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Pachydactylus weberi ROUX 1907

The original article is published in SAURIA, Berlin.

Appearance: SVL breeding female 44.4 + 52.4 mm, male 40.45 + 37.48 mm; rostral (sometimes also 1st supralabial) not in touch with nostril; dorsal and head scales smooth and round, much larger on snout than in interorbital and parietal region; dorsals heterogenous, with conical or weakly keeled tubercles in 16-22 rows; scales on thighs also keeled; toes relatively short, thickened terminally; 5 entire subdigital lamellae under 4th toe; basic coloration of adults light brown to pale orange, with 3 white, pale yellow, pale pink or ash-grey bands (1 always across nape, 2 across body; juveniles like adults but more contrasting.
Distribution/Natural Habitat: western parts of Northern Cape to west of Western Cape Provinces, South Africa, and Aurus Mountains (Namibia); xeric to semixeric savannas, in rocky situations offering crevices or cavities for shelter, active on rock surfaces and on the ground.
Behaviour: fairly swift, agile, nocturnal; males territorial; vocalization from adults a 1-2 s series of squeaks (noted only during maintenance work in their terraria).

Pachydactylus weberi
Adult male of Pachydactylus weberi. N-South Africa. © M. Barts.

Pachydactylus weberi
Pachydactylus weberi from near Calvinia.  © J. Marais.

Terrarium: undemanding; cubic terr. of 30 cm suitable for 1 pair; must be highly structured as rocky habitat, and offer large number of shelters both cool/humid and warm/dry, but always dark; sandy substrate (not too fine-grained or sharp-edged); misting twice/week to facilitate drinking of drops and for maintaining humidity in shelters; quality of illumination irrelevant, needs to simulate photoperiod (12/12 h) only; hotspot (6 h over noon) directed at rock surface; 25-32C, hotspot 40C, temperatures must be highly structured throughout terr.; all common foods (of appropriate size) accepted; source of calcium must be freely available; adults are fed every 3-4, juvs. every 23 d with 10-15 small items each, all fortified with vitamin/mineral/amino acid powder; overwintering (4-6 weeks at 18-24C with reduced availability of food) not necessary in principle, but beneficial nevertheless.

Pachydactylus weberi, Nieuwoudtville, South Africa © A. Meyer

Pachydactylus weberi
Habitat of Pachydactylus weberi. N-South Africa. © F. Hulbert.

Pachydactylus weberi
Adult male of Pachydactylus weberi. N-South Africa. © M. Barts.
Pachydactylus weberi
Maiting of Pachydactylus weberi in a terraium. 
© F. Colacicco.

Breeding: easy when kept in suitable environment, at right temperatures and with sufficient food; males not as obnoxious as in related species; copulation takes about 1/2 h, several times/night; one copulation may enable female to lay 2-3 fertile clutches; gravid females will not mate again; lay eggs 2-3 weeks later; dig 1-2 cm-deep test holes in dry sand at 26–28C; eggs hard-shelled, whitish, 7.9-10.4 (Ø 9.29 mm) 5.6-10.5 (7.18 mm) (n=58) mm; oviposition spot carefully closed under small heap of sand; incubated at 27–30C eggs take 44-91 days (Ø 64) (n=40) to hatch; hatchlings 16.6-19.7 (Ø 18.1 mm) + 15.3-18.2 mm (16.63 mm) (n=15); low and very high temp. produce males; females produce clutches every 2-4 weeks if fed a healthy and varying diet and adequate amounts; sexes should be separated in autumn to terminate laying period; hatchlings best raised in small containers with simple layout (sand, shelter); siblings may be raised together; some degree of rel. humidity crucial; 26-28C; fed every 2–3 d with small feeder animals (fruitflies are ideal even though they can manage surprisingly large items); free source of calcium essential; offspring females should not be used for breeding before 1.5 yrs. of age; 8 month-old female produced viable clutch and continued to produce another 4 after separation from male.

Pachydactylus weberi
Clutch of Pachydactylus weberi © M. Barts.

Pachydactylus weberi
Hatch of Pachydactylus weberi © M. Barts.

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

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

Pachydactylus weberi
Three month old juvenile of Pachydactylus weberi © M. Barts.

Pachydactylus weberi
6 month olf juvenile of Pachydactylus weberi © M. Barts.



Originalbeschreibung / Original description 

ROUX, J. (1907): Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Fauna von Südafrika. Ergebnisse einer Reise von Prof. Max Weber im Jahre 1894 VII. Lacertilia (Eidechsen). — Zool. Jahrb., Abt. Syst., 25: 408, Taf. 14, Fig. 4+5 — Terra typica: W. Klipfontein, Kl.-Namaqualand.



W. Klipfontein, Kl.-Namaqualand. 4 Expl.

Kopf eiförmig, länger als bei P. capensis. Schnauze 11/2 mal so lang wie der Augendurchmesser. Tympanum oval, schief gelegen. Kopf und Körper sehr niedergedrückt. Gliedmaßen mäßig lang. Finger ziemlich schlank, mit einer distalen Erweiterung, deren Unterseite 5—6 Lamellen trägt.

