Last updated 3 February 2008: updated listings for L lugubris and Bibliography.

A look at the

Subfamily GEKKO - Typical Geckos


Genus LEPIDODACTYLUS - Scaly-Toed Geckos

A moderately large Indo-Pacific genus of small geckos.

Cogger gives the characteristics of the genus as follows: rostral and mental shields rounded; labials much larger than adjacent scales; postmentals enlarged; digits moderately long, somewhat depressed, and expanded distally to form broad pads; apical subdigital lamellae not enlarged but continuous with a single or double series of narrow transverse lamellae extending across the full width of the pad; digits lying flat on the substrate when viewed laterally; all digits clawed, the large claws rising from the edge of the pad and not retractile in a distal median groove; preanal pores present.

Many geckos genera have their renowned "travelling" species, which here is represented by L. lugubris.

L. aureolineatus, Golden Scaly-Toed Gecko  L. balioburius, Bataan ~  L. browni, Brown's ~ 
L. christiani, Christian ~  L. euaensis, Eua ~  L. flaviocularis, Yellow-Eyed ~ 
L. gardineri, Rotuman Forest Gecko  L. guppyi, Solomon ~  L. herrei, Negros ~ 
L. intermedius  L. listeri, Christmas Island Chained Gecko  L. lombocensis 
L. lugubris, Mourning Gecko, Common ~  L. magnus, Mountain ~  L. manni, Fiji ~ 
L. moestus  L. mutahi, Bougainville ~  L. novaeguineae, New Guinea ~ 
L. oortii  L. orientalis, Oriental  L. paurolepis 
L. planicaudus, Mindanao ~  L. pulcher, Wild ~ L. pumillus, Slender Chained Gecko 
L. pusillus, Cope's  L. ranauensis, Sabah ~ L. shebae, Guadalcanal ~ 
L. tepukapili  L. vanuatensis  L. woodfordi, Woodford's ~ 
L. yami, Lanyu ~     

