View Full Version : Distinctions between С.pulchellus and C.intermedius

12-02-2007, 04:46 PM
Two days ago I have received the shipment with wc Cyrtodactylus. Some of them was labelled by supplier as "C.pulchellus" and another six (2.4) as "C.intermedius". However I have not found any essential distinctions between them. All of them looked as pulchellus. However earlier I did not see alive intermedius, only a photo. It has forced me to undertake special research how reliably to distinguish these species.
Based on E.H.Taylor's key for Thailand members of Cyrtodactylus (The lizards of Thailand, 1963) C.pulchellus have both preanal and femoral pores. Thus medially located scales with preanal pores (up to 9) form two parallel rows with so-called precloacal groove between them, and then each row revers laterally under a corner about 90 degrees, being closed with row of femoral pores. So all scales with pores form _I I_ - shape structure. The presence of such structure was supported also by other recently published articles seen by me.
Opposite this C.intermedius have not precloacal groove and also lack femoral pores (it has only a row of enlarged femoral scales without pores). So all scales with pores form /\ - shape structure (with a corner slightly less than 180 degrees) at this species.
My friend and colleague Roman Nazarov has kindly given to me photos of reliably identified Cyrtodactylus from a collection of the Californian Academy of Sciences (CAS) (see below: the first two is C.pulchellus, the next three is C.intermedius). These photos as a whole correspond with situation described above with exception that on a photo of C.pulchellus it is not possible to find out preanal pores on scales forming pecloacal groove.
The geckoes received by me (both labelled as "pulchellus" and "intermedius") completely correspond to attributes of C.pulchellus including the presence of preanal pores on scales forming preanal groove. According to that all of them are C.pulchellus (so I am still hav'nt C.intermedius :sad:).
Thus it seems that these two species easily differ with a structure of preanal area. I have intentionally left other attributes of scalation and coloration because their measurement is more labour-consuming and/or more subjective. Also the attribute being easily used in field by unknowlidged person was necessary to me to attempt receive more precisely labelled geckoes from my supplier. However always there is an opportunity that a problem not so clear than it seems and any unusual combination of scalation of preanal area can be observed. In this connection I shall be glad if members of a forum which keep one or both this species will inform on a structure of preanal area of their geckoes (with providing photos if possible). Thanks.

12-02-2007, 09:38 PM
I am by no mean an expert on the two species, but I do have both. I have found it difficult to try and distinguish through vent study on my end but when you do have the two in person alive and healthy they are 100% distinguishable. The pulchellus are more rough in skin texture and slightly bulkier. I will include pictures ASAP. I do think they can cross, but do not have proof just yet. If so I am sure they do in the wild adding to the confusion along with sub-species.

12-02-2007, 09:46 PM
pulchellus skin...

12-02-2007, 09:49 PM

12-03-2007, 03:53 AM
i'm not an expert too,but i do have several specimens of both species 100% healthy.
i believe there is no V shape marking on intermedius snout,where as pulchellus has.
also general appareance and pattern aren't exactly the same.maybe intermedius are more "willowy" shaped,with subdued white/yellow lines on their back.


i can provide more pictures and explanations, if you need some.


12-03-2007, 11:58 AM
The only thing is some pulchellus have the v shape some have a - - shape and some do not have any line at all on the snout depending on local. Also color variation can get fairly close in some individuals....but typically that works.

12-03-2007, 01:00 PM
well,Shane,you're absolutely right.
but as you said almost everything in your previous posts,difficult to add some more reliable informations.
i hope all that together will help Igor to find out what he finally have.

i think i know about the - - shape,if you talk about a "beginning of a V shape which is not complete" like this / \ , but much shorter.
about the no snout mark locale,i have only one "form"from Malaysia(see pic).

yes, general coloration between intermedius and pulchellus could be close on some individuals,that's why i said "maybe".

i face my lack of english language...that would be much more easy in French...:D

did you notice any eye colors difference between the two species and pulchellus locales??


12-03-2007, 01:20 PM
Here are some photos to think about...

If you look closely, you can see the little "V" shape that shouldnt be there on an intermedius, but it is there.

Here is what I am nearly certain is an integrade, a WC subadult:


And a few of that pair's offspring:

Another pulchellus:

12-04-2007, 02:53 AM
The differences are amazing. I sometimes feel I am just speculating without strong field study. These have to be the most visibly diverse Cyrtodactylus. I can just see these being the next pop gecko with a little work:)

12-04-2007, 02:58 AM
did you notice any eye colors difference between the two species and pulchellus locales??


