Goggia matzikamaensis

Bauer, Aaron M., 2017, Molecular phylogeny reveals strong biogeographic signal and two new species in a Cape Biodiversity Hotspot endemic mini-radiation, the pygmy geckos (Gekkonidae: Goggia), Zootaxa 4312 (3), pp. 449-470: 461-464

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Goggia matzikamaensis

sp. nov.

Goggia matzikamaensis  sp. nov.

( Figs. 1View FIGURE 1 F, 6, 7A, B)

Phyllodactylus rupicolus  (part) Branch, Bauer, and Good, 1995 Goggia rupicola  (part) Bauer, Good, and Branch, 1997

Holotype. MCZ R-192186: adult male. South Africa, Western Cape, along R358 east of Bitterfontein (30° 48' 55.2" S, 18° 23' 45.2" E). Collected by M. P. Heinicke, A. M. Bauer, T. Gamble, D. Zarkower, J. Marais, A. Kuhn, E. Frietas, R. Skinner, 31 July 2013.

Paratypes. None.

Referred Specimens. NMB R10524View Materials. South Africa, Northern Cape, 1.8 km N of Kliprand (30° 34' 47" S, 18° 41' 25" E)GoogleMaps  . NMB R10525View Materials. South Africa, Northern Cape, 2 km SSE of Kliprand (30° 37' 16" S, 18° 41' 56" E)GoogleMaps  . NMB R10526View Materials, 10553, 10998. South Africa, Northern Cape, 3 km N of Kliprand (30° 34' 09" S, 18° 41' 39" E)GoogleMaps  . All specimens collected by M. Burger, M. Fabricius, R. Kleine, 22–23 March 2007. SAM 47802View Materials –47803. Kliprand , Northern Cape, South Africa (30° 40' 19" S, 18° 43' 00" E)GoogleMaps  .

Etymology. The specific epithet means “from Matzikama”, and refers to the type locality, which is within Matzikama Local Municipality, the northernmost municipality in Western Cape Province. The epithet is used as an adjective.

Diagnosis. A small-bodied Goggia  , snout-vent length 27.03 mm. Body form is flattened, with a somewhat flattened head and rounded snout. The rostral scale bears a median cleft, and snout scales are relatively large, with 9 rows of scales between the rostral and the anterior margin of the orbits. Scales above the orbits are small, oval. Dorsal scalation is homogenous, consisting of uniform flattened subimbricate scales, grading to clearly imbricate on the venter. Midbody scale rows number 84. Digits bear a single pair of subdigital scansors (“leaf toes”) enclosing a small claw. Male has four precloacal pores. Color pattern consists of a brown background overlain with pale spots with orange centers and dark brown anterior margins that fuse to form a series of scallops; these spots are arranged in eight rows from the nape of the neck to the pelvis.

The combination of leaf toes, atuberculate dorsal scalation, and cleft rostral distinguishes this species from all non- Goggia  geckos in southern Africa. Goggia matzikamaensis  sp. nov. can be distinguished from G. microlepidota  based on its much smaller body size (SVL 27 mm in G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov. vs. 65 mm in G. microlepidota  ). Goggia matzikamaensis  sp. nov. can be distinguished from G. hexapora  , G. incognita  sp. nov., and G. lineata  in having only four, instead of five or six precloacal pores in males; G. incognita  sp. nov. and G. lineata  additionally usually have fewer than 80 midbody scale rows. All small-bodied species of Goggia  with the exception of G. rupicola  can be distinguished from G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov. based on color pattern: in G. braacki  , G. essexi  , G. hewitti  , and G. hexapora  , the pale spots and dark pattern elements typically form a clear reticulated pattern with approximately 10–11 rows of pale spots between the nape and pelvis, and the spots are white rather than orange ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 E); in G. gemmula  , the pale spots are large and yellow and are not arranged in any discernible pattern. In addition to color pattern, G. gemmula  has a more elongate body than G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov. Goggia braacki  and G. hewitti  differ from G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov. in being larger-bodied (SVL to 35 mm in G. braacki  , 37 mm in G. hewitti  ) and in having round or hexagonal scales above the orbits. The most morphologically similar species to G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov. are G. essexi  and G. rupocola  , but neither has small oval scales above the orbits. Goggia essexi  has round scales above the orbits, while G. rupicola  has large, regular, hexagonal scales above the orbits.

