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Toe pad morphology and adhesion in the miniaturized gecko, Chatogekko amazonicus (Gekkota: Sphaerodactylidae).

Chatogekko amazonicus is a miniaturized gecko from northern South America and is among the smallest of toe pad bearing lizards. The toe pads of C. amazonicus are miniscule, between 18% and 27% of the plantar surface area. We aimed to investigate the relationship between adhesive toe pad morphology, body size, and adhesive capabilities. Using scanning electron microscopy, we determine that the adhesive pads of C. amazonicus exhibit branched setae similar to those of other geckos, but that are generally much smaller. When compared with other gecko taxa, we show that C. amazonicus setae occupy a similar range of seta length: snout-vent length ratio and aspect ratio as other gekkonoid species (i.e. Gekkonidae, Phyllodactylidae, and Sphaerodactylidae). We demonstrate that C. amazonicus-even with its relatively small toe pads-is capable of climbing a smooth glass surface at a nearly vertical angle. We suggest that sphaerodactylids like C. amazonicus offer an excellent system for studying toe pad morphology and function in relation to miniaturization.

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