Wahlberg's velvet gecko

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Wahlberg's velvet gecko
Homophilus wahlbergii.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae
Genus: Homopholis
Species:
H. wahlbergii
Binomial name
Homopholis wahlbergii
(A. Smith, 1849)
Homopholis walbergii distribution.png
Distribution in southeast Africa
Synonyms[2]
  • Geko walbergii
    A. Smith, 1849
  • Homopholis wahlbergi
    Kahl et al. 1980
  • Homopholis wahlbergii
    Boycott, 1992
  • Homopholis macrolepis
    Boulenger, 1885
  • Platypholis walbergii
    Kluge, 1993

Wahlberg's velvet gecko (Homopholis wahlbergii )[a] is a species of large gecko, a lizard in the family Gekkonidae. The species occurs exclusively in Southern Africa.

Etymology[edit]

The specific name, wahlbergii, is in honor of Swedish naturalist Johan August Wahlberg.[3]

Geographic range[edit]

H. wahlbergii is endemic to Miombo and Mopane bushveld of Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The largest part of its range covers Zimbabwe.

Habitat[edit]

H. wahlbergii shelters under tree bark, rocks, empty bird nests, and other places in coastal bush and mesic and arid savannas.[1]

Description[edit]

Wahlberg's velvet gecko is so called because the skin looks and feels like velvet. The back varies from dark grey to soft grey-brown and may be crossed with paler chevrons or crossbars or have mottled paler areas nestled along the centre of its back and spine. Adults may attain a total length (including tail) of 21 cm (8.3 in), but average total length is 14–18 cm (5.5–7.1 in).

Behaviour[edit]

H. wahlbergii is nocturnal; however, it has been observed to occasionally be active during the day.[1] It ventures far from its usual roost only at night, when courtship generally occurs. It is frequently found in baobab trees and in the roofs and walls of traditional mud-huts and other human dwellings.

Diet[edit]

H. wahlbergii is mainly insectivores.[1] Beetles make up the majority of its diet, with butterflies making up the next largest proportion, although it can also consume millipedes.[4]

Breeding[edit]

Males and females of H. wahlbergii exhibit little to no sexual dimorphism.[4] Females reproduce annually once they reach sexual maturity.[4] The female lays pairs of large, hard-shelled eggs that start soft and adhesive. Egg length, 17–19 mm (0.67–0.75 in), is not correlated to maternal length.[4] These eggs are concealed under bark overhangs, rock crevices, etc.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alternately spelled walbergii.[1]
  1. ^ a b c d e Greenbaum E, Whiting MJ (2010). "Homopholis wahlbergii ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Homopholis walbergii ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Homopholis wahlbergii, p. 278).
  4. ^ a b c d Whiting MJ, Reaney LT, Keogh JS (2007). "Ecology of Wahlberg's velvet gecko Homopholis wahlbergii in southern Africa". African Zoology 42: 38-44.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA (1885). Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Second Edition. Volume I. Geckonidæ ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 436 pp. + Plates I-XXXII. (Homopholis wahlbergii, p. 191).
  • Branch, Bill (2002). A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa (2nd ed.). Cape Town: Struik. ISBN 1868726193.