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Thread: Photo guide to Australian geckos
06-01-2009, 06:31 AM #1
Photo guide to Australian geckos
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This post includes gecko photos from my trips to various parts of Australia. Australia has a fantastic diversity of geckos and reptiles in general. At the moment, the gecko count is 141 species but this number changes often due to species "splits" or new and exciting discoveries. Australia is an immense place and so much of it is inaccessible. There no doubt are more species awaiting discovery in the remote central/western deserts or on isolated mountain ranges here in the east.
My interest in reptiles was rekindled 7 years ago after finding FieldHerpForum on the net. I bought a field guide and then planned holidays around places that I wanted to explore for reptile photography. The combination of digital cameras, broadband and internet forums like GeckosUnlimited and FieldHerpForum have added a whole new form of interactive entertainment that appeals to me.
I have photographed reptiles in every Australian State but so far have not reached the red centre near Uluru or the Kimberley's in the far northwest. Both of these locations hold species that I would love to see and photograph someday. My favourite sites for geckos include Windorah (Qld), the Eyrean Basin west of Winton (Qld), Kalbarri (WA) and Shark Bay (WA).
I have included habitat shots with most of the gecko photos.
Chameleon Gecko (Carphodactylus laevis ) -- this species is restricted to upland rainforest on the Atherton Plateau. I've looked for it without success for years but finally found one late last year (2011).
Lord Howe Island Gecko (Christinus guentheri) -- common on some of the offshore islets near Lord Howe Island. I also saw one on the main island near our accommodation. On the mainland, geckos of this genus are found in the cooler southern portion of the continent. There is a strong southerly current that flows down the east coast of Australia. To me, this suggests that the ancestors must have rafted to Lord Howe from somewhere up in Queensland, far to the north of the current range of Christinus. I suppose that this must have occurred when Australia was a cooler place and covered with forests. Christinus must have been distributed more widely in the past.
Marbled Gecko (Christinus marmoratus) -- a common gecko in the cool, southern portion of Australia. When I lived in Melbourne (southern Victoria), I often saw them in my garden shed even in the winter. The following gecko was photographed a little north of Perth, WA.
Inland Ring-tailed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus mcdonaldi) -- these are big, impressive geckos that that live in a small area of the tropics in far north Queensland (FNQ). They are fast, alert lizards that climb well. One that I saw in Chillagoe NP jumped from branch to branch and then leapt down to the rocks and raced into a crevice when it saw me. Others were seen briefly on boulders before they disappeared into crevices.
Coastal Ring-tailed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus tuberculatus) -- I've seen this species in the Black Mountain area, Qld.
Cape Gecko (Diplodactylus capensis) -- This species has a tiny distribution near Exmouth, WA. I saw a number of these geckos on both of my trips to the Cape Range area. The geckos that I saw were sexually dimorphic with drab females and nicely marked males.
Fat-tailed Geckos (Diplodactylus conspicillatus) -- A well named gecko that is abundant in WA. I have only seen a few in the eastern deserts. The western examples of D. conspicillatus all had prominent a prominent stripe above the eyes. Eastern representatives seemed to lack this feature. These geckos are said to shelter in spider holes and they use their thick tails to form a plug in the hole. They are termite specialists.
Western Stone Gecko (Diplodactylus granariensis) -- I have only seen a few of these geckos in the arid western shrublands.
Ornate Stone Gecko (Diplodactylus ornatus) -- I have only seen a few of these geckos from the west coast.
Speckled Stone Gecko (Diplodactylus polyophthalmus) -- A friend in WA showed me this species with a limited distribution.
There are two very similar geckos found in the Shark Bay area of WA. The field guide mentions that the position of the rostral scale relative to the nostril is important for separating the two. I have never noticed a difference, but I do think that the head shape might be a more useful field character. The gecko on the left is Diplodactylus pulcher from Kalbarri. Notice that it has a fairly thick and blunt snout. The gecko on the right has a more finely-pointed snout and I believe that it is Diplodactylus klugei. Both are termite specialists.
Kluge's Gecko (Diplodactylus klugei) -- This species was described in 1998. It distribution is centered around Shark Bay, WA. Notice the extreme variability in patterns. Geckos with striped backs were the most common but some had saddles and others had a mixture of saddles and stripes.
Beautiful or Fine-faced Gecko (Diplodactylus pulcher) -- this is a fairly common species in some areas. Like D. klugei, it varied greatly in pattern with some animals showing saddles and others stripes.
Diplodactylus klugei or pulcher -- these geckos were found near Hamelin Pool at the southern end of Shark Bay. Both klugei and pulcher might be expected from this area. I am not certain of the identities but susupect that most of these are D. klugei.
Tessellated Gecko (Diplodactylus tessellutus) -- this is a common gecko in barren areas of western NSW, QLD and SA. They also are common in the mitchell grass downs of central Queensland.
