On the identity of west Saharan geckos of the Tarentola ephippiata complex (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae), with comments on an extreme case of syntopy with their close relative T. annularis
Tarentola geckos have a widespread geographic distribution and occur both in the Palearctic and Afrotropical realms, as well as the Neotropical region. Particularly, across North Africa phenotypically similar and cryptic species can be found, like the west Saharan members of the T. ephippiata complex. However, the taxonomic relationships and phylogeographic patterns of these geckos are not fully understood. Here we show that some specimens of Tarentola geckos from Mauritania and southern Morocco previously identified as T. hoggarensis can actually be assigned to T. panousei, a taxon treated as a synonym until now. Because the corresponding type specimen has apparently been lost, we designate a neotype for T. panousei referring to a suitable specimen from the type locality. Based on a morphological examination of the neotype and comparative material we provide a detailed redescription of T. panousei and evaluation of its diagnostic characters. Moreover, we report on a syntopic occurrence of T. annularis and T. panousei on an isolated acacia tree in the Western Sahara and the (micro) habitat use of both species.