Blue-tailed day gecko
|Blue-tailed day gecko|
The blue-tailed day gecko (Phelsuma cepediana) is a diurnal species of gecko, a lizard in the family Gekkonidae. The species is endemic to the island Mauritius. It typically inhabits warm and humid places and dwells on different trees and bushes.
P. cepediana belongs to the middle-sized day geckos. It can reach a total length (including tail) of about 15 centimetres (5.9 in). There always is a dorso-lateral stripe present, which may be broken. A red stripe extends from the nostril to the shoulder. The male body colour is light green or bluish green. The backs of males have a bright blue colour and are covered with dark red spots and dashes. The males have deep blue tails. Females lack the brilliant blue colour of the males. They have a bright green back and rust-coloured spots.
The blue-tailed day gecko inhabits the island Mauritius where it is widely distributed. P. cepediana may also have been introduced to Madagascar where it has been reported a few times, amongst others in the region of Iviloina. These observations have not been confirmed though.
P. cepediana is mainly found on bushes and trees such as coconut palms, traveler's palms, banana trees and papayas. It also inhabits gardens and houses in suburban areas. It prefer a moist and warm climate. McKeown (1993) mentions that the original vegetation of Mauritius has been largely replaced with agricultural crops in which this day gecko cannot live.
The blue-tailed day gecko feeds on various insects and other invertebrates. It also licks soft, sweet fruit, pollen, and nectar. The flowers of the now critically endangered liana Roussea simplex produce copious amounts of nectar and are pollinated only by the blue-tailed day gecko. The blue-tailed day gecko later on plays a role by licking up a gelatinous substance secreted by the fruit which contains the minute seeds. It disperses the seeds in its droppings. Regrettably, the 2 mm long ant Technomyrmex albipes that was introduced to Mauritius from the Indo-Pacific area seals the flowers of Roussea with clay to protect mealy bugs. These drink the sap and excrete a sugary urine that is collected by the ants. The ants attack animals that visit the plant, preventing the blue-tailed day gecko from pollinating the flowers and eating from the fruit, and in this way seriously hampering Roussea's reproduction.
This Phelsuma species can be quite aggressive both toward its own and to other Phelsuma species. In captivity, where the females cannot escape, the males can also sometimes seriously wound a female. In this case the male and female must be separated.
The females of P. cepediana lay eggs in a protected location, and glue the eggs. At a temperature of 28 °C (82 °F), the young will hatch after approximately 40–45 days. The juveniles measure 40 millimetres (1.6 in).
Care and maintenance in captivity
P. cepediana should be housed in pairs and needs a large, well planted terrarium. It is important to provide the terrarium with sufficient air flow. The temperature should be between 28 and 30 °C (86 °F). The humidity should be maintained between 75 and 100 per cent. In captivity, the blue-tailed day gecko can be fed with crickets, wax moths, fruits flies, mealworms, and houseflies.
- "Phelsuma cepediana ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
- Beolens, Bo, Michael Watkins and Michael Grayson (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Phelsuma cepediana, p. 149).
- "Roussea simplex". Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- Christenson, Leann, and Greg Christenson (2003). Day Geckos In Captivity. Ada, Oklahoma: Living Art Publishing. pp. 123–124. ISBN 0-9638130-2-1.
- Henkel, F.-W., and W. Schmidt (1995). Amphibien und Reptilien Madagaskars, der Maskarenen, Seychellen und Komoren. Ulmer Stuttgart. ISBN 3-8001-7323-9
- McKeown, Sean (1993). The general care and maintenance of day geckos. Advanced Vivarium Systems, Lakeside CA.