A novel colour morph of Sphaerodactylus sabanus Cochran 1938 from Sint Eustatius

Abstract. Reptiles often display substantial intraspecific variation in dorsal colouration and pattern. Such variation is often, but not always, genetically or geographically structured. In particular, the Sphaerodactylus geckos of the Caribbean display considerable intraspecific variation in dorsal patterning. Here, we describe a previously unreported colour and pattern morph of the Saint Kitts Bank Geckolet, Sphaerodactylus sabanus, restricted to the island of Sint Eustatius. We surveyed dorsal patterns throughout the range of S. sabanus using both field surveys and museum collections. For field samples, we sequenced the mitochondrial 12S gene to confirm the identity of each specimen and to examine genetic structuring of pattern morphs. Additionally, we compared the relative ratios of each morph across the four main islands within its range: Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Kitts, and Nevis. Although relative abundances of each dorsal pattern varied across islands, we found no evidence of either geographic or genetic structure related to dorsal pattern. Thus, Sphaerodactylus sabanus may provide a compelling system to study alternative drivers of intraspecific colour and pattern variation. Keywords. Caribbean, Lesser Antilles, Reptile, Gecko, Sphaerodactylidae, Intraspecific Variation

Back to search results