Diagnosis: Subdigital lamellae each with several distinct
small tubercles (Fig. E in key); mid-dorsal tubercles generally larger
than intertubercular spaces; chinshields usually in contact with first lower labials (Fig. C in key); elements of dorsal color pattern not linearly arranged.
Additional diagnostic characters (Grismer, 1988:442-450; 1991: 251-252): height of
auditory meatus 11/2 times inter-nostril distance; rounded ventral scales in 21-30 rows; rostral twice as wide as high; 3 transverse rows of
ventral scales in each caudal whorl; mental shorter than wide; 46-57 eyelid fringe
scales; “cleft terminal subdigital lamellae” (see remarks below); widely spaced,
pronounced and pointed dorsal tubercles, much smaller inter-tubercle granules; ventral
scales rounded, in 21-30 transverse rows at midbody; dorsal
scales of regenerated tail circular and slightly convex; conspicuous supratemporal bone
present; a straight pterygoid-palatine suture; a longitudinally-directed crest on ventral
portion of basioccipital anterior to spheno-occipital tubercles, posterior section of
basioccipital smoothly rounded; posterior margin of coronoid shelf does not contact the
adductor fossa; clavicle extending above scapulocoracoid and making broad contact with the
Color pattern: Dorsal color of adults straw yellow to pale
violaceous gray in life, often with tinge of pink; dorsum with blue-black spots, in some
cases discrete and sparse, in others fusing into a reticulum; usually traces of dark
juvenile bars remain visible. Juveniles dark brown to black dorsally, with two or three
wide yellow bars across trunk, a white nape-band extending forward through ear onto lips.
(Minton, 1966:73). See Szczerbak and Golubev (1986:27-28; 1996:27) for sexual dichromatism
and age variation. Recently, captive breeders have selected color variants for the pet
trade that exceed the variation observed in the field (see, for example, Tremper,
1997:16-17 for color photos). Apparently, the parental stock for the current pet trade
came originally from Pakistan, probably Sind.
Size: Specimens from Pakistan measure to 158 mm snout-vent
length. Males are larger than females.
Habitat: The specimens collected by Zarudny and identified
as this species were found on hard clay soil strewn with sand where there were numerous
bushes of Zygophyllum. The Clarks collected Eublepharis macularius in eastern Afghanistan on
fairly open alluvial soil (Clark, et al, 1969:303).
Minton (1966:73) found them in rock wall crevices in Pakistan.
Distribution: From eastern Afghanistan south of the Hindu
Kush and the Northwest Frontier Provinces and apparently generally through Pakistan south
to Rajputana and the Khandesh District of India. In Iran, geckos tentatively assigned to
this taxon are known only from Zarudny’s record in eastern Khorasan.
Remarks: Zarudny collected two specimens which were lost
before they could be deposited in the collections at St. Petersburg. He felt assured of
his identification, due to the unique form of the tail, which, he said, could not be
confused with that of any other lizard. Thus, there is little doubt that he collected Eublepharis, but in view of the recently recognized
differences among the various populations, it is by no means certain that the geckos of
eastern Khorasan are E. macularius. Eublepharis
turcmenicus occurs in the mountains of northern Khorasan, E. macularius montanus is a name given by Börner
(1976:9) to the westernmost population in Pakistan, while specimens in eastern Afghanistan
have been named E. afghanicus by Börner
(1976:10-12). Adding to the nomenclatural confusion is the fact that Börner (1974)
described as a new species (E. gracilis) a live
zoo specimen, locality unknown, but possibly from “inner or coastal [sic] Afghanistan” (Börner, 1976:12). Kluge
(1991:8) lists E. fasciolatus Günther, 1864, E. afghanicus Börner, 1974, E. montanus Börner, 1976, E .fuscus Borner, 1981, and E. smithi Börner, 1981 as recognized subspecies of E. macularius, following Grismer’s (1988:455) summary classification. See Szczerbak and Golubev
(1986:6; 1996:5-6) for their comments on the
nominal species and subspecies in the genus. They regard E. fasciolatus Günther as well as Börner’s
taxa, based largely on color pattern differences, as synonyms of F. macularius. They point out that changes in
coloration among eublepharines depend on the physiological condition of the animal,
particularly on hormonal factors.
Because it breeds easily in captivity, Eublepharis macularius is currently a popular
animal in the pet trade (see, for example, Black, 1997:10-18), and is thus easily
available for scientific research as well (e.g., Autumn and Denardo, 1995). To what extent
conclusions based on captive animals of unknown provenance are transferable to populations
in nature is problematical.
Eublepharis macularius afghanicus Börner, 1976
(Afghan Leopard Gecko, Afghan Spotted
Type locality & Distribution: Mainly
from the Lowgar province of Afghanistan ( along side Pol-e-Alam near Alazi ) but it is
also fairly distributed through out the Vardak and Paktika provinces along the Shinkay
hills in Afghanistan.
Color Pattern: The
dorsal color of adults straw yellow to bright to pale yellow, dorsum with some scattered
with blue-black spots, in some cases discrete and sparse and in others fusing into a
reticulum. A continous light verteberal stripe, bordered on each side in some specimens by
a very light colored broken black stripe from occiput to base of tail, majority are
uniformly colored in yellow.
Head with a pattern of dark and light
reticlations, no horsehoe shaped mark dark or light, on nape. Limbs with numerous light
blotches, tail with numerous irregular dark transverse markings, wider than the light
interspaces, venter light tan. A juvenile has three light yellow transverse bars
across dorsum, first on posterior part of neck and shoulders, second at midbody, third
anterior to sacral region, middle bar largest, approximately aqual to lighter interspaces,
which are interspersed with dark tubercles, margins of dark bars than their central
Size: On an average
large male specimens meassure about 15.5 to 16 cm in (S-V) Snout-Vent length and females
meassure about 14.5 cm to 15 cm S-V length.
Habitat: They inhabit
the rocky deserts and sparse grasslands with clay soil but avoid sand. In the wild they
live in large colonies and are quite abundant from mid-April until late May although late
collections is not uncommon that is till the end of August to mid September. Our
collection areas are centered along the Gardeyz and Pol-e-Alam stretch.
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