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Pachydactylus fasciatus BOULENGER 1888

 

The original work is pblished in SAURIA, Berlin, 2002, 24 (1): 3–8.
 

Distribution and biotope

Pachydactylus fasciatus is endemic to northern Namibia. Its distribution reaches from the southern Kaokoveld to the Karibib District. The species inhabits arid savannahs with vegetation consisting of Mopane bushes (Colophospermum mopane), blackthorn (Acacia melifera) and Karoo-Namib-strubbery. Here the geckos inhabit loose stones occasionally lying on the sandy ground and tight rock cracks (Bauer 1991). Climate is dominated by temperature extremes. The town Tsumeb shows a day-maximum of 55°C and a minimum of 10°C during summertime. Winter temperastures are between 45°C during daytime and -4°C at night. Yearly rainfall is 200-450mm. (Höller & Stranz  n.a.)


Pachydactylus fasciatus
Habitat of Pachydactylus fasciatus. NW-Namibia. © M. Barts

According to Bauer (1991), they share this habitat with Pachydactylus punctatus, P. bicolor and Chondrodactylus turneri. Collective clutches of P. fasciatus and P. punctatus where even found under the same piece of rock (Bauer et al. 1993).

 

Captivity and breeding 

Pachydactylus fasciatus, like every gecko of the genus, is nocturnal. Its activity period in captivity starts shortly after the lights have been switched off. No activity could be observed after midnight. Anyway, the geckos can be observed during daytime regularely while eating and drinking. During breeding season, both genders produce short calls. When catching animals from the tanks, squeaking and cheeping sounds could be observed frequently (Mertens 1946), which differ from the first mentioned sounds. No sounds could be noted by juveniles. The geckos shed every four to six weeks, whereas they usually shed in one piece and eat the skin. Remaining skin is usually ignored.

Pachydactylus fasciatus
Adult male of Pachydactylus fasciatus. © M. Barts

Pachydactylus fasciatus
Adult female of Pachydactylus fasciatus. © M. Barts

Two pairs of the species where housed seperately in two tanks for more than 5 years. It’s also possible to keep two or three females with a male, as the females don’t show any aggression among eachother. The set-up is equal to the one used for Pachydactylus tsodiloensis (Barts, Boone & Hulbert 2001), as most Pachydactylus species can be kept and bred under similar conditions. The diet consists of Drosophila, crickets, grasshoppers and meel beatles in appropriate sizes, which are dusted with vitamins and minerals (e.g. Korvimin ZVT®). The tank is misted once a week and vitamins are added to the water from time to time.

Pachydactylus fasciatus
Gravid female of Pachydactylus fasciatus. NW-Namibia. © M. Barts

Subject to a good feeding, each female produced four to six clutches a year during spring, which where borrowed under loose sand. 80 per cent of the  author’s clutches consisted of 2 eggs, while the rest only consisted of 1 egg. The  oval eggs are white and measure 8.8-9.5 x 10.2-12 mm (average of 10.9 x 8.9 mm, n=20). The egg shells are on average 33 micrometers thick (Röll 2001). Eggs found in the natural habitat measured 11.3 x 9 mm and 11.5 x 8.9 mm, whichis in line with the above data.

Pachydactylus fasciatus
Clutch of Pachydactylus fasciatus. © M. Barts

The eggs were incubated at 25–28 °C at night and 30–31 °C during daytime. The geckos hatch after a period of 48 to 72 days (average of 56.3 day, n=14). The hatchlings measure 18.7 to 21.4 mm SVL (average of 20.2 mm, n=12) and 19.4 to 25.6,, total lengths (average of 22.5 mm, n=12). The clutches should be incubated separately in small boxes to prevent hatchlings to move other eggs, which might lead to the dead of the embryo.

Pachydactylus fasciatus 
Hatch of Pachydactylus fasciatus. © M. Barts


Captive born hatchling of Pachydactylus fasciatus. © M. Barts


The author uses tanks of sizes 25 x 25 x 25 or 20 x 25 x 30 (l x w x h) to raise the hatchlings, whith no more than 3 individuals per tank, as the pschologic pressure usually leads to dead animals in larger groups. Raising the hatchlings individually can be regarded as the optimum. The diet is similar to the adults, but insects need to have an appropriate size. Juveniles are fed twice a week.

During the years, three geckos hatched with mutilated fore foots. Toes were missing or grown together. These geckos didn’t move by wakking, but by jumping on their rear legs. Although food was accepted and growth was observed, all geckos died within two to three months.

The adults show no aggression toward their offsprings and an attempt to keep the hatchlinsg with adults didn’t cause any problems. The juvenile gecko was even found in the hiding place of the adults and no jealousy about food was observed. To ensure a constant control of the juvenile gecko, it was finally removed from its parent’s tank. Swatek (in lit.) succeeded with raising an offspring completely in the tank of its parents. Breeding season ends during fall. Seperation of pairs isn’t necessary.
Healthy animals reach their sexual maturity with about 3 years, although females may start producing infertile eggs during their second year.

 

Pachydactylus fasciatus
Few weeks old baby of Pachydactylus fasciatus. © M. Barts

Originalbeschreibung / Original description

BOULENGER, G.A. (1888): On new or little- known South- African Reptiles. — Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Ser. 6, 2: 138 — Terra typica: Damaraland, South West Africa

Head oviform, very distinct from neck; snout a little longerthan the diameterof the orbit; ear-opening small, oval, not half the diameter of the eye. Snout covered with enlarged oval granules; hinder part of head with minute granules, intermixed with oval, smooth, or obtusely keeled tubercles; naso-rostrals in contact; eight or nine upper and seven lower labials; mental twice as long as broad, narrower than the neighbouring labials; no chin-shields. Upper parts covered with minute granules intermixed with large trihedral tubercles forming eighteen longitudinal series; ventral scales moderate. Digits dilated at the end; nine lamellae under the dilated part of the median toes. Tail with transverse series of pointed, keeled tubercles; lower surface with enlarged, imbricate, smooth scales. Pale brown above, with dark brown transverse bands, which are more distinct in the young than in the adult; a dark brown horseshoe-shaped streak round the back of the head and passing through the eyes; three cross bands on the body, the first and second very broad, the third across the sacrum, from eight to ten on the tail.

Total length: 107 mm
Head: 15 mm
Width of head: 10,5 mm
Body: 34 mm
Fore limb: 17 mm
Hindlimb: 22 mm
Tail: 58 mm
 

Closely allied to P. Bibonii; distinguished by a less stout habit, smaller size, smaller ear-opening, and in coloration.