Schwanz niedergedrückt, deutliche Ringe zeigend.

Schnauze zwischen dem Auge und der Nasalöffnung jederseits etwas gewölbt, mit konvexen Körnchen bedeckt, die größer sind als die des Rückens. Oberfläche des Kopfs und dessen Seiten mit ganz feinen Körnchen bedeckt, die mit rundlichen Tuberkeln gemischt sind. Diese Kopftuberkeln nie größer als die des Rückens. Nasorostrale Schilder voneinander getrennt oder vorn nur eine kleine Strecke miteinander in Berührung. Zwischen beiden ein Körnchen. Rostrale 11/2 mal so breit wie hoch. Der zwischen dem Nasorosralen befindliche Winkel stumpfer als bei P. capensis.

Oberlabiale 9—10 an der Zahl. Das erstere deutlich pentagonal, ebenso hoch oder manchmal höher als breit, stets mit der Nasalöffnung in Berührung, was bei P. capensis nicht vorkommt (siehe Fig. 5).

8-9 Unterlabiale. Die 2 vordem Paare breiter als das Mentale. Letzteres mindestens 2rnal so hoch wie breit, nach hinten an Breite etwas abnehmend. Die hintere Seite dieser 5 Schuppen eine fast gerade Linie bildend.

Rücken mit kleinen, unregelmäßigen, sehr schwach konvexen Schüppchen oder Körnchen bedeckt, die pflasterförmig angeordnet sind. Zwischen diesen Schüppchen sehr große, leicht gekielte, ovale Tuberkel in mehr oder weniger regelmäßigen longitudinalen Serien angeordnet.

Sie sind etwas flacher als bei P. capensis. Die mediodorsalen Reihen weniger konvex und schwächer gekielt als die lateralen. Auf den Körperseiten sind die Tuberkel rundlicher und zahlreicher; sie verleihen dieser Gegend ein grobgranulöses Aussehen. Bauchschuppen übereinanderstehend, von vorn nach hinten an Größe zunehmend.

Gliedmaßen mit derselben Beschuppung wie der Rücken, aber mehr Tuberkel zeigend. Schwanz ziemlich lang mit deutlichen Ringen. Schüppchen glatt, klein und in unregelmäßigen Ringen angeordnet. Außerdem größere Tuberkel, auch in ringförmigen Reihen.

Diese Tuberkel länglicher und stärker gekielt als die des Rückens. Die auf der obern und den seitlichen Flächen des Schwanzes sichtbaren Ringe sind durch 2—3 Schüppchenreihen voneinander getrennt.

Unterseite des Schwanzes mit großen, glatten, hexagonalen, übereinanderstehenden Schuppen versehen; die der Medianreihe breiter als die andern. Hauptfärbung hellbraun mit dunklern Zeichnungen auf dem Rücken und auf dem Schwanz. 5—6 dorsale, nicht immer regelmäßige Querstreifen; außerdem kleine, zerstreute Flecke. Gliedmaßen und Kopf auch mit kleinen braunen Tupfen. Kopf heller als der Körper, gelblich gefärbt Ein dunkler Streif von der Nasalöffnung durch das Auge bis oberhalb des Tym-panums reichend und dann mit dem gegenüberstehenden Streif auf dem Hinterkopf zusammentreffend und hier eine Wförmige Figur bildend. Unterseite des Leibs weiß, fleckenlos.


86 mm









Diese Species ist zwischen

P. capensis


P. formosus

zu stellen. Von diesen Arten ist sie durch die Beschuppung des Körpers, die Zahl und Form der Labialen und des Mentale und die Körperzeichnung leicht zu unterscheiden.



Pachydactylus weberi gariesensis HEWITT, 1932

Some new Species and Subspecies of South African Batrachians and Lizards. — Ann. Natal Mus., 7: 124, Pl. VI, fig. 8,9 – Terra typica: Garris


This description is based on nine specimens collected at Garies by Mr. B. Peers; they are now no. 17953 in the collection of the South African Museum. The relationship is with weberi Roux, now regarded as a form of capensis.

They differ from the type of weberi—which came from Klipfontein, a more northern locality of the same region—in the following respects: Naso-rostrals in contact; occiput covered with small scales, but lacking enlarged tubercles; dorsal surface of body without definite cross stripes, but with numerous dark spots.

I have not been able to examine a series of typical weberi. There is, however, a specimen in the South African Museum from Karibib which differs greatly from the Garies series, in that the occiput has many tubercles which are quite as large as the flat scales on the snout; but this specimen has the naso­rostrals united.

The Garies specimens have the following characters: The flattened enlarged scales on the snout are very much larger than any of the scales on the occiput, the latter being all small and granular, and likewise those of the interorbital region, except anteriorly, where they merge with the enlarged scales on the snout; on the dorsal surface of the neck a few small tubercles; dorsal tubercles of body fairly large and keeled, but flat, those over the mesial area decidedly smaller and not so closely approximated as those more laterally situated, which are more tubercular and densely disposed; belly with rather large flat scales, those on the breast smaller, those on throat all very minute. Naso-rostrals sometimes broadly in contact, some­times only narrowly so; in one young example only just meeting.

