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Pachydactylus montanus METHUEN & HEWITT 1914


Originalpublikation erschienen in SAURIA, Berlin, 2009, 31 (4): 3–8.


Size: largest male in author's collection 37,79 + 41,73 mm (SVL+TL), largest female 43,47 + 34,28 mm (tail regenerated); tails regenerate rapidly, assume yellowish ground colour of body and develop dark markings; difficult to distinguish from originals.

Pachydactylus montanus
Adult female of Pachydactylus montanus. S-Namibia. © M. Barts

Pachydactylus montanus
Adult male of Pachydactylus montanus. S-Namibia. © M. Barts

Distribution: Namibia and South Africa on either side of Orange River; S.A.: from Kakamas to Vioolsdrif; Nam: east to Fish River Canyon, west to northern Karasberg Mts., north to Keetmanshoop; isolated populations around Lüderitz, north of Rosh Pinah, on Farm Olyvenkolk near Kenhardt, and on Farm Houmoed in Tiras Mts. 30 km E of Aus; altitude up to 2225 m a.s.l.; local sympatries with P. purcelli, P. serval, P. haackei, Chondrodactylus bibronii, C. turneri laevigatus, Narudasia festiva (new sympatry record).

Natural habitat: in rocky terrain offering rock fissures that are dark, very tight and cool.

Pachydactylus montanus
Habitat of Pachydactylus montanus. S-Namibia. © M. Barts

Pachydactylus montanus
Clutch of Pachydactylus montanus. S-Namibia. © M. Barts

Pachydactylus montanus
Captive born hatchling of Pachydactylus montanus. © M. Barts

Ethology, husbandry, reproduction: nocturnal, becoming active shortly after dark; habituated specs. in terr. may bask, feed and drink during the day; adults of both sexes emit calls during breeding season; shed at 4–6 week-intervals, in one piece, consume shed skin; kept in pairs or groups of 1,2 or 1,3; females ignorant of each other; terr. as described in Barts (2007, 2008); adults are fed twice/week with Drosophila, crickets, grasshoppers, wax worms of appropriate size, juvs. every 2-3 d to an age of 4 months; all food dusted with mineral/vitamin powder; misted 1-2/week, misting water occasionally fortified with liquid vitamin preparation; 4-8 clutches per year; eggs buried in loose sand; mostly two white, oval eggs per clutch; eggs measure 9.05–10.8 ´ 6.18–7.85 mm (av. 9.8 ´ 7.34 mm, n=33); incubated in individual small boxes (to prevent hatchlings from rolling over other eggs) in "Jäger Kunstglucke", at 25–28°C (night) and 28–30°C (day); incubation period 45-82 d (av. 70 d, n=24); hatchlings measure 17.42–20.15 (av. 18.92 mm, n=10) + 14.51–20.13 mm (av. 18.34 mm, n=10), weigh 0.13–0.20 g (av. 0.16 g, n=4); raised one by one in plastic boxes 11 ´ 18 ´ 7 cm (l´w´h) at 28–32°C; adults ignore hatchlings in their terrarium; breeding season ends in autumn when temperatures are reduced; separating the sexes is unnecessary; juveniles mature after 1 yr., but females begin laying infertile eggs from 9 mths.; should not be used for breeding before 1.5 yrs. of age.

Pachydactylus montanus
Captive born hatchling of Pachydactylus montanus. © M. Barts


Originalbeschreibung / Original description

METHUEN, P.A. & J. HEWITT (1914): Records and Description of the Reptiles and Batrachians of the Collection. — Ann. Transvaal Mus., 4(3): 129 — Terra typica: Lord Hill's Peak in the Great Karas Mountains, at an altitude of 7800 feet, Type, T. M. Cat. Kept. No. 3080 in the Transvaal Museum.

A single example from Lord Hill's Peak in the Great Karas Mountains, at an altitude of 7800 feet, Type, T. M. Cat. Kept. No. 3080 in the Transvaal Museum.

Related to P. weberi, Roux (Zool. Jahrb. 25, 1907, p. 408, Taf. 14,Fig. 4,5): the differences therefrom are mentioned later.

Description: head rather large: head and body depressed. Snout one and a half times as long as the diameter of the orbit. Ear-opening elliptic nearly vertically oblique. Third toe bears inferiorly seven lamellae. Rostral, which is about twice as broad as deep, enters the nostril. The latter is pierced between two postnasals, naso-rostral, first labial, and rostral. Naso-rostrals in contact. The first labial is not pentagonal as described for P. weberi, but normal, i.e. four-sided. The symphysial is practically as deep as the adjoining labials, not as broad : it is a little more than twice as deep as broad. Labials 9/9 on the one, 10/9 on the other side.

