Remarks on the Phelsuma barbouri— and Phelsuma klemmeri— phenetic groups, Phelsuma Gray, 1825

Loveridge (1942) made the first attempt to sort out relationships within the genus Phelsuma, neither groups were named nor was a phenetic key provided. In Mertens’s (1962) revision he slightly modified Loveridge’s (1942) characteristics and used them to designate species groups. Glaw & Vences (1994) added and modified groups relevant to that date. For Phelsuma klemmeri and Phelsuma barbouri however, neither a group was named, nor were they assigned to any of the existing groups. In the latest revision, by Glaw et. al (1999), Phelsuma klemmeri was placed as a single taxon within the P. klemmeri-group and the in the mean time described Phelsuma pronki (Seipp, 1994) was placed together with Phelsuma barbouri in the new P. barbouri-group.
Recently 4 other taxa were described, Phelsuma hielscheri, Phelsuma kely, Phelsuma malamakibo and Phelsuma vanheygeni (Nussbaum et al. 2000, Roesler 2000 & Lerner 2004, of which only P. kely was designated to a existing species group; the P. lineata-group (Schönecker et. al 2004).

Results & Discussion

Described species since 1999.— P. hielscheri and P. malamakibo seem to be related to the P. dubia-group, but both have keeled ventralia. The morphological characteristics of P. vanheygeni did not allow it to be assigned to one of the existing species groups. A complete new revision is thus necessary and will be published separately.

Phelsuma barbouri-group.— Glaw et. al (1999) placed P. barbouri together with P. pronki in the P. barbouri-group based on two criteria; the fact that both species are egg gluers, and the “similarities” between the two species. New records of the reproduction of P. pronki however prove that this species lays its eggs and not glues them to a surface (R. Gebhardt & H-P. Berghof, pers. comm.) as erroneously published by Henkel & Schmidt (1995). Therefore I suggest to exclude P. pronki from the P. barbouri-group and leave P. barbouri as the only member of this group.

Phelsuma klemmeri-group.— Glaw et. al (1999) considered P. klemmeri as the only species within this group. The new data on the reproduction of P. pronki, egg laying in stead of egg gluing, and the similarities in habitus suggest a closer relation to P. klemmeri. Both species are dorsoventrally flattened and have one or more strongly enlarged lateral tubercle scales between the orbit and the forelimb. Other similarities are the smooth ventral and dorsal scales, the uniformity in scalation and the divided subcaudalia, so there is little doubt about the close relationship of both species. P. pronki and P. klemmeri should form the P. klemmeri-group.

Current temporary status.— This status only consists of the typical Malagasy taxa and is only temporarily since P. hielscheri, P. malamakibo and P. vanheygeni can not be designated to any of the existing groups, making a complete revision necessary.

P. barbouri-group: P. barbouri

P. dubia-group: P. berghofi, P. dubia and P. flavigularis

P. guttata-group: P. abbotti, P. guttata, P. masohoala and P. seippi

P. laticauda-group: P. antanosy, P. laticauda and P. serraticauda

P. lineata-group: P. kely, P. lineata, P. pusilla and P. quadriocellata

P. madagascariensis-group: P. madagascariensis and P. standingi

P. modesta-group1: P. modesta

P. mutabilis-group: P. breviceps and P. mutabilis

P. klemmeri-group: P. klemmeri and P. pronki

Not assigned: P. hielscheri, P. malamakibo and P. vanheygeni


Glaw, F. and M. Vences. 1994. A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Second edition. Vences & Glaw Verlags GbR, Köln, 480 p.

Glaw, F., M. Vences & T. Ziegler 1999. Bemerkungen zu Phelsuma dubia (Boettger, 1881): Wiederentdeckung des Holotypus, Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen und Daten zur Fortpflanzung. Salamandra 35(4):267-278.

Henkel, F.-W. & W. Schmidt 1995. Amphibien und Reptilien Madagaskars, der Maskarenen, Seychellen und Komoren. Ulmer, Stuttgart.

Lerner, A. 2004. A new taxonomically isolated species of the genus Phelsuma Gray, 1825 from the Ampasindava peninsula, Madagascar. Phelsuma 12: 89-95

Loveridge, A. 1942. Revision of the Afro-oriental geckos of the genus Phelsuma. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zoöl. 89(10):439-482

Mertens, R. 1962. Die Arten und Unterarten der Geckonengattung Phelsuma. Senckenb. biol. 43(2):81-127.

Nussbaum, R. A., C.J. Raxworthy, A.P. Raselimanana & J.B. Ramanamanjato 2000. New Species of Day Gecko, Phelsuma Gray (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae), from the Reserve Naturelle Integrale d'Andohahela, Southern Madagascar Copeia 2000(3):763-770.

Roesler, H., F.J. Obst & R. Seipp 2000. Eine neue Taggecko-Art von Westmadagaskar: Phelsuma hielscheri sp.n. (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae). Zool. Abh. Staatl. Mus. Tierkunde Dresden 51(6):51-60.

Seipp, R. 1991. Eine neue Art der Gattung Phelsuma Gray, 1825 von Madagaskar (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae) Senckenb. Biol. 71(1/3): 11-14.

Seipp, R. 1994. Eine neue Art der Gattung Phelsuma Gray 1825 aus Zentral-Madagaskar (Reptilia: Sauria: Gekkonidae). Sencken. Biol., 74(1/2): 193-197.

Schönecker, P., S. Bach, F. Glaw. 2004. Eine neue Taggecko-Art der Gattung Phelsuma aus Ost-Madagaskar (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae). Salamandra 40(2):105-112