oa African Zoology - The genera Rhoptropus and Phelsuma (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) in southern Africa: a case of convergence and a reconsideration of the biogeography of Phelsuma

Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The genus Rhoptropella Hewitt, 1937 is shown to be a junior synonym of Phelsuma Gray, 1825 and the genera Phelsuma and Rhoptropus Peters, 1869 are compared. It is pointed out that Phelsuma ocellata shows a great deal of convergence with Rhoptropus but that both of these forms exhibit their own distinctive derived character combinations. The distribution pattern of Phelsuma on the mainland of Africa and on Madagascar is reviewed in the light of current theories of biogeography and past continental relationships. It is suggested that the distribution of Phelsuma may represent a track which is also occupied by other reptilian genera.

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