Madagascar day gecko

Phelsuma madagascariensis

SUBFAMILY Gekkoninae

TAXONOMY

Gecko madagascariensis Gray, 1831, Madagascar. The nominate form (the first subspecies to be named) and three additional subspecies—Phelsuma madagascariensis boehmei, P. m. grandis, and P. m. kochi—are all from Madagascar.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Phelsume de Madagascar; German: Madagassischer Taggecko.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This species grows to 3.9-5.1 in (100-130 mm) in snout-vent length. The body is heavy and the tail thick. The toes have pads that are broadened distally, with a greatly reduced first digit on each foot. The scales are small and granular, and the pupils are circular. Males have precloacal glands. These geckos are bright green with red markings on the snout, head, and back.

DISTRIBUTION

The species ranges across northern and eastern Madagascar.

HABITAT

These arboreal geckos are found on trees in disturbed areas and in primary forest; they also are found on houses.

BEHAVIOR

These geckos are diurnal and may congregate in high-density populations. Males maintain territories.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This is a generalist insectivore, but it also eats fruit or nectar, if available.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Several clutches of one or two hard-shelled eggs are laid every four to six weeks during the summer or early fall (November to May). The incubation period is about two months.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. CITES regulates international trade. SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This species is common in the herpetocultural trade. It breeds very well in captivity and can occur around human dwellings. ♦

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