Gehyra pulingka, Hutchinson & Sistrom & Donnellan & Hutchinson, 2014

Hutchinson, Mark N., Sistrom, Mark J., Donnellan, Stephen C. & Hutchinson, Rhonda G., 2014, Taxonomic revision of the Australian arid zone lizards Gehyra variegata and G. montium (Squamata, Gekkonidae) with description of three new species, Zootaxa 3814 (2), pp. 221-241 : 238

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Gehyra pulingka

sp. nov

Gehyra pulingka sp. nov

Figs 2B View FIGURE 2 , 3 View FIGURE 3 , 4B View FIGURE 4 , 10 View FIGURE 10 .

Gehyra 2n=42b " nana-montium" Moritz, 1986: p. 48.

Holotype: SAMA R 65248 View Materials , from Umuwa, Musgrave Ranges , South Australia (26° 28’ 45ˮ S, 133° 57’ 02ˮ E), collected by M. Hutchinson, on 26 May 2010, ( Fig. 10 A–B View FIGURE 10 ). GoogleMaps

Paratypes (n=16; all genotyped as ‘ Clade 2’): SAMA: R 28265 View Materials , Kulgera, NT (25° 50’S, 133° 18’E) GoogleMaps , R28322 View Materials –23 , between Victory Well and Betty Well, Everard Ranges , SA (27° 03’S, 132° 28’E) GoogleMaps , R 41876 View Materials – 77, 15km W Mimili , SA (27° 01’E, 132° 34’E) , R 42069 View Materials , 29 km SW Illintjitja , SA (26° 20’S, 130° 10’E) GoogleMaps , R 44892 View Materials , 8 km SE Mitchell Knob , SA (26° 11’S, 131° 53’E) GoogleMaps , R 50119 View Materials , 0.9 km SE Sentinel Hill , SA (26° 05’S, 132° 27’E) GoogleMaps , R51536 View Materials –37 K , R 51540 View Materials K , R 51565 View Materials K , R 51574 View Materials K, 35 km ESE Amata , SA (26° 15’S, 131° 29’E) GoogleMaps , R 54751 View Materials , Mt Howe , SA (26° 16’S, 133° 26’E) GoogleMaps , R 61926 View Materials K, Kurtjurntari Rockhole, WA (24° 53’S, 128° 46’E) GoogleMaps . WAM: R166314 , Kurtjurntari Rockhole, WA (24° 53’S, 128° 46’E) GoogleMaps .

Diagnosis. Distinguished from other Australian Gehyra by a combination of modally 7 or 8 divided scansors, small to moderate size, generally three pairs of enlarged chin shields, third infralabial notched, dorsal colour pattern a light to medium brown (in life) patterned by irregular thin black lines and circular pale spots, and a karyotype of 2n=42b ( Fig. 2B View FIGURE 2 ) ( Moritz 1986). Distinguished from most central Australian species ( G. variegata , G. versicolor sp. nov., G. purpurascens and G. montium ) by its strongly white-spotted pattern with dark markings forming short, wavy lines rather than discrete spots or continuous networks. Distinguished from G. moritzi by having short, black wavy lines rather than black spots, and from G. minuta , which has a similar colour pattern, by having the third, rather than second, infralabial notched.

This diagnosis applies to populations of Gehyra genetically assignable to “Clade 2” of Sistrom et al. (2013).

Description. Adult snout-vent length 38–49 mm (mean = 43.3 mm, n = 14). Length of original tail 43–56 mm (mean = 117% SVL, n = 6).

Nostril bordered by rostral, first supralabial, supranasal and two subequal postnasals. Usually a single internasal scale (occasionally two or none) separates the supranasals above the rostral. Supralabials 7–10 (mode 8). Infralabials 7–9 (mode 8). Three pairs of chin shields, outer (third) pair small (absent in three specimens), anterior pair in contact with only the first infralabial. Chin shields separated from the fourth and succeeding infralabials by the interpolation of a series of enlarged scales that margin the ventral edge of the infralabials. Third infralabial notched (all specimens) where this parinfralabial scale row starts ( Fig. 4B View FIGURE 4 ). Scansors under pad of fourth toe divided, 7–8 (mode 8). Precloacal pores in males 12–16 (mean = 13.9, n = 7).

The karyotype (2n=42b) is unique for this species, differing from the 2n=42a karyotype via a secondary constriction on pair 11 ( Moritz 1986).

In life, dorsally pinkish grey to reddish brown, the entire dorsal surface patterned by light spots that are generally strongly contrasting and precisely circular in shape, sometimes forming rather regular transverse series. The pale spots are interspersed with short dark irregular lines, which are more elongate and irregular than the pale spots.

Distribution. Rocky mountain ranges of north-western South Australia, extending into adjacent areas of Western Australia (northwest to the eastern Rawlinson Range) and far southern Northern Territory (Kulgera area).

Comments. Long included in G. montium , G. pulingka is consistently distinguishable in morphology, karyotype and DNA sequence data. The two species show overlap in distribution, although no cases of strict syntopy are known as yet. In the field, the colour pattern of blackish squiggles and prominent spots can be used to distinguish this species from true G. montium , which has a more continuous black dorsal network and small, weakly contrasting spots. Additional distinctions in chin shields (three versus two pairs), having the third, rather than second, infralabial notched and higher male precloacal pore counts will provide extra support if genetic data are lacking.

Etymology. The specific name is from the Pitjantjatjara language ( Goddard 1996) from the roots puli, rock, or rocky hill, and the suffix -ngka meaning pertaining to, alluding to the habits of the species and its distribution, which is confined to the desert areas occupied by the speakers of Pitjantjatjara and related dialects. Specific name would not change with gender of the genus.


South Australia Museum


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


Museum national d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratiore de Paleontologie


Western Australian Museum














Gehyra pulingka

Hutchinson, Mark N., Sistrom, Mark J., Donnellan, Stephen C. & Hutchinson, Rhonda G. 2014


Moritz, C. 1986: 48