Henkel's Leaf Tailed Gecko


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Gekkonidae

GENUS: Uroplatus

SPECIES: henkeli

DESCRIPTION:
Up to 12 inches in length. Coloring is variable; many have a beige or grey backgound with black cross-banding, while others are gray-green or almost white with brown banding. The anterior side is usually a whitish color. This gecko has a large triangular head, prominent eyes with a pink polka-dot appearance, vertically oriented pupils, flaps of skin around the edges of the head and body, long slender limbs and a long, broad, flat tail shaped like a leaf.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Rainforest of northern mainland Madagascar and the island of Nosy Be.

DIET:
Carnivorous. Insects and other invertebrates.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Nocturnal and arboreal. They do not venture high up into the trees or down to the ground. Two eggs are laid by the female and hatching occurs in 85-95 days. Three clutches may be laid per year.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Geckos are known for their ability to run on smooth vertical surfaces. Their toes are splayed at the end and the pads thus formed are covered with numerous microscopic bristles. It is assumed each bristle finds a tiny irregularity and attaches somewhat like Velcro hooks. Just before the foot is lifted to move on, the toes curl up at the ends in order to disengage the bristles. Their excellent camouflage helps keep them safe from predators while resting during the day on tree trunk or branch. They have a limited ability to change color depending on mood or changes in temperature or lighting. The whole tail may be dropped in escaping a predator; the regenerated tail is usually different in appearance. Also, when attacked, it lets out a screeching distress call that startles the predator and may allow the gecko to escape.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Also known as Fringed Leaf Tailed Gecko. This species of Uroplatus was only described as separate from U. fimbriatus in 1990. U. henkeli has no eyelids. The gecko licks its eyes to remove dust or other particles.

OUR ANIMALS:
The geckos can be found in the RAD room in the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo.

STATUS IN WILD:
CITES is not currently protecting the genus, but at the current rate of deforestation the genus will soon be threatened. Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Davies, Robert and Valerie. The Reptile and Amphibian Problem Solver. 1997. Tetra Press, Blacksburg, VA.
  2. Internet: Global Gecko Association, Fort Worth Zoo.
  3. Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. 1989. Facts on File Inc.,New York, NY.

Birds

Amphibians

Arthropods

Reptiles

Mammals