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Pachydactylus geitje (SPARRMAN 1778)

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

Pachydactylus geitje
Young male of Pachydactylus geitje. © M. Barts.

Pachydactylus geitje
Male of Pachydactylus geitje from Sutherland. © J. Marais.

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

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

Pachydactylus geitje
Clutch of Pachydactylus geitje. © M. Barts.

Pachydactylus geitje
Captive born hatchlings of Pachydactylus geitje. © F. Colacicco


Originalbeschreibung / Original description:

SPARRMANN (1778): Beskrifning och Berattels om Lacerta Geitje, en obekant och giftig Ödla. — Göteborgs Königl. Vetensk.-Witterh. Samhället, 1: 75 — Terra typica: South Africa

We are often complaining about the weather in our old country, but it is also not the best. Although it has its good sides and its bad sides. If the climate should have been warmer we could drink our own Constantia and other wines produced here. We could have our own grapes, lemon, Pomerans in the gardens. But I must also remind you that we also should have many different scorpions, snakes, evil animals and among these creatures, the very poisonous lizard Geitje. It is rarely seen, but the bite is painful. You do not die immidately, unfortunately, you will have a long time planning and waiting for you dead. It will take a half year to a year, when you will have a lousy life, when pieces of your body will die. The pieces will be rotten and have an odour, before they will fall of. Among the stories I has heard and collected about this poisonous creature, it is told that the bite is impossible to cure and that they fear it a lot. Only in one case a slave from the east-indian islands has cured a women-slave from the bite. Unfortunately the slave is dead, so we can not find out what kind of herbs he used, except lemon or pomerans.

The lizard is living in drier areas, called Karrow-Feld, and also in the coastprovince Sitsikamma. It is known as ‘tGeitje (Hottentott language).

To pronounce the apostrophe ‘t and the first part Gei- you must press the tongue to the roof of the mouth. If you do not do that nobody would understand what oyou are talking about. It is very easy to say ‘tNeitje instead and that is a small piece of skin that the girls use, instead of a fig-leaf, as Eva did.

I do not know if I have seen this lizard alive unless I has had one in my pocket when bathing south of Hollandsberg and without knowing what kind of treasure I had in my pocket as I took up a paper from my pocket and a lizard escaped from the paper. It is common in Sitsikamma, under stones and in an coast-area. I have looked for it in february without finding any. Therefore I will desribe it from a specimen kept in Spiritu vini.
Size: As the picture shows, nearly 3 inch long, The tail is a little shorter then the body.

Colour, the chin, throat, belly, the inner side of the toes, legs and thighs is whitish; but darkish and a little speckled on the rest of the body, except for the Eyes that are Blue with a white pupil.

Body not covered by large scales but by small thightly scales, larger and pointed on the back. Along the maxillar there is a row of larger and flatter scales with the same colour as the throat, with a darker dot on each side. They are larger in the middle or in the front. They are 12 to 14.

The Tail are pointed, very thick in the middle and not any thinner than the body except in the both ends of the tail.

The Toes, five on each foot, without nails and claws. So the Geitjen would be a larva, who had to go through evolution to become a full lizard, with claws. The tail easily falls off, almost without ant violence, and a yellow substance (wax-like) submerge. Geitjen was also said to be slow in motions.
Translation by: Anders Wahlström (Sveden).


Pachydactylus bergii Wiegmann, 1834

Herpetologica mexicana, seu Descriptio Amphibiorum Novae Hispaniae quae Itineribus comitis de Sack, Ferdinandi Deppe et Chr. Guil. Schiede in Museum Zoologium Berolinensee Perverunt. Pars prima. Saurorum species. — Berolini, 1834: 19 – Species typica: Africa meridionale

Originalbeschreibung/Original description: Digiti breviusculi, exungues, crassiusculi, sub ipso apice tantum obsolete lamellosi, ceterum squamoso-verrucosi, pollex reliquorum subaequalium longitudine.