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The morphology of the digits of the golden gecko, Calodactylodes aureus and its implications for the occupation of rupicolous habitats

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The recent rediscovery of the golden gecko, Calodactylodes aureus, after more than 100 years, has given occasion to reconsider both its phylogenetic position amongst the gekkonine geckos and the functional aspects of its subdigital pads. The morphology of these pads and the anatomical basis of their control suggests that Afroedura among a grouping of gekkonine geckos with phenetically similar digits, shows the greatest structural similarity to Calodactylodes. Available data do not support a robust hypothesis of actual relationship between these two genera, but if relationship is not the underlying dictator of the similarity seen, the degree of convergence is remarkable. The general similarity in digital form of those genera possessing terminal, leaf-like scansors, both in the Gekkoninae and Diplodactylinae, appears to be associated with rupicolous habitats and indicates an evolutionary pathway by which more extensive climbing pads may have arisen. It is likely that this morphotypic pathway has been followed independently by several lineages of gekkonine and diplodactyline geckos.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Thc University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. N. W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4


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