Evolution and Ecological Adaptations of Micro ornamentation in Australian Geckos

Riedel, J. (2021)


Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, James Cook University. Morphological adaptation to different ecological demands is a driver of diversity. Squamate reptiles, including the diverse Australian gecko fauna, have evolved microstructures on their outermost skin surface. Geckos’ toepads feature adhesive hair-like setae, while the remaining skin surface features hydrophobic, self-cleaning spinules and small sense organs called cutaneous sensilla. I studied the evolution and ecological adaptation of these microstructures, applying scanning electron microscopy and comparative phylogenetic methods.