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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Gekkota
Infraordo: Pygopodomorpha

Familia: Carphodactylidae
Genus: Underwoodisaurus
Species (2): U. milii – U. seorsus

Underwoodisaurus Wermuth, 1965
Authority for current placement: Oliver & Bauer, 2011: 671
undisputed by all subsequent authorities
Original status: valid subgenus of Gymnodactylus


Anomalurus Fitzinger, 1843: 90 [junior homonym]
Original status: valid subgenus of Gymnodactylus
Annomalurus Fitzinger, 1843


Doughty, P.; Oliver, P.M. 2011: A new species of Underwoodisaurus (Squamata: Gekkota: Carphodactylidae) from the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Zootaxa, 3010: 20–30. Preview PDF
Fitzinger, L.J. 1843: Systema reptilium. Vienna: Braümüller u. Seidel. BHL
Oliver, P.M.; Bauer, A.M. 2011: Systematics and evolution of the Australian knob-tail geckos (Nephrurus, Carphodactylidae, Gekkota): plesiomorphic grades and biome shifts through the Miocene. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 59(3): 664–674. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.018
Russell, A.P. 1980: Underwoodisaurus Wermuth 1965, a junior synonym of Phyllurus Schinz 1822. Journal of herpetology, 14(4): 415–416. PDF
Shea, G.M. 2002: The identity of Phyllurus milii Bory de Saint Vincent, 1823 (Squamata: Pygopodidae: Diplodactylinae). Records of the Western Australian Museum, 20(4): 431–435. PDF
Wells, R.W.; Wellington, R.C. 1984(1983): A synopsis of the class Reptilia in Australia. Australian journal of herpetology, 1(3-4): 73–129. PDF
Wermuth, H. 1965: Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien Gekkonidae, Pygopodidae, Xantusiidae. Das Tierreich. Eine Zusammenstellung und Kennzeichnung der rezenten, Berlin, 80(1–22)


Australian Faunal Directory [as Nephrurus]
EoL [needs update]
ION [needs update]
Nomenclator Zoologicus

Underwoodisaurus is a small genus of Australian lizards in the family Carphodactylidae. Member species are commonly known as thick-tailed geckos, along with the species Uvidicolus sphyrurus.


The generic name, Underwoodisaurus, is in honour of British herpetologist Garth Leon Underwood.[1]

The genus Underwoodisaurus has a complex taxonomic history, but the currently accepted taxonomic concept follows Oliver & Bauer (2011),[2] with a second species subsequently recognised by Doughty & Oliver (2011).[3] Reptile systematists nowadays recognise a distinct family, Carphodactylidae, for this and some related genera.[4]

There are two species which are recognised as being valid:[4]

Underwoodisaurus milii (Bory de Saint-Vincent, 1825) – thick-tailed gecko
Underwoodisaurus seorsus Doughty & P. Oliver, 2011[3]

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Underwoodisaurus. The species Uvidicolus sphyrurus is sometimes placed in the genus Underwoodisaurus.

Adults of some species of Underwoodisaurus can reach a snout-to-vent length (SVL) of 80 mm (3.1 in). Preanal pores are absent. The feet are generally "bird-like" with long slender digits, and the tail is carrot-shaped. The underside of the body is white, and the dorsal surface ranges from dark purplish-black through reddish-brown to pale fawn, with small white, yellow and black spots in patterns.[5]

A thick tail is generally a sign of good health, although lack of thickness may indicate recent egg-laying.
Geographic range and

The genus Underwoodisaurus is endemic to Australia. These geckoes are found in a range of habitats including wet coastal heathlands, wet sclerophyll forests, arid scrubland, rocky outcrops and stony hills in eucalypt woodland.[5]

Thick-tailed geckos shelter under leaf litter, around the bases of trees in loose bark, and in crevices.[5]

They emerge in the evenings to hunt in open areas[5] for crickets, cockroaches and huntsman spiders. They eat once every 3–4 days. When they see prey they will stare at it and wag their tails, then pounce. When alarmed, the thick-tailed gecko will make a barking sound or hiss. They will also raise their backs. One main predator is snakes.

Thick-tailed geckos lay up to 2 eggs and up to 10 clutches per year. The first clutch of eggs is usually infertile. When the female is gravid the eggs are visible through the skin. The eggs take about 65 days to hatch. Their breeding season is roughly July to February.

Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Underwoodisaurus, p. 270).
Oliver, Paul M.; Bauer, Aaron M. (June 2011). "Systematics and evolution of the Australian knob-tail geckos (Nephrurus, Carphodactylidae, Gekkota): Plesiomorphic grades and biome shifts through the Miocene". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 59 (3): 664–674. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.018. PMID 21421065.
Doughty, Paul; Oliver, Paul M. (31 August 2011), "A new species of Underwoodisaurus (Squamata: Gekkota: Carphodactylidae) from the Pilbara region of Western Australia" (PDF), Zootaxa, 3010: 20–30, doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3010.1.2, retrieved April 3, 2012
Underwoodisaurus at the Reptile Database. Accessed 13 October 2020.

Cogger, Harold G. (1994). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia (5th ed.). Australia: Reed. pp. 275–276. ISBN 978-0730100881.

Further reading

Cogger HG (2014). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Seventh Edition. Clayton, Victoria, Australia: CSIRO Publishing. xxx + 1,033 pp. ISBN 978-0643100350. (Underwoodisaurus, pp. 283-284).
Wermuth H (1965). "Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien, Gekkonidae, Pygopodidae, Xantusiidae ". Das Tierreich 80: 1-246. (Uderwoodisaurus, new genus). (in German).
Wilson, Steve; Swan, Gerry (2013). A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia, Fourth Edition. Sydney: New Holland Publishers. 522 pp. ISBN 978-1921517280.

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