First labial either just entering the nostril or narrowly excluded therefrom. Symphysial shield narrowed behind, being there scarcely more than half the width of first labial. Toes with 5 complete subdigital lamellae at the expanded tips; also a median row of somewhat enlarged scales under the digit.

The tail is round and tapering, strongly segmented, each segment having posteriorly an incomplete ring of large, strongly keeled scales dorsally and laterally, about 8 such scales per segment. Ventral scales of tail large, smooth and fiat.

Dorsal surfaces of head, body and tail with numerous dark spots, some longitudinally elongated, others transversely elongate; in the adult these are scattered, but indistinct traces of cross-bands may occur. On each side of the occiput is a curved dark stripe starting from the orbit and posteriorly bend­ing inwards towards its neighbour: this stripe may be broken in the middle.

Young with conspicuous dark cross stripes on hinder part of head, on neck, body and tail. On the tail these form complete rings except in the basal third of tail. On head and body there are about 7 such cross-stripes, some of them broken or imperfect; on the tail about 10 or 11 broad dark bands.

Head and body 42, tail 39 mm.

More recently Mr. Peers has sent to me a series of Pachydactylus, collected between Garies and Kamiesberg, also a single specimen from Van Rhynsdorp. These also I refer to P. gariesensis, although in the majority of specimens the nostril character is the same as in other forms of capensis; in a few examples only does the first labial enter the nostril, and even then only on one side.

In all cases the body and tail are depressed. The head and body-scaling shows much resemblance to affinis Blgr., and the chief striking difference is in the tail character. In affinis the tail is not segmented, and has no enlarged or otherwise modified scales along the mid-ventral line; in gariesensis there is in young examples a continuous row of transversely enlarged scales midventrally, which now persists more or less distinctly in the adult, although near the base of the tail there are a number of enlarged scales less definitely arranged. Thus, in the caudal characters gariesensis is more like bibroni than the Transvaal or Rhodesian forms of capensis. The tail of typical capensis is, however, distinctly segmented, but not so pronouncedly so as in gariesensis, and is not so depressed as in that subspecies.

The distinguishing features of gariesensis therefore are as follows: The tail as above described, the granular scales of the chin region, the elongate symphysial shield twice as long as its basal breadth, the pointed snout, the much flattened dorsal surfaces, the transversely enlarged row of subdigital scales, and the general lack of raised tubercles on the occiput, although flattened round tubercles do occur there and over the fore part of the neck. Any enlarged occipital scales that may be present are not so large as the scales over the snout.

The structural and geographical relationships of this form to weberi and formosus, which occur in the same region, cannot be fully understood until more collecting has been done; weberi is apparently more northern in distribution, but formosus is believed to extend widely.


Pachydactylus capensis levyi FITZSIMONS, 1933

Description of five new lizards from the Transvaal and Southern Rhodesia. — Ann. Transvaal Mus., 15: 273 — Terra typica: Wankie, Southern Rhodesia, collected by B. Levy, January, 1931.


Type: A half-grown male (T.M. No. 14421) from Wankie, Southern Rhodesia, collected by B. Levy, January, 1931.

Description: Head oviform, a little broader than neck. Snout obtuse, distinctly longer than diameter of orbit. Ear opening small. Limbs moderate; digits only slightly expanded distally, with 4 to 5 lamellae inferiorly. Body depressed. Tail rounded and tapering to a point, about three-quarters length from snout to vent. Snout and upper parts of the head with large smooth flattened sub-hexagonal scales, subequal to enlarged tubercles on back. Naso-rostrals in contact. Rostral much broader than deep, not entering nostril. First labial separated from nostril. Eight to nine upper labials. Seven to eight lower labials.

Symphysial about one and one-third times as long as broad; strongly tapering, with posterior width less than half anterior; slightly longer and distinctly wider than adjoining labials. Back granular, with irregularly arranged enlarged keeled subconical tubercles. Outer surfaces of limbs with subequal smooth imbricate scales and no tubercles; a median row of transversely enlarged scales under the digits. Gular scales inute and granular; a few enlarged chin-shields adjoining labials 3.5; granules on throat enlarging gradually over neck and chest to the smooth sub-imbricate scales on belly, which are a little smaller than those on snout. Tail covered with strongly enlarged subequal imbricate scales, whose posterior borders are faintly serrated below.

Colour: Head greyish brown, encircled by a black band from nostril, through eye and round occiput and bordered behind by a pale whitish band arising at angle of jaw. Body black with two wide whitish transverse bands, narrowing considerably on sides; below greyish white with infusions of greyish brown along sides. Tail with four whitish cross-bands, which are less than half width of black interspaces, last two only, completely encircling tail.


Type U(T.M. No. 14421).

Total length

47.7 mm

Snout to vent

27.5 mm


20.2 mm


In addition to the type there is in the Transvaal Museum collection a juvenile topotype collected by Mr. B. Levy, during March, 1932. This specimen, though somewhat bleached, agrees closely with the above description in all scale characters.