Anatomy of an enigma: an osteological investigation of the Namibian festive gecko (Narudasia festiva: Gekkonidae: Gekkota)

Authors

  • Juan D. Daza,

    1. CONICET, Instituto de Herpetología, Fundación Miguel Lillo, San Miguel de Tucuman, Tucumán, Argentina
    2. Department of Biology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Janina Aurich,

    1. Department of Biology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085, USA
    2. Argelanderstrasse 139, Bonn D-53115, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Aaron M. Bauer

    1. Department of Biology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Juan D. Daza, Department of Biology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085, USA. E-mail: juan.daza@villanova.edu

Abstract

Daza, J.D., Aurich, J. and Bauer, A.M. 2011. Anatomy of an enigma: an osteological investigation of the Namibian festive gecko (Narudasia festiva: Gekkonidae: Gekkota). —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 93: 465–486.

The monotypic genus Narudasia is a poorly studied Namibian endemic gekkonid lizard. It has been hypothesized to have close relationships with a diversity of other gekkotan genera, including representatives of three of the currently recognized families of geckos, but most such interpretations have been based solely on overall morphological similarity. X-ray CT scans, cleared-and-stained specimens and conventional radiographs were used to provide a detailed osteological description of N. festiva, with an emphasis on the cranium. Narudasia exhibits a number of features associated with miniaturization, including a relatively large neurocranium and a bulging occipital condyle. However, many skeletal features differ from other minaturized taxa but are shared with one or more larger-bodied gecko taxa. Narudasia shares a number of putatively derived features with at least some representatives of a large clade of Afro-Malagasy gekkonids, but at present neither molecular nor osteological data adequately resolve its relationships. It remains a phylogenetic enigma, but more extensive osteological taxon sampling across the Gekkota may ultimately reveal synapomorphies uniting Narudasia with particular Afro-Malagasy genera.

Ancillary