Skin mechanics and morphology of two species of Pachydactylus (Reptilia:Gekkonidae)
The southern African species Pachydactylus namaquensis is one of only a few mainland species of geckos that exhibits the escape strategy of regional integumentary loss. The skin morphology and mechanics of this species were compared to the same parameters in lhe sympatric congener P. bibronii. The tensile strength and modulus of elasticity of the skin of both species fall in the middle range of values for geckos as a whole. Skin of P. namaquensis,however, has approximately half of the tensile strength of that of P. bibronii. As in other skin-losing forms, the morphological basis for weakness lies in the bilayering of the dermis and the presence of zones of weakness within the upper layer of the dermis. Field experience suggests that P. namaquensis does not lose the skin as easily as most geckos exhibiting regional integumentary loss. In this species this escape strategy has probably evolved in response to the prey subjugation mode employed by rock-dwelling lizard predators.