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Langkawi Island Bent-toed Gecko

Fig 1

Fig 2














Species : Cyrtodactylus langkawiensis
Size (snout to vent) : to 10 cm
Size (total length) : ~ 23 cm

This recently described gecko inhabits forested slopes on the island of Langkawi, northern Peninsular Malaysia.

The ground colour of its body is brown or greyish brown. It bears 4, sometimes 5, dark bands extending across the body which are edged with pale scales, and it has 11 to 16 dark bands on the tail. The end of the tail is white in juveniles, which is typical of other closely-related species.

The top of the head and snout are dark brown. A thick very dark brown band, edged with pale scales, extends from behind one eye, goes over the back of the neck, and meets the rear of the other eye.

It has been postulated that this species is restricted to karst habitat, dominated by limestone rocks (Grismer et al, 2012), however the specimen shown here was found on sandstone-dominated habitat. Regardless, it is clear that this species has a preference for rock crevices near the forest floor.

Cyrtodactylus langkawiensis was formerly considered part of the 'Banded Slender-toed Gecko' (Cyrtodactylus pulchellus) species complex, however as of 2016 this group is now considered to comprise 15 separate species which occur in different parts of southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia (the most recent publication listing all 15 is by Grismer et al, 2016).

This species has yet to be found in any other locality, except for Pulau Langkawi (= Langkawi Island).

Fig 1 : Specimen from forested slopes behind Datai Bay, on the north coast of Langkawi Island, Peninsular Malaysia. By day it remained hidden in a rock crevice in primary rainforest, but by night was observed foraging on the forest floor nearby. It was very shy and did not hesitate to flee back to its rock crevice when disturbed.

Fig 2 : Peering out from the safety of its rock crevice.

References :

Grismer, L. L., Wood Jr, P. L., Quah, E. S. H., Shahrul, A., Muin, M. A., Sumontha, M., Ahmad, N., Bauer, A. M., Wangkulangkul, S., Grismer, J. L. & Pauwels, O. S. (2012). A phylogeny and taxonomy of the Thai-Malay Peninsula Bent-toed Geckos of the Cyrtodactylus pulchellus complex (Squamata: Gekkonidae): combined morphological and molecular analyses with descriptions of seven new species. Zootaxa, 3520, 1-55.

Grismer, L. L., Wood Jr, Anuar, S., Grismer, M. S., Quah, E. S. H.,  Murdoch M. L., Muin, M. A., Davis, H. R., Aguilar, C., Klabacka, R., Cobos, A., Aowphol, A. & Sites, J. W. Jr. (2016). Two new Bent-toed Geckos of the Cyrtodactylus pulchellus complex from Peninsular Malaysia and multiple instances of convergent adaptation to limestone forest ecosystems. Zootaxa, 4105(5), 401-429.