I notice the intermedius with gold eyes and the pulchellus all over the place in color, but not the same gold as intermedius.

12-07-2007, 12:31 AM
Thanks all for replies.
Finally I have learned to insert pictures into a post :yahoo:, now I gonna show off with all my geckoes! :biggrin:
Leah, it seems for me that all geckoes at your photos are C.pulchellus with no exception for first "intermedius". The preanal groove and "_I I_ - shape" structure of enlarged femoral scales is clearly visible at this photo, though not so clear, as at adult males of my C.pulchellus (kindly pay attention it absolutely lacks snout band):


and more likely as at my females and subadults:


The preanal area of true C.intermedius looks as below:


Also all six geckoes I have received recently from Malaysia as "C.intermedius" was examined and no differences at preanal area in compare with C.pulchellus was founded even at males. Some of them have snout band but others have not. I beleive that differences of size/body shape/coloration are too subjective/not verified for comparison this species.
Also I have tried to compare the density and the shape of tubrcules on a dorsal part of a body, but have met difficulties as it is some different on different sites of a body as well as varies also at different individuals. I have found out the certain differences between C.pulchellus on Shane's photo (the first below) and my C.pulchellus, including received as C.intermedius (the second below):


Both photos have been autocorrected by Adobe Photoshop CS2. My photos was made with the worst quality as were done from hands by the simple camera, but comparison is possible.
First, generally my C.pulchellus have some more conic and peaked tubercules which located more close to each other. Shane's gecko have more smooth and widely spread tubercules.
Second at my geckoes all tubercules located within the limits of each band colored according with the color of this band (light or dark) while all tubercules on Shane's exemplar are dark. But the last may be an effect of lighting, not so?

Сan it be that all geckoes we have are variations of C.pulchellus so we actually have not C.intermedius?
Nevertheless geckoes shown on the first photos in Shane's and Pierre's replies, designated as C.intermedius, seems noticeably differ on coloration from all other. Can you provide photos of preanal region of these animals? It gotta be less colorful but more useful! ;-)

12-07-2007, 04:00 AM
I have found most imported have the general look of your pulchellus, and few imports from a highland local look like that particular individual in my close up you posted. There is strong variations in the pulchellus, but the intermedius is fairly consistent. I will try and get intermedius pics as soon as I get around to it. I also have found the pulchellus do have consistent pattern along with importer and/or shipment, indicating most likely collecting site the same with local unique traits. Heres some older close ups I had taken of various pulchellus in my collection.

12-08-2007, 12:51 PM
Сan it be that all geckoes we have are variations of C.pulchellus so we actually have not C.intermedius?

I think this is very possible. I have held that suspicion for a long time, and am hoping a cross between the 'intermedius type' and the normal type yields some answers.

12-08-2007, 04:37 PM
Heres an above shot of a male "intermedius" to see skin texture difference.
and heres the vent area of male and female
If these are not the true intermedius then they must be a new species. They are different than other Malaysian pulchellus in many ways and come from a local different from the other pulchellus. I would think that tagged intermidius is not from Malaysia since there has been no scientific paper on this, therefore differences if my "intermedius" did in fact come from Malaysia.

12-08-2007, 04:44 PM
edit...if in fact these did come from Malaysia

12-09-2007, 02:11 PM
It is not so clear as with previous geckoes but they are similar with C.pulchellus too. I agree that there are some distinctions among pulchellus but they have no attitude to C.intermedius. Sorry, Shane, I cry together with you :( :coverlaugh:

I have sent a query through HerpNet about Cyrtodactylus specimens vauchered to scientific collections and have obtained data about 2164 specimens from 3668 available (from 30 museums, mostly located at USA and Canada but some Europian). Certainly there are not all stock but some interesting events were found out.

At first, there are relatively small number of C.intermedius specimens (23) stored in only one museum (Field Museum); other 29 museums have not this sp. Unfortunately I have not received a reply from CAS where undoubtely deposited a great number of Cyrtodactylus. Only 3 locality referred for this species: two from Cambodja and one also (1 specimen) from SE Thailand far from the Malaysian border. Grismer (2005) also not include C.intermedius in a data table for Cyrtodactulus "from peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Java and Sumatra". In the EMBL Database also Vietnam is specified for C.intermedius but a source is unknown to me.
So its similar that there are NO C.intermedius in Malaysia as well as we should hope to find C.intermedius among specimens originated mainly from Cambodja and possible from Thailand and Vietnam/Laos.

