6-8 pointed tubercles; below with imbricate scales and a median series of transversely enlarged plates.

Toes enlarged at their base. Extremities of the toes being free. The plates on the under surface of the discs arranged in double rows.

Hue of the upper parts being greyish brown spotted with darker color. Many of the tubercles being while. A dark streak on the side of head. It is able to change color, being white at night and dark in daytime. Lower surface dirty white.

Hemidactylus persicus - aka the Persian Gecko. So far, I've not found a picture of this species on the web.

Very closely allied to H. turcicus. H. persicus, however, is a larger species; the ear opening large, oblique, crescentic, and the concavity being directed forward and upwards; 10-12 upper and 8-10 lower labials. Males with 8-13 preanal pores. With six faint, brownish, transverse, narrow, dorsal bands.

Hinder part of the head covered with minute granules and scattered ones of a larger size. Upper surface of the body covered with small, flat granules and moderately large trihedral, strongly keeled tubercles. Abdominal, scales small, smooth, rounded, imbricate. Tail cylindrical, tapering; covered above with small, irregular, imbricate, smooth scales and scattered tubercles; inferiorly with a series of transversely dilated plates.

Pale yellowish brown with six faint, brownish, transverse, narrow, dorsal bands. A dark brown streak from the nostrils through the eye above, the ear, with a whitish line above it.

Previously: Unidentified Gecko Emergency

Next: The Rough-Tailed Gecko

See Also: Birds of Iraq, Insects of Iraq, Fishes of Iraq

Posted by Bigwig at April 25, 2005 11:18 AM | TrackBack
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