Identity and history of an odd, old gecko (Gymnodactylus geckoides Spix, 1825, Phyllodactylidae) from the Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Germany

Herbert Rösler, Frank Glaw, Hinrich Kaiser


We describe a gecko specimen that was initially catalogued in the Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Germany, under the name Gymnodactylus marmoratus, a species now known as Cyrtodactylus marmoratus from Java, Indonesia. A close inspection revealed that this very old specimen (catalog number ZSM 245/0) is actually a member of the South American species Gymnodactylus geckoides. Intensive research of historic documents initially appeared to indicate that the specimen could be a lost Spix syntype, yet ultimately we were unable to pinpoint the specimen’s origin. Nevertheless, its provenance in the early part of the 19th Century makes for an intriguing historical herpetological anecdote that once again underlines the importance of active research in historical natural history collections.

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