Standing's Day Gecko

Location

In the Zoo

Scientific Information

Scientific Name: Phelsuma standingi
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae
Genus: Phelsuma

Size

Male

Female

Height:
Length: 8 inches 8 inches
Weight:
Maturity: 9 months-1 year 9 months-1 year

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet: Omnivorous
Activity Timeframe: Diurnal
Interactivity: Social
Sexual Dimorphism: Yes
Gestation: 64-80 days
Lifespan in the Wild: 10 years
Lifespan in Captivity: 10 years

Geographic Range

Hot, dry regions of southwestern Madagascar

Conservation

Status in the Wild: Vulnerable
Threats: Habitat Loss

Characteristics

The Standing's Day Gecko's body is similar to a flattened cylinder, with shortened limbs. It's head is much larger than its body. This gecko has a characteristic blue body with a much paler underside. (Please note that younger geckos may look entirely different from their adult counterparts. Hatchlings have a yellow-green head with a series of lines and bars. Whereas, adults are light gray with some light turquoise color on the head and tail and tiny gray reticulated markings on their head and body. Wavy dark horizontal markings may be seen on the back, depending on the background.)Vocalizations are low, chirping or trilling calls.

Species Specifics

Sexual Dimorphism. Females are males are similar in size and appearance and average 8.25-10" in length. Males are distinguished from females by their large, well-developed brown femoral (thigh) pores.

Physical Characteristics

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Ecology

Habitat

The thorn forest vegetation in southwestern Madagascar. Found on low vegetation, shrubs and trees. (Until the early 1990's, the range of this species was one of the very few areas in Madagascar which was relatively undisturbed. However, because of deforestation, Standing's Day Geckos are now of special concern and considered vulnerable!)

Distribution

Hot, dry regions of southwestern Madagascar.

Diet

Omnivorous. Small insects, spiders and other arthropods make up the majority of their diet, but they also consume a fair amount of nectar and juices from fallen fruit.

Ecological Web

Secondary consumer.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Diurnal. These geckos are very active, moving about and exploring their environment constantly. They are not prolonged baskers and prefer somewhat shaded areas.

Behavior

Social Behavior

These geckos are highly territorial, with males being especially protective and displaying stereotypical behavior (e.g. tail waving and tongue flicking) unique to their species.

Reproductive Behavior

Females lay one or two round, hard-shelled eggs a month after breeding. Eggs are laid in tree crevices, in leaf axils, under stones or on the ground in leaf litter. Female geckos retain sperm so that during a year several clutches of eggs may be laid, after which there is a 2-5 month period of non-laying. The eggs are attached to each other and the female will hold them in her back legs until the shells have hardened. Once hatched the young are immediately independent from their mother, (precocial.)

Offspring

Precocial young. Once hatched, the geckos are immediately independent from their mother.

Conservation

Status

All Phelsuma except one are listed on Appendix II of CITES (i.e. threatened). The excepted one is on Appendix I (endangered). This reflects the tremendous amount of habitat destruction in Madagascar. Listed as Vulnerable by IUCN.

Historical

Until the early 1990's, the range of this species was one of the very few areas in the whole of Madagascar which was relatively undisturbed. However, because of increased deforestation, Standing's Day Geckos are now of special concern and considered vulnerable.

Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

How You Can Help

Fascinating Facts

There are several hundred species of geckos. Unlike the majority of geckos, those of the genus Phelsuma (around 36 species) are diurnal. Although nocturnal geckos have dull colors, day geckos are usually brightly colored and patterned.

Since most of the day geckos use flower nectar for a large portion of their diet, they are major flower pollinators.

Phelsuma almost certainly evolved on the African mainland, reached the height of their evolution on Madagascar (22 species) and then managed to spread themselves to other islands of the Indian Ocean, probably by rafting on dead trees.

Unlike most other geckos, the pupils in their eyes are round instead of vertical slits.

References

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. 1989. Facts on File. New York, NY.

Rundquist, Eric. Day Geckos. 1995. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ.

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