The dorsal lepidosis is heterogeneous. The granules on the snout are enlarged and are twice or a little more than twice as large as the granules on the back. On the back mixed with the small granules are tubercles of moderate size somewhat flattened but keeled : these tubercles are quite seperate from one another and arranged more or less in longitudinal lines: on the flanks however they are close together, less regularly arranged and less flattened. The tubercles on the back lose themselves gradually on the back of the head and behind the eyes. Further, there is a narrow mid-dorsal area on the back free of tubercles. Below, the scales are sub-imbricate, those in middle, of belly slightly larger than those on the sides thereof.

The scutellation of the tail differs from that of P. weberi. The tail is the original one, the tip only (8 mm.) having been regenerated. It is divided into a number of segments, each segment carrying dorsally four to five transverse rows of scales: marking each segment is a single row of flattened moderately keeled tubercles.

Colour and markings in life: behind the head a dark horse-shoe band, and across the back a number of dark ferruginous broken bands, some forming large ocelli, others in the form of vermiculations: tail with broken cross-bars. Rest of upper surface purplish grey inclining on flanks and between eyes to olive: a lighter streak behind the upper lip and over the ear: the lips still lighter. A light yellowish streak from the anterior border of the eye to the snout. Anterior and posterior borders of the eye yellow. Tail and limbs more of an olive colour than the body. Lower parts grey. Length, 43,2 + 43,5 mm.

This species is the only known representative of the capensis group in which the rostral enters the nostril; it is also distinct from weberi in the character and disposition of the dorsal tubercles, in the scutellation of the tail, and in the shape of the first labial.

Two specimens were seen: they were occupying crevices in the rocks on the steep sides of the mountain.



Pachydactylus serval onscepensis HEWITT, 1935

Some new forms of batrachians and reptiles from South Africa. — Rec. Albany Mus., 4(2): 318 — Terra typica: Onscephans on the Orange River


Type: A single female specimen from Onscephans on the Orange River, not far from Pella, collected by Dr. H. Maughan Brown and presented to the AlbanyMuseum. It is possibly related to the Namaqualand species fasciatus Blgr. (Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 6 II, p. 138), but the nostril character is different, and according to the figure given by Werner, based on a specimen from Kamaggas (Jenaische Denkschriften XVI, p. 312, in Schultze, Forschungsreise in Sudafrika), the dorsal scutellation and pattern are also very different.

The distinctive feature of onscepensis lies in the form of the symphisial scale: this is much elongate, about 2 1/2 times as long as broad, and narrowing considerably from front to back: the first lower labial is also much elongate, but narrows only slightly, and the posterior width considerably exceeds that of the symphisial but anterior width is about the same as the symphisial. Head elongate, snout rather narrow. Third lower labial also elongate and much longer (deeper) than broad when measured along the anterior margin, but only slightly longer or not at all so when measured along the posterior margin: the third labial is a little broader than deep and the succeeding labials much broader than deep. Nasorostrals in short contact. Rostral, first labial and three nasals bordering the nostril. The flat scales on the snout much larger than those on the occiput but only a little larger than those over the mesial area of the back. The scales of the back are nearly free of enlarged tubercles over a rather wide mesial area, but keeled flattened tubercles occur laterally: these tubercles are well separated from each by scales. On the occiput there are no well marked tubercles. The tail is long and slender and gently tapering: most of it is reproduced: the two remaining basal segments of the original tail have each a row of about 6 flattened feebly keeled tubercles dorsally. Belly scales all flat and imbricate: there is an area of considerably enlarged scales in the pelvic region. The digital pads are unusually large and spreading: 6 lamellae on the three largest toes, 5 on the other two: also a row of considerably enlarged scales under the digits mesially: the claw is very slender but relatively long.

Length from snout to vent 41 mm.: tail 40. Colour generally pale with numerous brown spots over the back: these are fairly large, more or less oval or round and disposed rather irregularly: a few brown marks also on the head.

Dr. Maughan Brown has also sent me a related gecko from Kakamas which seems to connect the form above described with purcelli Blgr. This specimen has no tubercles or enlarged scales over the dorsal surfaces of body and limbs except for one or two isolated scales posteriorly on each side just above the inguinal region, and these are only slightly enlarged. The rostral just enters the nostril and the first labial also enters, but on one side only narrowly so. Snout pointed, symphisial elongate and narrowed behind but not so much so as in onscepensis. Tail rather conspicuously ringed with enlarged scales. A zigzag white black-edged crossband over the neck and a white black-edged crossband over the chest region, also one less conspicuous over the inguinal region.