Webfooted gecko

Palmatogecko rangei

SUBFAMILY

Gekkoninae

TAXONOMY

Palmatogecko rangei Andersson, 1908, Luderitz, Namibia OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Gecko du désert; German: Schwimmfufigecko. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This species usually is 2.4-2.6 in (60-65 mm) in snout-vent length, with a maximum of 3.2 in (78 mm). The body is elongate and cylindrical, with slender legs terminating in broad webbed feet. The skin is translucent and pinkish with brown markings on top and bright white below.

DISTRIBUTION

The species is distributed through western Namibia and adjacent northwestern South Africa and western Angola.

HABITAT

These geckos inhabit the Namib Desert dunes.

BEHAVIOR

This species is nocturnal and retreats by day into burrows up to 20 in (50 cm) long, excavated in windward dune faces using webbed feet. It assumes a stiff-legged posture when it is alarmed. Males attack and bite to defend the area around burrows.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This gecko preys on dune-dwelling spiders and beetles. All water is obtained from condensed fog or from prey.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The species breeds in spring. Females lay two calcareous (hard-shelled) eggs, 0.8 X 0.4 in (21 X 10 mm), in burrows in the sand in summer (November to March). Incubation lasts about 90 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

The species is widespread and common in most of its range in Namibia and probably in Angola. A small South African population is threatened by diamond-mining operations.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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