Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2019-01-21
Page range: 563–577
Abstract views: 221
PDF downloaded: 6

Finaritra! A splendid new leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus) species from Marojejy National Park in north-eastern Madagascar

Zoologie et Biodiversité Animale, Université d'Antananarivo, BP 906, Antananarivo, 101 Madagascar
Zoologie et Biodiversité Animale, Université d'Antananarivo, BP 906, Antananarivo, 101 Madagascar
Zoologische Staatssammlung München (ZSM-SNSB), Münchhausenstraße 21, 81247 München, Germany Braunschweig University of Technology, Zoological Institute, Mendelssohnstraße 4, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
Zoologie et Biodiversité Animale, Université d'Antananarivo, BP 906, Antananarivo, 101 Madagascar
Zoologie et Biodiversité Animale, Université d'Antananarivo, BP 906, Antananarivo, 101 Madagascar
Zoologische Staatssammlung München (ZSM-SNSB), Münchhausenstraße 21, 81247 München, Germany
Braunschweig University of Technology, Zoological Institute, Mendelssohnstraße 4, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
Amphibia Madagascar Uroplatus


The Marojejy Massif in northern Madagascar is a constant source of herpetological surprises. Herein we describe a new species of leaf-mimicking leaf-tailed gecko, Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov., based on morphological and molecular phylogenetic evidence. This new species inhabits the rainforests of Marojejy National Park at low elevations and is morphologically similar to Uroplatus phantasticus, but differs by having a larger body size, relatively shorter tail, and dark-red pigmentation of the oral mucosa. Molecular data reveals a distance of 14.0–14.7% in the 16S rRNA gene to U. phantasticus, and haplotype sharing in the c-mos nuclear gene only with species of much shorter tails (i.e., with U. kelirambo and two undescribed candidate species). Similar to other members of the leaf-mimicking Uroplatus species in northern Madagascar, Uroplatus finaritra sp. nov. likely has a small geographic distribution, and is currently known only from the lowland rainforests of Marojejy. We discuss the value of the buccal mucosa colouration and tail dimensions of Uroplatus as taxonomic characters, and the potential drivers of their evolution. In order to reduce the risk of international trade under incorrect species names we suggest that exported CITES species should be obligatorily accompanied by information about their precide geographic origin within Madagascar.



  1. Andreone, F., Glaw, F., Mattioli, F., Jesu, R., Schimmenti, G., Randrianirina, J. & Vences, M. (2009) The peculiar herpetofauna of some Tsaratanana rainforests and its affinities with Manongarivo and other massifs and forests of northern Madagascar. Italian Journal of Zoology, 76, 92–110.

    Böhme, W. & Henkel, F.-W. (1995) Studien an Uroplatus II: Der Artenkomplex um Uroplatus ebenaui Boettger, 1879, mit Bemerkungen zu Uroplatus guentheri Mocquard, 1908. Herpetofauna, 17 (94), 11–23.

    Brown, J.L., Sillero, N., Glaw, F., Bora, P., Vieites, D.R. & Vences, M. (2016) Spatial biodiversity patterns of Madagascar's amphibians and reptiles. PLoS ONE, 11, e0144076.

    Bruford, M.W., Hanotte, O., Brookfield, J.F.Y. & Burke, T. (1992) Single-locus and multilocus DNA fingerprint. In: Hoelzel, A.R. (Ed.), Molecular Genetic Analysis of Populations: A Practical Approach. IRL Press, Oxford, pp. 225–270.

    Gehring, P.-S., Siarabi, S., Scherz, M.D., Ratsoavina, F.M., Rakotoarison, A., Glaw, F. & Vences, M. (2018) Genetic differentiation and species status of the large-bodied leaf-tailed geckos Uroplatus fimbriatus and U. giganteus. Salamandra, 54, 132–146.

    Glaw, F., Kosuch, J., Henkel, F.-W. Sound, P. & Böhme, W. (2006) Genetic and morphological variation of the leaf-tailed gecko Uroplatus fimbriatus from Madagascar, with description of a new giant species. Salamandra, 42, 129–144.

    Greenbaum, E., Bauer, A.M., Jackman, T.R., Vences, M. & Glaw, F. (2007) A phylogeny of the enigmatic Madagascan geckos of the genus Uroplatus (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa, 1493, 41–51.

    IUCN. (2012) IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN, Gland and Cambridge.

    Kumar, S., Stecher, G. & Tamura, K. (2016) MEGA7: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis Version 7.0 for bigger datasets. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33, 1870–1874.

    Librado, P. & Rozas, J. (2009) DnaSP. Version 5. A software for comprehensive analysis of DNA polymorphism data. Bioinformatics, 25, 1451–1452.

    Nylander, J.A.A. (2002) MrModeltest. Version 1.0b. Program distributed by the author. Available from: staff/nylander.html (accessed 17 December 2016)

    Patel, E. (2015) Extensive new boundary demarcation of Marojejy National Park. Duke Lemur Center SAVA Conservation Madagascar—Conservation news from the Sambava-Andapa-Vohemar-Antalaha region of NE Madagascar, 4, 1–3.