Eastern Stone Gecko (Diplodactylus vittatus) -- a common gecko in dry eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia.
This is a variable species. Some have a zigzag dorsal stripe while others have straight-edged stripes. When this gecko is startled, it will crouch into the leaf litter where its disruptive colours blend well (photos 3 & 5).
Dubious Dtella (Gehyra dubia) -- an abundant "house" gecko in tropical/sub-tropical eastern Australia.
Southern Rock Dtella (Gehyra lazelli) -- this is a recent split from G. variegata.
Northern Spotted Rock Gecko (Gehyra nana) -- I have only seen one in the Northern Territory.
Robust Gecko (Gehyra robusta) -- This is a common species on on granite outcrops or road culverts in northwestern Queensland.
Tree Dtella (Gehyra variegata) -- a widespread and common gecko. As the name implies, it is often arboreal and found on trees as well as houses.
Gehyra sp. -- I was told that this large Gehyra from the north of the Cape York Peninsula was a known but undescribed species. A friend and I found two in rainforest near creeks.
Asian House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) -- These exotics are abundant in Australia, particularly in the tropical north. Towns like this are full of the geckos at night.
Bynoe's or Prickly Gecko (Heteronotia binoei) -- a widespread species that is found over much of the Australian continent. I have read that it consists of a species complex with some parthenogenic populations.
Desert Cave Gecko (Heteronotia spelea) -- this species has a small range in north western WA. The following gecko was photographed while on a night walk through a gorge at Karijini NP in the Pilbara.
Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) -- I don't see these geckos very often. They live along the tropical coast of Qld.
White-spotted Ground Gecko (Lucasium alboguttatum) -- these are beautiful geckos from the west coast of WA. I have found them above the coastal cliffs in the photo below as well as further inland in arid heath.
Gibber Gecko (Lucasium byrnei) -- these pretty geckos inhabits some harshest country in NSW. I have only found them in one area in northwest of the state. In that area, they are the abundant species of reptile with large numbers on the road at night.
Beaded Gecko (Lucasium damaeum) -- I have only encountered this single gecko near the western edge of its distribution in SA. From what I have read, it is a more common species in the southern mallee (shrubby eucalyptus woodland)/spinifex habitats but these are areas that I rarely have visited. I generally head to the west or the tropical north on my trips.
Pale-striped Ground Gecko (Lucasium immaculatum) -- These are beautiful geckos that mostly live in inaccessible country. I have found one area in the Eyrean Basin where they are common.
Mottled Ground Gecko (Lucasium squarrosum) -- I have only found a few of this species in WA. They are nicely coloured geckos.
Box-patterned Gecko (Lucasium steindachneri) -- these are beautiful geckos with a big range from outback NSW up through the dry portions of the Cape York Peninsula, QLD. They vary greatly in pattern. I have include photos of animals from various parts of the range of this gecko.
Sandplains Gecko (Lucasium stenodactylum) -- this is an abundant gecko in central coastal WA. Most showed a "Y" pattern on the back of the neck to the dorsal stripe.
Pilbara Ground Gecko (Lucasium wombeyi) -- These are really odd looking geckos form the Tom Price area of WA. I think that they are L. wombeyi but I am not certain. The Pilbara is one of those areas where new geckos will be described either through splits or new discoveries.
Nactus cheverti -- this species was fairly common at Mission Beach and at Chillagoe NP, QLD. It has a small range in the tropics of FNQ.
Nactus eboracensis -- I have only seen one on the upper Cape York Peninsula, Qld.
Black Mountain Gecko (Nactus galgajuga) -- this gecko has a tiny range and is only found on the boulders of Black Mountain NP near Cooktown, QLD. It was common on the rocks at night. These geckos have big eyes and seem to be alert and wary. I also saw the large Ring-tailed Geckos on the same rocks. These are one of the predators of the Black Mountain Geckos.
Prickly Knob-tailed Gecko (Nephrurus asper) -- I found these to be fairly common geckos in rocky areas in central western Queensland. So far, I have not encountered them elsewhere although they have a large distribution in Queensland. The first shot below illustrates the typical habitat where I have found this species.
Smooth Knob-tailed Geckos (Nephrurus laevis) -- I think that these are one of the most beautiful of the Australian geckos. They are big and certainly photogenic. Those from Shark Bay are especially bright and beautiful. The eastern populations are less orange and more of a deep purple in colouration. I usually find these geckos on red sand although they do occur in rocky habitats such as Cape Range NP of WA.
Northern Velvet Gecko (Oedura castelnaui) -- These are beautiful geckos from rocky areas in northern Qld. The surrounding habitat is usually dry eucalyptus savannah.
