Gold dust day gecko
|Gold dust day gecko|
|Island of Nosy Komba, Madagascar|
Pachydactylus laticauda Boettger, 1880
The gold dust day gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) is a diurnal species of gecko. It lives in northern Madagascar, and on the island of Comoros; it has also been introduced to Hawaii and other Pacific islands. It typically inhabits various kinds of trees and houses. The gold dust day gecko feeds on insects and nectar. It is commonly known as the mascot of GEICO.
This lizard belongs to the smaller day geckos, and can reach a total length of about 15–22 cm (6–9 in). The body colour is a bright green or yellowish green or rarely blue. Typical for this day gecko are the yellow speckles on the neck and the upper back. There are three rust-coloured transverse bars on the snout and head; the upper part of the skin around the eye is blue. On the lower back there are three tapering red bars. The tail is slightly flattened. The under side is off-white. Juveniles lack the red colourations and the tail and limbs appear off-white.
These day geckos feed on various insects and other invertebrates, and are also capable of eating other smaller lizards. They also eat soft, sweet fruit and pollen and nectar from flowers, often congregating in groups of many individuals to feed off of one plant.
The males of this species are rather aggressive and can be quite quarrelsome. They do not accept other males in their territory. In captivity, where the females cannot escape, the males may also seriously wound a female.
The females lay up to 5 pairs of eggs. At a temperature of 28 °C, the young will hatch after approximately 40–45 days. The juveniles measure 55–60 mm. They should be kept separately since the juveniles can be quite quarrelsome. Sexual maturity is reached after 10–12 months.
Care and maintenance in captivity
These animals should be housed singly or in pairs and need a large, well-planted terrarium. The temperature should be about 28 °C during the day and drop to around 20 °C at night. The humidity should be maintained between 65 and 75%. In captivity, these animals can be fed with crickets, waxworms (wax moth larva), fruit flies, maggots, mealworms and houseflies. They will also eat fruits such as mango and so will also accept commercially available fruit mixes like Repashy fruit mix or Pangea.
- Christenson, Leann and Greg (2003). Day Geckos In Captivity. Ada, Oklahoma: Living Art Publishing. p. 194. ISBN 0-9638130-2-1.
- Henkel, F.-W.; Schmidt, W. (1995). Amphibien und Reptilien Madagaskars, der Maskarenen, Seychellen und Komoren. Stuttgart: Ulmer. ISBN 3-8001-7323-9.
- McKeown, Sean (1993). The general care and maintenance of day geckos. Lakeside, CA: Advanced Vivarium Systems.
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