The gecko Hemidactylus fasciatus is widespread in rainforest regions of equatorial Africa, from Guinea to Cameroon. Recently, this taxon was identified as a cryptic complex of at least five species, using multilocus genetic data and coalescent models for species delimitation. Here, we provide the formal descriptions of four new species from tropical West and Central Africa. As typical for cryptic species, the new species are genetically distinct, but difficult to distinguish using external morphology. However, coloration, shape of the body crossbands, and body size, are important distinguishing characters for this complex.
We provide a new taxonomy for this complex that includes the following forest gecko species: H. fasciatus is now restricted to West Africa occurring eastwards to the Dahomey Gap, Hemidactylus kyaboboensis sp. n. is known only from within the Dahomey Gap, H. eniangii sp. n. is distributed from the Dahomey Gap to western Cameroon, H. coalescens sp. n. occurs from central Cameroon to southern Gabon, H. biokoensis sp. n. is restricted to Bioko Island, and H. ituriensis, herein recognized as full species, is known from several localities in eastern Africa.
Key words: Africa, rainforest, Sauria, Gekkonidae, Hemidactylus fasciatus complex, Hemidactylus ituriensis.
Philipp Wagner, Adam D. Leaché & Matthew K. Fujita. 2014. Description of Four New West African Forest Geckos of the Hemidactylus fasciatus Gray, 1842 complex, revealed by coalescent species delimitation. Bonn zoological Bulletin. 63 (1): 1–14