    Rakotoarison, A., Glaw, F., Vieites, D.R., Raminosoa, N.R. & Vences, M. (2012) Taxonomy and natural history of arboreal microhylid frogs (Platypelis) from the Tsaratanana Massif in northern Madagascar, with description of a new species. Zootaxa, 3563, 1–25.

    Rakotoarison, A., Scherz, M.D., Glaw, F., Köhler, J., Andreone, F., Franzen, M., Glos, J., Hawlitschek, O., Jono, T., Mori, A., Ndriantsoa, S.H., Raminosoa Rasoamampionona, N., Riemann, J.C., Rödel, M.-O., Rosa, G.M., Vieites, D.R., Crottini, A. & Vences, M. (2017) Describing the smaller majority: integrative taxonomy reveals twenty-six new species of tiny microhylid frogs (genus Stumpffia) from Madagascar. Vertebrate Zoology, 67, 271–398.

    Ratsoavina, F.M., Gehring, P.-S., Scherz, M.D., Vieites, D.R., Glaw, F. & Vences, M. (2017) Two new species of leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus) from the Tsaratanana mountain massif in northern Madagascar. Zootaxa, 4347 (3), 446–464.

    Ratsoavina, F.M., Louis, E.E. Jr., Crottini, A., Randrianiaina, R.D., Glaw, F. & Vences, M. (2011) A new leaf tailed gecko species from northern Madagascar with a preliminary assessment of molecular and morphological variability in the Uroplatus ebenaui group. Zootaxa, 3022, 39–57.

    Ratsoavina, F.M., Raminosoa, N.R., Louis, E.E. Jr., Raselimanana, A.P., Glaw, F. & Vences, M. (2013) An overview of Madagascar’s leaf tailed geckos (genus Uroplatus): species boundaries, candidate species and review of geographical distribution based on molecular data. Salamandra, 49, 115–148.

    Ratsoavina, F.M., Ranjanaharisoa, F.A., Glaw, F., Raselimanana, A.P., Miralles, A. & Vences, M. (2015) A new leaf-tailed gecko of the Uroplatus ebenaui group (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from Madagascar's central eastern rainforests. Zootaxa, 4006 (1), 143–160.

    Ratsoavina, F.M., Vences, M. & Louis, E.E. Jr. (2012) Phylogeny and phylogeography of the Malagasy leaf-tailed geckos in the Uroplatus ebenaui group. African Journal of Herpetology, 61, 143–158.

    Raxworthy, C.J. & Nussbaum, R.A. (1996) Montane amphibian and reptile communities in Madagascar. Conservation Biology, 10, 750–756.

    Raxworthy, C.J., Pearson, R.G., Zimkus, B.M., Reddy, S., Deo, A.J., Nussbaum, R.A. & Ingram, C.M. (2008) Continental speciation in the tropics: contrasting biogeographic patterns of divergence in the Uroplatus leaf-tailed gecko radiation of Madagascar. Journal of Zoology, 275, 423–440.

    Richter, M. (2008) Tropical mountain forests - distribution and general features. In: Gradstein, S.R., Homeier, J. & Gansert, D. (Eds.), The Tropical Mountain forest – Patterns and Processes in a Biodiversity Hotspot. Biodiversity and Ecology Series, 2, 7–24.

    Röll, B. (2000) Gecko vision—visual cells, evolution, and ecological constraints. Journal of Neurocytology, 29, 471–484.

    Ronquist, F., Teslenko, M., van der Mark, P., Ayres, D.L., Darling, A., Höhna, S., Larget, B., Liu, L., Suchard, M.A. & Huelsenbeck, J.P. (2012) MrBayes 3.2: Efficient Bayesian phylogenetic inference and model choice across a large model space. Systematic Biology, 61, 539–542.

    Salzburger, W., Ewing, G.B. & Von Haeseler, A. (2011) The performance of phylogenetic algorithms in estimating haplotype genealogies with migration. Molecular Ecology, 20, 1952–1963.

    Scherz, M.D., Glaw, F., Vences, M., Andreone, F. & Crottini, A. (2016) Two new species of terrestrial microhylid frogs (Microhylidae: Cophylinae: Rhombophryne) from northeastern Madagascar. Salamandra, 52, 91–106.

    Stephens, M., Smith, N.J. & Donnelly, P. (2001) A new statistical method for haplotype reconstruction from population data. American Journal of Human Genetics, 68, 978–989.

    Vences, M., Wollenberg, K.C., Vieites, D.R. & Lees, D.C. (2009) Madagascar as a model region of species diversification. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24, 456–465.

    Wollenberg, K.C., Vieites, D.R., van der Meijden, A., Glaw, F., Cannatella, D.C. & Vences, M. (2008) Patterns of endemism and species richness in Malagasy cophyline frogs support a key role of mountainous areas for speciation. Evolution, 62, 1890–1907.