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Stenodactylus grandiceps (Large-headed Thin-toed Gecko/ Kocabaş Keler, Tombul Keler)

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Stenodactylus grandiceps (Large-headed Thin-toed Gecko/ Kocabaş Keler, Tombul Keler)

Stenodactylus grandiceps (Large-headed Thin-toed Gecko/ Kocabaş Keler, Tombul Keler) from KİLİS - 05.04.2008.

This lovely gecko species [the name of the species, i.e., grandiceps came after the Latin words grand= "big" + ceps= "head"] is distributed in Iraq, N. Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and the westernmost part of SE Anatolia (Turkey). In Turkey, It is represented with some isolated small populations in Kilis province (I do not give their exact localities to protect them against to gecko-hunters). It is a strictly nocturnal, medium-sized (up to 9-10 cm total length but the males are usually smaller) terrestrial gecko, without adhesive pads on fingers. The head is fairly broad and large, snout relatively rounded. The eyes are large and prominent, with a vertical pupil. Ear opening is small and rounded. The digits and toes lack adhesive pads and they have one row of scales (sometimes these scales shows a tricarinate structure). The tail is relatively thick, elongated conical, gradually tapered to a not very fine point. Coloration is variable especially depending on age. They are usually grayish, brownish or yellowish above, with whitish or yellowish dots of irregular size. A more or les developed darker pattern, consisting of 3-5 transversal cross-bands is seen on dorsal side. The tail is generally has some dark rings or cross-bands, often nearly completely black, sometimes with a whitish tip. The belly is crème or dirty whitish.

During the daytime, it is hidden in self-dug borrows under stones. It is generally inhabits more burrows. Activity starts with the sunset. They forage for prey with highly arisen tails. When they were encountered with a prey, the tails exhibits lateral undulation, and soon after the dinner Large-headed Gecko shows eye-licking behaviour!. The eyelicking behaviour is definetely spontaneus. When threatened, they adopt a raised, stiff-legged posture. An interesting voice resembling the “whiip” “whiiip” is emitted when touched its tail with finger and soon after it tooks its characteristic posture.

I impressed that Stenodactylus females and juvenilles are especially aggressive. I admire their eye-licking behaviour and the characteristic postures exhibiting when threatened of these lovely geckos. They feed on various small nocturnal soft-bodied invertebrates including some caterpillars, crickets and grasshoppers. Females lay two hard-shelled, nearly spherical eggs.

References: 1. Göçmen, B. (Unpub. results). The results of herpetological trips. 2. Budak, A. & Göçmen, B. (2005). Herpetology. Ege Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Kitaplar Serisi, No. 194, Ege Üniversitesi Basimevi, Bornova-Izmir, 226 pp. [2nd Edition, 2008]. 3. Disi, A. M., Modry, D., Necas, P. & Rifai, L. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Edition Chimaira, 408 pp. 4. Göçmen, B. & Akman, B. (2008). On the distribution, taxonomy and biology of largeheaded thin-toed gecko, Stenodactylus grandiceps Haas, 1952 (Squamata: Sauria: Geckonidae) in Anatolia [Tombul keler, Stenodactylus grandiceps Haas, 1952’in (Squamata: Sauria: Geckonidae) Anadolu’daki Yayılışı, Taksonomisi ve Biyolojisi hakkında]. Ege Üniversitesi Bilimsel Araştırma proje kesin raporu /Ege University Scientific Research Project Report, Project #: 2007-Fen-028, 72pp. 5. Göçmen, B., Nilson, G., Yildiz, M. Z., Arikan, H., Yalçinkaya, D. & Akman, B. (2007). On the occurrence of the Black Cat Snake, Telescopus nigriceps (Ahl, 1924) (Serpentes: Colubridae) from the Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey with some taxonomical comments. North-Western Journal of Zoology, 3 (2): 81-95. 6. Göçmen, B., Franzen, M., Yildiz, M. Z., Akman, B. & Yalçinkaya, D. (2009). New locality records of eremial snake species in southeastern Turkey (Ophidia: Colubridae, Elapidae, Typhlopidae, Leptotyphlopidae). Salamandra, 45 (2): 110-114.

Author Bayram GÖÇMEN
Created on Friday 04 April 2008
Posted on Monday 07 February 2011
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