Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko - BIODIVERSITY

There are few geckos as bizarre and as fascinating as the satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phatantasicas), also referred to as “Phants” for short.  These geckos' remarkable ability to mimic a leaf has captivated reptile hobbyists for decades.  Originally described by George Albert Boulenger in 1888, Uroplatus phantasticas occurs in the tropical forests of the central to north east coast of Madagascar.

Determing the sex of phantasticas is rather simple. Typical of many gecko species, male phantasticas develop a clear hemipenal bulge at the base of their tail at around 5-6 months in age. Also phantasticas are sexually dimorphic in that males typically have a tail that resembles a leaf that has been predated on by insects more so than females who typically have a tail resembling a fresh leaf. However, this does not always hold true. Males typically attain a slightly smaller size than females, usually weighing in at between 4-6 grams. Females can attain 8-9 grams in weight.


Photos via San Diego Zoo

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