A new velvet gecko (Oedura: Diplodactylidae) from Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory

Paul M. Oliver, Chris J. Jolly, Phillip L. Skipwith, Leonardo G. Tedeschi, Graeme R. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Over the last decade, the combination of biological surveys, genetic diversity assessments and systematic research has revealed a growing number of previously unrecognised vertebrate species endemic to the Australian Monsoonal Tropics. Here we describe a new species of saxicoline velvet gecko in the Oedura marmorata complex from Groote Eylandt, a large island off the eastern edge of the Top End region of the Northern Territory. Oedura nesos sp. nov. differs from all congeners in combination of moderate size, and aspects of tail morphology and colouration. It has not been reported from the nearby mainland regions (eastern Arnhem Land) suggesting it may be an insular endemic, although further survey work is required to confirm this. While Groote Eylandt is recognised as a contemporary ecological refuge for declining mammal species of northern Australia, newly detected endemic species suggest it may also be of significance as an evolutionary refuge for many taxa, especially those associated with sandstone escarpments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-450
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 20 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Anindilyakwa Traditional Owners of Groote Eylandt for their permission and assistance to undertake this work. Research was undertaken by NT Parks under Wildlife Scientific research permit no. 44636 and CDU Animal Ethics permit no. A13026. Field assistance on Groote Eylandt was provided by Jaime Heiniger. We thank R. Sadlier, J. Rowley, G. Shea and S. Mahony (AMS), J. Melville, K. Smith and D. Bray (NMV), G. Dally (NTM), P. Couper and A. Amey (QM), M. Hutchinson and C. Kovach (SAMA), C. Moritz (ANU) and C. Stevenson (WAM) for providing access to material or data in their care; M. Clancy, J. Mulder, S. Nielsen, and S. Zozaya for providing photos of live animals; and A. de Laive for assistance producing figures. Revisionary and survey work on the Oedura marmorata complex has been funded by a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Melbourne to PMO, an Australian Research Council Discovery early career researcher fellowship to PMO, an Australian Research Council linkage grant to PMO, P. Doughty, and M. Lee, an Australian Biological Resources Survey Grant to M. Adams, PMO, P. Doughty, and M. Lee, and an ARC Laureate Fellowship to C. Moritz. We thank two reviewers for constructive feedback which significantly improved the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 Magnolia Press.


  • Australian Monsoonal Tropics
  • Ecological refuge
  • Endemism hotspots
  • Insular
  • Oedura nesos sp. nov.
  • Sandstone escarpment
  • Top End

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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