At second, the stock of C.pulchellus stored at museums twice more than C.intermedius but it is not so huge as it it would be possible to assume. Eight museums have this sp from 10 localities from Malaysia and Thailand but not from any other country.

It would be exellent if other keepers have sent photos of preanal area of "C.intermedius" or "C.pulchellus" originated not from Malaysia.

12-09-2007, 11:30 PM
Thanks I was crying like a baby when you told me they where not intermedius. Anyways, I am not a scientist, but can tell you there are differences that make these obviously not the same species. When I get more time I will do some more research on these individuals. If Grizmer was finding so many new species in such a short visit to Malaysia, before hitting every other habitat of the world, just as most westerners doing scientific research in Malaysia, I am sure this data you are quoting has room for revision, and that is an understatement. You know that Cyrtodactylus Pulchellus does not come from India, right? The paperwork means very little to my beliefs on species vs. local variation right now when it comes to the area.

On a side note when it comes to care, not always factored by scientific study i.e. toe taged individuals, my "intermedius" have very different requirements than the pulchellus, to the point of pulchellus breeding, producing while in the same condition my "intermedius" showed signs of dehydration and inability to process food at those temperatures, correcting only after changing their habitat/climate from the pulchellus. Also I have a second local of pulchellus that has different requirements but not so extreme.

So I am very happy, to find these might not be intermedius that are at Field Museum, but possibly a relic of that species not found by the "pro scientists".

12-10-2007, 02:10 AM
Shane, I am sorry, it was only clumsy joke about "crying", I did not wish to touch anybody ... The sense was that I have been upset when have not received C.intermedius from the nature, but hoped to receive it anytime from anybody bred them ... maybe from you.
It is exellent that you (and so partly also we all who interested in this geckoes) have so many local varieties and succesfully bred them in captivity. Probably, sometime to them will be added new ones including the "true" C.intermedius. It is even possible that somebody who has not participate in our discussion already has it. Actually only this I tried to find out when post this thread.
You told absolutely right about a lot of not investigated habitats in nature. Sometimes I have dreams about tens thousand square miles somewhere at the Borneo inhabited with dozens species of geckoes which yet have been not available for researchers/collectors. In these dreams I have arrived there, have turned some logs and have prepared to catch the first them ... them... It is a pity that I usually wake up at this moment. :lol:
I am not the professional scientist, now I am involved in animal trades, but I achieved high education as herpetologist so I can not forget about it. Also I keep some terraium animals last 23 years.
It seems annoying to me that scientists often pay insufficient attention on things situated much more close to them than Malaysia. On the other hand hobbists frequently are not interested in practical application of scientific achievements. I would not began to oppose both approaches. It is much more useful to combine them. Keepers often know an object better (even because see it alive more often :D) but not always can correctly express it. Scientists often try to express that he not know exactly - it is a feature of scientific activity which cannot be excluded. So as the character of one of Russian cartoon films spoke: Let's be friendly, boys!

12-10-2007, 02:25 AM
Not much time right now, but great points Igor.

12-10-2007, 11:11 AM
As for the scientists, there are many who do great things. So far, Grizmer has told me my work was not right by keeping the animals in captivity. I understand his feelings on that and feel the same about toe tagging one for study...but still understand its need. I also feel some scientists especially those who have done research in the field of your/our collection, get upset when you have an animal they overlooked in their study. In my experience, if you are being a good listener, then you are in the company of Grizmer, but if you show him something he did not find himself, be prepaired for conversation ending :) I am very open to talk and share with anyone, as long as I know its honest to good information seeking. I am even open to sharing with someone planning to publish information, as long as they do it right unlike the recent Cat Gecko article that took 100% credit for all this amazing information they found, here. Its a funny group we work with, so I keep my guard up sometimes more than not I take it. It is refreshing though to see your interest in the genus Igor and hope to see you get more imports and share study here.

