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J Morphol. 2000 Sep;245(3):241-68.

Laryngotracheal morphology of Afro-Madagascan geckos: a comparative survey.

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Vertebrate Morphology Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


The structural variation of the gekkonid larynx and trachea is examined within a representative subset of 17 species of Afro-Madagascan gekkonines to determine if there are underlying morphological correlates of vocalization. The documented morphology is compared to that of the tokay (Gekko gecko), which has previously been described. Data were obtained from gross anatomical observations, scanning electron microscopy, histological examinations and computer-generated, three-dimensional, skeletal reconstructions. Although there is limited variation among most Afro-Malagasy gekkonids, the larynges of Ptenopus garrulus and Uroplatus fimbriatus exhibit marked degrees of differentiation, suggesting that laryngeal and tracheal morphology may account for the documented vocal variability of gekkonid lizards. Cladistic analyses indicated that parallel adaptive trends characterize the laryngeal morphology of the examined taxa. Alternate designs and refinements to a model of gekkonid phonation are presented, and the evolution of acoustic communication in the Gekkonidae is considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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