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OpenZooMuseum - Hemidactylus laevis
Hemidactylus laevis Boulenger, 1901
Family: Gekkonidae
Hemidactylus laevis image
TOMÁŠ MAZUCH  
Head rather depressed (HL/HD = 2.2); snout subacuminate, forehead slightly concave, largest scales on snout in area between eye and nares; ear opening small and round; nostril in contact with rostral, first supralabial, one enlarged internasal (post-rostral) and two postnasals; two smaller internasal scales, longitudinally arranged, between post-rostrals; small interstitial scale in upper part of rostral scale; rostrum broader than high; supralabials 10/10; infralabials 9/9; mental medium-sized, triangular; two pairs of postmentals, anterior pair larger and in broad contact along median line, posterior pair not touching each other and separated by three gulars; anterior postmentals in narrow contact with second infralabials; interorbitals 30; scales on head small, granular; those on posterior part of the head with small, round, smooth, scattered tubercles, smaller than those on the body; back covered with small juxtaposed granules intermixed with a numerous small, round, flat smooth tubercles in 10–12 regular longitudinal rows (6–8 between the forelimbs, 8 between hindlimbs); upper flanks only covered by these enlarged tubercles, tubercles absent ventrolaterally; ventral scales large, flat, smooth, imbricate, approximately 7 contained in eye diameter at the midbelly; trunk moderately depressed; body and limbs rather short; neck short and rather indistinct; forelimbs and postero-dorsal side of thigh with imbricate granules without enlarged tubercles; dorsal side of tibia with scattered large tubercles; digits free with short distal joints, strongly dilated; lamellae beneath the toes from 1st to 5th: 4 (1+2+1), 6 (1+4+1), 7 (1+5+1), 7 (1+5+1), right 7 (3+3+1) / left 8 (3+4+1); beneath the fingers: right 5 (2+2+1) / left 5 (3+1+1), 5 (1+3+1), 6 (1+4+1), right 6 (0+5+1) / left 6 (1+4+1), 6 (2+3+1); original tail 1.11 times longer than SVL; constricted at its base, slightly swollen, verticillateand carrot-shaped; dorsally and laterally covered with small granular juxtaposed scales arranged in whorls around the tail; about 6–7 transverse rows in a whorl; below with imbricate scales, median series transversely enlarged in two rows per whorl.

Measurements (in mm). ToL 68.6; SVL 32.5; AG 13.4; TL 36.1; HL 10.4; HW 6.7; HD 4.6; EyEa 3.3; SnE 4.1; E 2.3; EAR 0.4; TubL 0.4; TailBase 3.5; TailWidth 4.2.

Coloration in life. Pale greyish brown above with four irregular transverse bands with sinuous margins; 4–5 dull spots on flanks; W-shaped dark marking on occiput and two dark spots just behind eyes; a pair of dark longitudinal markings over the sacrum; a dark stripe from the nostril, through the eye, becoming more diffuse posteriorly to the level of the ear and confluent with the first body transverse band; a dark spot on posterior part of snout; tail yellowish dorsally, with 9 dull dark bands; underside uniform whitish, tail yellowish.

Comparison with holotype. The new specimen differs in only a few characters from the holotype (condition in parentheses): (1) anterior postmentals in contact with second supralabials (not in contact); (2) anterior postmentals in wide mutual contact (not in contact, separated by one granule); (3) higher number of labials; (4) lower number of digital lamellae. In 2016, we published a paper (Mazuch et al., 2016) about the rediscovery of and a new locality for Hemidactylus laevis. The species was originally described from Gaan Libah, Somaliland, and was known only the type specimen which is housed at the British Museum of Natural History (London). We reported the discovery of one juvenile and one additional adult specimen in Sanaag Hotel, Erigavo, more than a century after the only other specimen had been collected.  (Cal Madow Mts.) in the east of Somaliland (Mazuch et al., 2016).  In Auguest, 2017, we revisited the Sanaag Hotel and found many more specimens, including several adults. These are the first photographs of adult specimens of Hemidactylus laevis. It is one of the most rare species of Hemidactylus in Africa being known only from the mountains of Somaliland!

Mazuch et al. 2016 in Zootaxa 4117:529-542
The specimens were found to be active at night on walls of buildings. The unvouchered adult was very wary and almost immediately hid in the roof of the building. The temperature was 17.5 °C and humidity 22 %. The city receives on average 300–400 mm of precipitation annually (Hemming 1966; Muchiri 2007). The vegetation of the Erigavo town is rather poor with scattered trees typical of degraded towns of East Africa (Eucalyptus sp. (Myrtaceae), Schinus molle (Anacardiaceae), Acacia etbaica (Fabaceae). No congeners were observed to live syntopically with H. laevis although our survey possibilities were limited due to security reasons.
Hemidactylus laevis may be distinguished from all other species of the region by the following combination of features: (1) dorsum, nape and posterior part of head covered with small granules, intermixed with enlarged flat smooth tubercles; (2) swollen tail; (3) tail strongly verticillate, covered by small granular scales without enlarged tubercles. More specifically, below follows a list of characters by which H. laevis can be distinguished from other species from the Horn of Africa. Hemidactylus laticaudatus is larger (SVL up to 62 mm), has more depressed habitus, enlarged tubercles on posterodorsal side of thighs, large tubercles on tail, and more pointed head with more sunken eyes. Hemidactylus albopunctatus, H. curlei Parker, H. flaviviridis, H. funaiolii Lanza, H. isolepis, H. klauberi Scortecci, H. megalops Parker, H. modestus, H. ophiolepis and H. ophiolepoides Lanza have homogenous dorsal scales and weakly developed subdigital lamellae. Hemidactylus barbouri Loveridge, H. squamulatus and H. tropidolepis have heterogeneous dorsal scales without tubercles, some or all scales are keeled. Hemidactylus angulatus, H. arnoldi, H. awashensis Šmíd, Moravec, Kratochvíl, Nasher, Mazuch, Gvoždík and Carranza,
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch  
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch  
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch  
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch  
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch  
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch  
Hemidactylus laevis image
TOMÁŠ MAZUCH  
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch  
Hemidactylus laevis image
Tomáš Mazuch