The genus Eublepharis contains one extremely well-known species (E. macularius, the Leopard Gecko) and four other obscure ones. All are in fact very similar in both morphology (shape), size and habitat, differing mainly in coloration, pattern and minor details of scalation [Szczerbak & Golubev]. These are large nocturnal geckos, dwelling in arid areas and preying on various invertebrates and the occasional small vertebrate such as mice.
NOTE: S&G in the text refers to Szczerbak and Golubev (see Bibliography).
|E. angramainyu, Iranian Fat-Tailed Gecko||E. fuscus||E. hardwicki|
|E. macularius, Leopard Gecko||E. turcmenicus, Turkmenian Fat-Tailed Gecko|
|Scientific Name||Common Name||Distribution||Size (max)||Notes|
|E. angramainyu||Iranian Fat-Tailed Gecko||Iraq, Iran, Syria||10"||This gecko was first classified in 1966 and was subject to reclassification before being designated as E. angramainyu in 1993. Bayram Göçmen's Ege university of Izmir site has an interesting page on E. angramainyu, including pictures which show it to be very similar in appearance to E. macularius. The Afghan Gecko site describes the habitat of E. angramainyu in the Zagros mountains, noting that during the day the geckos remain in deep crevices or "caverns" in the very abundant gypsum deposits where the humidity is fairly constant all year round. The localities are normally devoid of vegetation. It is found at heights of 300-900m. Diet is known to consist of crickets, scorpions, sopulgids, large spiders and beetles, and small geckos, including of their own species. Scalation: supranasals separated by single, almost pentagonal supranasal scale which is wider than long: 5-7 additional small nasals: 10 supralabials, 10 infralabials: pentagonal mental followed by four rows of enlarged scales: dorsolateral tubercles almost in contact with one another. Other: 24 scale rows: 13 preanal pores: 24 smooth subdigital lamellae. Reproduction: egglaying takes place from end of May to beginning of June [S&G]. Due to the cannibalistic tendency of the species, any eggs laid in captivity should be removed and incubated separately. B I|
|E. fuscus||W India (Gujarat, Rajasthan, as far S as Pune, prob. Kanara)||10-12"||So far little data available. This was formerly considered a subspecies of the Leopard Gecko E. macularius until 1997. I have not heard of any being offered, but one would imagine the husbandry to be similar to that of the Leopard Gecko. Click here for the EMBL database entry and picture. B I|
|E. hardwicki||N/C & E India, Bangladesh||9"||Bayram Göçmen offers the following information on his site. Coloration is a basic pale red with two darker broad bands across the body and three or four similar bands around the tail. Limbs are reddish-olive with black dots on the elbows and knees. Pre-anal pores: 17. Labials: 10 upper and lower. Longitudinal scale rows: 30. Click here for the EMBL database entry and picture. B I|
|E. macularius||Leopard Gecko||Central Asia||10-12"||Probably now the most common pet lizard, if not pet reptile, in the world. Virtually all leopard geckos sold are now captive-bred, sometimes available in different colour "phases" or "morphs" due to selective breeding. 1 male can be kept with 1-3 females. See also Leopard Geckos. B I|
|E. turcmenicus||Turkmenian Fat-Tailed Gecko||Central Asia (former USSR, Turkmenistan, N Iran)||10-12"||Although rather similar in appearance to E. macularius, there are both physical and behavioural differences between the two species. Szczerbak and Golubev note that this species is solitary in nature, and record a fight between two captive females which ended in one receiving a broken lower jaw. Although they note that "we had the opportunity to keep both E. macularius and E. turcmenicus in captivity and can state that they are very similar in behaviour", they also state that E. macularius is less timid than E. turcmenicus: it may be simply that E. turcmenicus is more highly strung and thus prone to stress. In nature they are nocturnal, and in the terrarium were observed by S&G to leave the shelter after twilight. In captivity they eat very much the same diet as E. macularius: in the wild one specimen was also found to have eaten other insects and a racerunner. They have been observed to dig burrows in soft soil in the terrarium, and in the wild "probably" use rodent burrows. Like Leopard Geckos they always use one fixed place as a toilet. As the species is rare, it is doubtful whether any will appear in private collections, but S&G suggest working on breeding programmes with a view to conservation and increasing numbers within reserve areas. Scalation: supranasals separated by 1-3 scales: 9-11 supralabials of which 6 touch eye, 10-11 infralabials: scales across head 26-30: ventral scale rows 20-22: 2 large postmentals behind mental. Other: subdigital lamellae 20-23. Coloration: similar in appearance to E. macularius, but from the picture in S&G, a rather deeper ochre/yellow in colour, with three wide brown transverse bands and a brown patch covering most of the head. As with the Leopard Gecko, there are also smaller purplish or brown blotches stippling the yellow areas of the upper surfaces and limbs. There is also a thin lighter vertebral stripe running from the neck to the tail. Ventral surfaces are white. Reproduction: this species has reproduced in captivity. From S&G's account it would appear that gestation lasts about 10 weeks: two eggs are usually laid, sometimes the second being laid a few days after the first. B I|
Gecko Fauna of the USSR and Contiguous Regions, N N Szczerbak and M Golubev, Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 1993. We acknowledge a debt to this book for details of E. angramainyu and E. turcmenicus.
Lizards of the World, Chris Mattison
Keeping and Breeding Lizards, Chris Mattison
The Leopard Gecko Manual, P. deVosjoli et al, Herpetocultural Library 1998. Also covers Fat-Tails and the other eublepharid geckos. The older version is also good but only covers the Leopards and Fat-Tails.
Leopard Geckos: Identification, Care and Breeding, R. Hunziker, TFH 1994. Not as detailed as the above but still quite good and again covers most of the other eublepharids.
Geckos: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual, Bartlett and Bartlett, Barrons 1995.
Geckos: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity, Walls and Walls, TFH 1999.
The Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians, J C Daniel, Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002.
Afghan Geckos Thought-provoking site providing basic information on the Eublepharis geckos found in Afghanistan, and pointing out the striking similarity between naturally-occurring species and some of the "morphs" bred by foreign breeders. There is also a useful summary of information on the country itself, a timely reminder that the lives of humans in some parts of the world often look tougher than those of the lizards who share their territory.
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