12-10-2007, 01:53 PM
Thanks, Shane. I am also open to share data and to discuss all questions connected with that (except for especially private :lol:). I believe that for scientists more difficult to use data received from us, than for us use ones received from them. It is a part of a problem about which we spoke. Though certainly they can start to think in more true direction...;-)
I do not know anywhat about Cat Gecko article but it seems this thread not a good place to talk about it.
But I am surprised that only a few keepers have wished to participate in discussion and have sent photos to this thread. I believed that there are a greate number of Cyrtodactylus keepers (but only outside Russia :D). What is wrong?

12-10-2007, 02:05 PM
hey guys,
i will post pics of my pulchellus and "intermedius" as soon as possible(from underneath,especially for Igor:biggrin:).
i have been busy taking care of my son born about two weeks ago...

however,i would like to participate in that discussion.


12-10-2007, 08:54 PM
I would like to congratulate you for birth of the son, Pierre!
Best wishes!

Jaguar Gecko77
12-10-2007, 09:56 PM
So do pulchellus generally have more pronounced tubercles than intermedius? I have only kept one pair of each, and in those I noticed the tubercles were quite a bit more pronounced in the pulchellus.

12-11-2007, 05:49 AM
So do pulchellus generally have more pronounced tubercles than intermedius? I have only kept one pair of each, and in those I noticed the tubercles were quite a bit more pronounced in the pulchellus.
I thought this to be true. These can not be the same species...
Also they fit the size difference between the two species, as the "intermedius" are smaller as adults than my pulchellus adults.

12-11-2007, 03:02 PM
I have found two photos of a gecko from Hat Yai (Thailand) which probably the true C.intermedius:
http://thumb15.webshots.net/t/52/452/5/80/75/2910580750101352115IkWBFi_th.jpg (http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2910580750101352115IkWBFi)
http://thumb15.webshots.net/t/24/565/7/67/67/2120767670101352115DYosMf_th.jpg (http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2120767670101352115DYosMf)
Unfortunately nobody makes photos of Cyrtodactylus from the right side :D so we cannot be sure. But it looks similar to the fixed specimen from CAS collection (see a photo #3 (http://www.geckosunlimited.com/community/gallery/data/525/medium/intermedius1web.jpg) at the first post of this thread).
It is smaller and more gracile than C.pulchellus, and the coloration is lighter but more yellowish.

12-11-2007, 07:14 PM
Those look to have slightly larger tubercles than my group but otherwise spiting image of my "intermedius" group. Both species change colors considerably and mine have shown those exact yellowish tones, and from almost white to chocolate brown with yellow hew. Heres 3 male pulchellus and 3 male "intermedius" for you to compare vents...pulchellus first three, intermedius next 3...
The third pic is a pulchellus local closest to collecting area of "intermedius...yet different habitat, higher altitude and fauna. As you can see the pulchellus have that deep longitudinal groove, barely visible in the intermedius, not to mention less pores on the intermedius.
Let me know what you think.

12-11-2007, 09:36 PM
I noticed this link in that photo roundup was labeled peguensis...
http://thumb15.webshots.net/t/50/550/8/26/42/2785826420101352115arUyvy_th.jpg (http://travel.webshots.com/photo/2785826420101352115arUyvy)

12-13-2007, 12:56 PM
I noticed this link in that photo roundup was labeled peguensis...
Yes, its undoubtely not C.peguensis, but my opinion about another photos based no on the author's label. Is it C.chanhomeae ?

12-13-2007, 01:34 PM
There are to my understanding 9 C. chanhomeae in the US, I have seen at least 8 of those and a couple online, 1 in the wild and 1 being offered to the "world", highest bidder. All that I have seen have that general shape and pattern, but that picture would be the dullest color I have seen. If there are no other cave bow-fingers that look very similar to Chanhomeae, then it most likely is a very stressed or naturally drab individual.

12-13-2007, 02:36 PM
There are at least two species look similar to C.chanhomeae: C.sumonthai and C.tigroides (both also from Thailand) but I have not exactly labelled photos of them. But kindly see here:
what are you think about them?
They can be distinguished mainly by configuration of preanal and femoral pores :biggrin:.

12-13-2007, 07:39 PM
I am not sure about the Thai Cave Bow-fingers, but based on their limited micro habitats I would think they are relic's of one species and have slightly changed to better survive each cave/limestone biotope. It looks like the first picture is a young individual and the other two are adults. Great pictures, gives me a very good idea of habitat. If I had to guess, I would say these are what intermedius, then pulchellus descended from.
Speaking of intermedius, you think this one?...