Description of the holotype. Adult male. SVL 27.03 mm. Body flattened, trunk fairly short (AGL/SVL ratio = 0.38). Head dorsoventrally flattened (HW/HD ratio = 2.38); snout rounded, about twice the diameter of the orbit. Lores inflated, interorbital region noticably concave. Ear opening is small, obliquely rounded, and without a tympanic shield. The rostral is subpentagonal with a median cleft, and the rostral along with the first supralabial and three nasals enter the nostril. The largest nasal borders the rostral. The nasorostrals are separated by a single granule. Supralabials number 8/8 (R/L), infralabials 7/7 (R/L); the mental is triangular and is bordered by two enlarged chin shields, which are in turn bordered by seven smaller granules. The snout is short, and snout granules do not differ noticeably from scales elsewhere on the head; all head scales are slightly raised, round to oval granules. there are 12 rows of scales from the rostral directly back to the level of the anterior edge of the orbit, and nine granules from the nostril to the anterior edge of the orbit; 18 granules separate the anterior margins of the orbits.

Dorsum covered by uniform, smooth, flat subimbricate scales, with larger, smooth, imbricate scales on the belly which are hexagonal in shape and may have denticulate edges. At midbody are 84 scale rows. Four precloacal pores are present anterior to the cloaca, and three enlarged tuberculate scales (precloacal spurs) are present on either side at the tail base along the hemipenial bulges. The limbs are relatively short (FL/SVL ratio = 0.19), covered in uniform, subimbricate granules, with the median series slightly broader than lateral scale series. The toe tips are rounded with small expansions bearing a pair of large, rectangular scansors (toe pads) between which is a small claw. The tail is slightly flattened, tapering, regenerated near the base. Original portion of the tail measures 2.05 mm; the regenerated portion is an additional 24.49 mm. The unregenerated portion of the tail is covered entirely with regular rows of uniform, flattened, imbricate scales, which are larger on the ventral side. The regenerated portion of the tail is entirely covered in large imbricate scales arranged irregularly.

Coloration. In preservative, the dorsum is medium brown in color. Broad, indistinct dark stripes extend from the nostrils through the eyes and above the ears to the nape. On the dorsum, a series of large, round, cream-colored spots form wavy transverse rows approximately 4–5 spots across. These are bordered anteriorly with narrow, diffuse darker brown lines forming a scalloped pattern. The original portion of the tail is patterned like the remainder of the body, whereas the regenerated portion of the tail is paler brown and lacks spots or scalloping. Ventrally, the body is cream-colored, with diffuse brown stippling throughout.

In life, the ground color is a warm brown. The pattern is as in preservative, but more distinct, with the dark temporal stripes, pale spots, and transverse scallops of the dorsum all being clearly visible. In addition, orange spots are visible in the anterior portion of each pale spot; these are not visible in preservative. The venter and tail appear as in preservative.

Distribution and Natural History. Goggia matzikamaensis  sp. nov. is known only from the type locality and nearby areas in the vicinity of Kliprand ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2). The type locality is at the southern edge of Little Namaqualand, and is in the small portion of the Hardeveld that lies between the Knersvlatke quartz plains to the south and the high Kamiesberg Mountains to the northwest. The primary range of the similar species G. rupicola  is to the north, along the northern and western flanks of the Kamiesberg and Komaggas Hills. At least one disjunct record of a G. rupicola  specimen we were unable to examine is documented from the vicinity of Kliprand. This specimen ( PEM R3486) probably is an additional representative of G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov. but requires morphological examination for confirmation.

Little is known of the natural history of G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov. The type specimen was found sheltering in a rock crack, and based on the species’ flattened body and close evolutionary relationship to G. rupicola  it is probably a rock specialist. The only other gecko found at the type locality was the large-bodied species Chondrodactylus bibronii  , which is known to feed on smaller geckos and may prey upon G. matzikamaensis  sp. nov.

front eđge of eye (CRG); snout granules from rostral to level of front of eye (SNG); supralabials (SL); infralabials (IL); pre-cloacal pores (PP); miđbođy granules (MBG).


Museum of Comparative Zoology


Naturhistorishes Museum


South African Museum


Port Elizabeth Museum














Goggia matzikamaensis

Bauer, Aaron M. 2017

Phyllodactylus rupicolus

FitzSimons 1938