Scientific Name Common Name Distribution Size Notes
L. aureolineatus Golden Scaly-Toed Gecko/ Yellow-Lined Smooth-Scaled Gecko Philippines (Mindanao - according to Alcala, also Camiguin, Basilan, Samar and Antique) 32-44 mm SVL  Alcala describes this as "endemic and common". Found in aerial ferns, leaf axils of Pandanus and shrubs in the rain forests and the leaf axils of coconut trees from sea level to 1,200m. Scalation: 115-140 midbody scale rows: 30-40 preanal and femoral pores in a continuous series in males: spinose scales at intervals on tail. Other: quarter to third webbed between 3rd and 4th toes. Coloration: dorsally light- to rusty tan and relatively uniform, or tan, reddish-tan to light brown and less uniform with some darker dorsolateral blotches, or sometimes a few small dark spots. Light bar of 1+ (often 2-4) rows of scales extends from top of snout through eye to ear region, or may be mainly limited to area between eye and ear: usually some or all of these scales appear golden yellow. Ventrally uniform cream to light tan or with numerous flecks, especially along the sides.
L. balioburius Bataan ~ Philippines    
L. browni Brown's ~ Papua New Guinea    
L. christiani Christian ~ , Negros Broad-Tailed Smooth-Scaled Gecko Philippines (Negros) 3-4cm SVL  According to Alcala, "endemic and rare". Found in aerial ferns, leaf axils of coconut trees at 250-800m elevation and arboreal ferns in tropical rain forests at 700-1,200m elevation. It shares these habitats with L. herrei and Pseudogekko brevipes respectively but is rarer than either. Scalation: 10-13 supralabials, 10-12 infralabials; 20-28 preanal and femoral pores in a continuous series in males: spinose scales at intervals on tail. Other: quarter to half webbed between 3rd and 4th toes but only at base between 1st and 2nd; 4th toes have 7-9 scansors, of which last two are divided at midline. Coloration: dorsally light to dark brown, may have vague darker blotches or a few dark brwon and blackish spots in region of limbs and tail; two longitudinal rows of dark spots may be present on back, dark spots sometimes appearing as inverted V-marks; yellow flecks on jaws; dark lateral band from snout to eye, usually broader between eye and ear, narrowing or fading between ear and forelimb; ventrally yellow, becoming yellowish-orange towards tail. See Alcala for coloration in preservative. Reproduction: eggs are laid in leaf axils of coconut trees or aerial ferns.
L. euaensis Eua ~ Tonga    
L. flaviocularis Yellow-Eyed ~ Solomons Islands    
L. gardineri Rotuman Forest Gecko ~ Fiji (Rotuma)    
L. guppyi Solomon ~ Bismarck Islands, New Britain, Solomon Islands, Oceania, Renell, Santa Cruz Islands    
L. herrei Negros ~ Philippines (Negros, Cebu)    
L. intermedius   Indonesia (Lesser Sundas)   Considered by some authorities to be a subspecies of L. lugubris.
L. listeri Christmas Island Chained Gecko Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)    
L. lombocensis   Indonesia (Lesser Sundas)    
L. lugubris Mourning Gecko, Common ~ Most of SE Asia from India and Sri Lanka (but not Thailand) to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Australia (N & E Qld and Torres Strait islands), Japan, China, and the islands of Oceania: introduced into the Seychelles, Hawaii and South and Central America 3½-4½ cm SVL, tail length < SVL  
L. magnus Mountain ~ Papua New Guinea    
L. manni Fiji ~ , Mann's Forest Gecko Fiji (Viti Levu, Ovalau and Kadavu) 3½-4½ cm SVL, tail length < SVL  As of 2003 little seems to be known about the behaviour and reproduction of this species. However it appears to favour high elevation sites, and during the day can be found in a variety of cover, including beneath tree bark, under rock chips or in various crevices. Scalation details: digits have long oblong pads; claw lacking on 1st digit; digital lamellae wide and undivided, 9-14 under 4th toe. Other: tail has uniform whorls of moderately sized scales. Coloration: dorsally dark brown with black, buff and chestnut markings; ventrally yellow; tongue and buccal cavity pinkish white. Reproduction: eggs have been found in rock crevices in March and July [SOURCE: Morrison]. 
L. moestus   Micronesia    
L. mutahi Bougainville's ~ Solomon Islands    
L. novaeguineae New Guinea ~ Indonesia, Papua New Guinea    
L. oortii   Indonesia    
L. orientalis Oriental ~ Papua New Guinea    
L. paurolepis   Micronesia    
L. planicaudus Mindanao ~ Philippines (Mindanao)    
L. pulcher Wild ~ Papua New Guinea and Oceania     
L. pumillus Slender Chained Gecko Australia (Cape York peninsula and Torres Strait islands in Queensland) and Papua New Guinea     
L. pusilus Cope's ~ Australia     
L. ranauensis Sabah ~ Malaysia     
L. shebae Guadalcanal ~  Solomon Islands     
L. tepukapili   Polynesia     
L. vanuatuensis   Melanesia (Vanuatu)     
L. woodfordi Woodford's ~ Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands     
L. yami Lanyu ~ Taiwan (Lanyu Island)     


The information above was culled from a number of sources, including Mattison:

Lizards of the World, Mattison

Keeping and Breeding Lizards, Mattison

Geckos: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity, Walls and Walls, TFH 1999.

Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Volume 6: Reptiles (1975) has some useful colour plates and descriptions of many geckos.

Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna. Volume X, Amphibians and Reptiles, Prof. Angel C Alcala, Natural Resources Management Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources and University of the Philippines, 1986. Very useful field guide to the herps of this area, which is usually under-represented in literature. One slight drawback is that the photographs are black-and-white and the descriptions of colour for many species are drawn from preserved specimens: otherwise this book is to be recommended if you can obtain a copy. We acknowledge our debt to this book for the details given in this section.

A Field Guide to the Herpetofauna of Fiji, Clare Morrison, Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific, 2003. Useful guide to the herpetofauna of these islands.

Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Harold Cogger, 6th edition, to which I gratefully acknowledge my debt for the information on this page.

A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, Steve Wilson and Gerry Swan, Reed New Holland, Sydney, 2003. Somewhat less detailed than Cogger but still covers the most useful identifying characteristics of the genera and species, and certainly more portable!

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