12-14-2007, 09:12 PM
If I had to guess, I would say these are what intermedius, then pulchellus descended from. Speaking of intermedius, you think this one?...

Shane, I do not know so do not well understand this group. There are not clear for me what characters are conservative and what ones most variative. Almost every year some new species of Cyrtodactylus are described and some new combinations of characters so happen founded. Some new species have unclear affinities and look surprisingly, as for example C.brevidactylus or C.chrysopylos. But some others new species so much resemble to previous that it is difficult to distinguish them.
Now I have started to collect all data on this genus. Also I preparing a greater table including data on a statement of each characters at each of species. When I shall finish this work I shall answer you more. :) But I do not think that it will be at one of these days...:biggrin:
But if you speak about sensation (or intuition - as will tell correctly ?) that is no, I do not think that the true C.intermedius is closely related with C.pulchellus. It only similar to it at coloration pattern and habitus. But they differ from each other by many other characters as preanal area structure, the number of ventral scales at midbody, body size etc. Here I do not mean your geckoes, they are undoubtly something related with C.pulchellus, but not C.intermedius. Now I have arranged some pics and data. I am going to write about this topic tomorrow.

12-14-2007, 10:45 PM
I would love to hear about your findings. I would say you are right in the true intermedius and my "intermedius" are different, but to say so far just with scale counting I have to see DNA work. I can see the scales are in fact different.

12-16-2007, 02:21 AM
I was looking forward to your findings today. Anyways, based on my findings, I will call my group Cyrtodactylus spp. "Malay Intermedius". I have decided to not group them with the pulchellus as besides not having vent scale and pore counts of the two forms originally described intermedius, these have more exterior and habitat similarities to intermedius than pulchellus in most of my individuals. Unless someone goes back to this local and does a detailed study if there was an introduction or a true population, I find them unique whatever the outcome. Hopefully they will have their own name in the science world one day.

12-19-2007, 10:39 AM
Has no one else noticed that the number of bands on many of the old photos labeled "intermedius" have 5 from fore to back legs, while our pulchellus and intermedius type have only 4?

12-19-2007, 11:09 PM
Actually, almost all of my Pulchellus (12+) have 4 bands above vent, except two in picture where one has an extra band (the dark one shown twice) and one an extra broken band. All of my intermedius (10) have 5 bands above vent. Igor's link shows 5 bands above vent, but with a leg marking trying to form a band. I do see a difference though in older pictures of Thai imports from our Intermedius. They have more pulchellus like skin, rougher and different color tones.

12-19-2007, 11:42 PM
I'm only talking about the bands that start and end on the legs, and the ones in between. The animal in the post above, having 4 for example. Of course, it probably makes no difference given that many of my CB's only have 3 bands, where they might otherwise have had 4.

12-20-2007, 12:38 PM
In that case, my pulchellus have 3 bands, two distinct locals, and my "Malay intermedius" have 4 (all of them) when using that counting system. While I have yet to see other intermedius with more bands than 4 unless Igor's shot of one with a broken band/leg marking not even finding its way to 50% of a band. But, I should go count my babies bands now as "many of my CB's only have 3 bands" has brought up a good question.

After checking babies, 2 from a wc female "intermedius", they show more pulchellus traits (3 bands) and are growing much faster than any other pulchellus baby. She most likely bred in holding cage at exporter/importer or wild, as I had her only a week or two before droping eggs on me. She later died due to the stress but did have the 4 bands and smooth skin, unlike these babies. I am at a loss without the funds or time to do more detailed research on this myself.

02-10-2008, 07:20 PM
Not sure what happened to Badger...maybe his findings never panned out, too bad would have loved to hear some facts to this matter. Anyways here is a picture of a 100% "Malay Intermedius"(note yellow not creme edging / note extra solid band...
I can not say these are like the "intermedius" from other Countries as they do look slightly different, but they are I am sure not close to the pulchellus I have seen as not only do the adults look very different in many ways, the babies not crossed stand out very different as well.
Heres another side by side comp...
(note extra broken band...typical variability of pulchellus, "malay intermedius" does not show much variability)

02-11-2008, 11:36 PM
Some more pictures...
Note the slimmer build and more white at tip of tail like adults, and also carries a more docile temp. as adults do.