Lesueur's Velvet Gecko (Oedura lesueurii) -- this species is common in rocky areas near Sydney and also in southern Queensland. By day, the geckos appear dark but at night, their colour is light and closely matches that of the rocks where they live.
Marbled Velvet Gecko (Oedura marmorata) -- These are another big and colourful species of Velvet Gecko. They are common in the north.
Ocellated Velvet Gecko (Oedura monilis) -- this widely ranging species is one of my favourites its soft, pastel colours. I think that those from the Warrumbungle area of NSW are particularly nice. The habitat shot below was from Cape Hillsborough. I found the first gecko below near this area. The second image is one illustrates the typical pattern of those from the south end of the range. As you can see, these lizards vary greatly in colour and pattern by region.
Robust Velvet Gecko (Oedura robusta) -- these geckos are found from central NSW to southern Queensland. I usually see them in rocky areas but they can also occur on trunks of eucalyptus. They are common in the lower foothills to the west of Brisbane in wet eucalyptus forest.
Zig-zag Velvet Gecko (Oedura rhombifer) -- widespread but I have only seen it one on the lower Cape York Peninsula.
Southern Spotted Velvet Gecko (Oedura tryoni) -- These are one of the most nicely marked Oedura geckos.
Riverine Leaf-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus amnicola) -- These geckos are only found in rainforest habitat high up on Mt. Elliot near Townsville, Qld. Mt. Elliot is surrounded by dry eucalyptus woodland. It was a surprise to me to learn that the upper gullies on the mountain supported rainforest, the habitat preferred by this gecko.
Gulbaru Leaf-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus gulbaru) -- This species has a tiny distribution and is known only for the upper ends of two gorges in mountains near Townsville, Qld. I was very pleased to see this gecko, especially after the big effort at night to climb to its habitat.
Phyllurus isis habitat. So far, I have not seen these geckos but their entire distribution is visible in this photo. They only occur on the upper slopes of Mt. Juke and Mt. Blackwood.
Phyllurus nepthys -- these geckos are fairly common in the rainforest on the Eungella Plateau. These are the spiniest of the four endemic Phyllurus geckos that live in the Mackay region of Qld.
Mt. Ossa Broad-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus ossa) -- this gecko has a tiny range in a coastal range located to the north of Mackay. I will never forget the search for this species since I walked into a sapling stinging tree. The neurotoxins from this tree were extremely painful and I had a miserable 24 hours until burning finally subsided. The silica hairs continued to cause an odd tingling sensation in my skin for several months after the encounter. I learned to be very careful when walking in areas with this tree.
Broad-tailed Gecko (Phyllurus platurus) -- a common species on sandstone outcrops around Sydney, NSW. All of the following were from the hills in the Wollongong area.
Border Beaked Geckos (Rhynchoedura angusta) and Eyre Basin Beaked Geckos (R. eyrensis) are recent splits from R. ornata. -- To me, they appear very similar and I don't yet know how to separate them in the field. Both overlap broadly in western NSW. These photos are from Mutawintji area, NSW, and Windorah, QLD. I think that they are R. angusta but am not certain.
... but what is this? I found it to the west of Winton, Qld, and a few hundred kms from other known populations of Beaked Geckos. I suppose that it would be an extension of R. angusta but don't know for certain.
I photographed these geckos along the road between Broken Hill and Tibooburra, NSW. They could be either Border Beaked Geckos (Rhynchoedura angusta) or Eyre Beaked Geckos (Rhychoedura eyrensis) since both are possible in this part of the state.
Eastern Beaked Gecko (Rhynchoedura ormsbyi) -- This is another recent split from ]i]R. ornata[/i]. These were photographed from the Gundabooka area, NSW.
Western Beaked Gecko (Rhynchoedura ornata) -- I've only seen this one from Shark Bay, WA. This is another recent split from ]i]R. ornata[/i].
Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko (Saltuaris coronutus) -- these amazing geckos are common in rainforests on the Atherton Tablelands of FNQ. I have found a number while on night. I usually see them high overhead on large branches of trees but sometimes they are low enough for photos. Once, I found one right on the road on a cool, misty night.
Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko (Saltuarius swaini) -- This species is common in montane rainforests of southeastern QLD. I think that the juvenile was probably the most elegant of all the leaf-tails that I have ever encountered.
Wyberba Leaf-tailed Gecko (Saltuaris wyberba) -- This species has a tiny distribution in the granite belt of southern QLD. I have seen them on the road at night but they are more easily seen on granite outcrops.
Northern Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus ciliaris): this is a common and widespread species. I've not yet seen the colourful race from the Northern Territory.
Strophurus krisalys and S. ciliaris are quite similar in appearance. These geckos overlap in range in some areas such as near Windorah, Qld. They can be difficult to identify unless they open their mouths. The mouth lining of S. krisalys is blue whereas that of S. ciliaris is orange .
