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
H. wahlbergii
Binomial name
Homopholis wahlbergii
(A. Smith, 1849)
Homopholis walbergii distribution.png
Distribution in southeast Africa
  • 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.


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.


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


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).


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.


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]


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.


  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.