Stenodactylus mauritanicus Guichenot, 1850,

Metallinou, Margarita & Crochet, Pierre-André, 2013, Nomenclature of African species of the genus Stenodactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae), Zootaxa 3691 (3), pp. 365-376: 371

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Stenodactylus mauritanicus Guichenot, 1850


Stenodactylus mauritanicus Guichenot, 1850 

1850 Stenodactylus Mauritanicus Guichenot, Exploration  scientifique de l’Algérie pendant les années 1840, 1841, 1842 publiée par ordre du gouvernement et avec le concours d’une commission académique. Sciences Physiques. Zoologie V. Histoire Naturelle des Reptiles  et des Poissons: 5.

Guichenot (1850) refers to at least three specimens: two specimens in the MNHN collection, collected by Levaillant and Bravet, and one specimen observed by himself near Oran. The MNHN collection still holds three specimens labeled as types or former types: MNHN 6768 (labeled as “ Type ” on the card and “ Lectotype ” on the vial), collected by Guichenot from Oran and MNHN 2339 and 6769 (both labeled as “ Paralectotype ” on the cards and the vials), collected by Levaillant ( Oran) and Bravet (spelled Bravais on the card in the MNHN, where it is said to come from Algiers), respectively. These three specimens are obviously the ones mentioned by Duméril and Duméril (1851): 47, “ Oran: M. Guichenot, M. Levaillant, M. Bravais”) and Duméril (1856: 487, which can be translated as “the museum owns the three specimens used for the description. They have been collected in Oran by Guichenot and by Levaillant and Bravais”). We thus agree with Brygoo (1990) that the three specimens MNHN 6768, 6769 and 2339 are the original syntypes. However, contrary to what Brygoo (1990) implies, it is clear that Guibé (1954) did not make a valid lectotype designation when he referred to specimen MNHN 6768 as “the holotype ” for a taxon that was based on more than one specimen, as likewise explained above for Stenodactylus guttatus Cuvier, 1829  (the Code Art. 74.5). We have been unable to find a valid lectotype designation for this nomen.

Even though the locality marked on the label of one of the specimens (MNHN 6769) is “ Alger ” (= Algiers), Guichenot (1850) states that the species only occurs in the surroundings of Oran. As it is evident from Guichenot’s (1850) text, “ Alger ” was at the time used not only for the city itself but also for most of present-day Algeria, and it is often difficult to know which area it referred to. It seems, however, that Guichenot (1850), like Duméril and Duméril (1851) and Duméril (1856) later, interpreted the locality information in the MNHN catalogue as “ Oran ” for all three specimens, possibly based on their knowledge of where Bravet was collecting.

Name-bearing type: three extant syntypes, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle MNHN 2339, 6768 and 6769. Type locality: Algeria, surroundings of Oran.

Proposed status: Stenodactylus mauritanicus Guichenot, 1850  .