Jewelled Gecko (Strophurus elderi) -- These are lovely geckos that are widespread in the dry areas but are hard to find. They live in clumps of spinifex.
Southern Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus intermedius) -- I only saw this species for the first time last year near Bourke, NSW. I've looked for it in the same area before on several occasions but without success. On my successful trip, conditions must have been just right and I found at least 10 on the road within an hour of searching.
Southern Phasmid Gecko (Strophurus jaenae) -- this tiny gecko was found on the road near Sandfire (Great Sandy Desert), WA. It is a spinifex specialist.
Strophurus krisalys -- fairly common in portions of central western QLD. I've found them on red dunes as well as in rocky country with scattered shrubs.
Smooth Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus spinigerus) -- this gecko is abundant in the southwestern portion of WA. I saw huge numbers on the road at night north of Perth.
Western Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus strophurus) -- another common spiny-tailed gecko in WA. It was common to the north and east of the range of S. spinigerus.
Golden-tailed Gecko (Strophurus taenicauda) -- this beautiful Strophurus is confined to brigalow habitats in southern Queensland. I have only seen this single animal.
Eastern Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus williamsi) -- an abundant species in the mid-western highlands of NSW north into QLD.
Thick-tailed Gecko (Underwoodisaurus milii) -- This is a widespread gecko that is common in some areas.
Granite belt Thick-tailed Gecko (Uvidicolus sphyrurus) -- This is the only individual of this species that I have seen despite multiple searches. It seems to be a difficult species to locate. Its colouration is a close match to the granite boulders where it lives. It is restricted the granite belt of southern QLD and northeastern NSW.
Fraser's Delma (Delma fraseri) -- from Perth, WA. A friend in WA showed me this species.
Side-barred Delma (Delma grayii) -- from Perth, WA. A friend in WA showed me this species.
Patternless Delma (Delma inornata) -- one from the Warrumbungle area, NSW.
Sharp-snouted Delma (Delma nasuata) -- one from the Exmouth area, WA.
Leaden Delma (Delma plebia) -- one from the Warrumbungles area.
Burton's Snake Lizard (Lialis burtonis) -- found over most of Australia. Highly variable in pattern, even in a single area.
Keeled Legless Lizard (Pletholax gracilis) -- near Perth, WA. A friend in WA showed me this species.
Common Scaly-foot (Pygopus lepidopodus) -- a widespread species.
Western Hooded Scaly-foot (Pygopus nigreceps) -- a beautiful scaly foolt that is common from the Shark Bay area and north.
Eastern Hooded Scaly-foot (Pygopus schraderi) -- seems to be much harder to find than Western Hooded Scaly-foots. So far, I've only seen two of this species.
... that is all as of June 2012!
Last edited by moloch; 06-22-2012 at 11:13 PM.
06-01-2009, 07:16 AM #2
Thank you for sharing these tonnes of fotos inclusive the short comments.
I would take five and more minutes to see such fotos as well.They are as good as always.
The diplo's and lucasium are stunning.
Last edited by sunny; 06-01-2009 at 07:18 AM.
06-01-2009, 07:28 AM #3
This might just be the best post I've ever seen on this forum!
Thank you soooooo much!
06-01-2009, 07:28 AM #4
I must admit something to you: I saved each photo! This is truly one of the best potst I have ever seen! Pictures of the animals I love in situ and some locality and habitat data! It doesn't get any better then this!
Thank you so much! And if I may be so forward. I would love a similar post for Australia's dragons, varanids and skinks .
Aeluroscalabotes felinus "Cameron highlands
Aeluroscalabotes felinus "silver eyes"
06-01-2009, 09:32 AM #5
I enjoyed this post more than any other in a LONG time. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this!
Ridge and Valley Reptiles
06-01-2009, 03:15 PM #6
best addition in a long time
thxE. Macularius 2.3.x
U. Milii 1.1.0
06-01-2009, 06:31 PM #7
Thanks for this post, it might even be the best forum post I've ever seen! I might even print it (if you allow me to do that?), and take it with me when I go there and search for reptiles! I would also be very interested in a similar post on "the other lizard species of Australia"...Best Regards,
Jeroen van Leeuwen
G. vittatus, G. albogularis fuscus, G. ocellatus, G. caudiscutatus, S. roosevelti, S. elegans, L. williamsi, P. robertmertensi, P. klemmeri, L. lugubris, H. typus, G. mutilata
06-01-2009, 07:37 PM #8
I just love all your posts, but this is the best one of them all.
Looking at your pictures is almost as good as seeing them in person. I always jump right to your posts, can't wait to see what you'll have for us.
06-01-2009, 09:04 PM #9
Thank you for sharing and taking the time to create such an amazing thread!
I'm sure many of us will be re-visting this thread over and over again!Looking for N.levis and P.rangei
06-02-2009, 08:09 AM #10
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