Phelsuma grandis Gray, 1870

The Madagascar Giant Day Gecko.

Distribution:

These geckos are native to the rainforest and dry deciduous forests of northern Madagascar. They are often found near small human settlements, where they take advantage of the available perches and the attracted insects.

This species is invasive in Florida and Hawaii, where it has escaped from captivity.

Morphology and Colouration:

This is one of the largest extant gecko species in the world, reaching a maximum length of 30cm (12in).

All individuals possess a red frenal stripe (between the nostril and the front of the eye). The back and top of the head usually also exhibit red spots, but these are not always present.

Both sexes possess femoral pores. Males produce waxy secretions from these, which exude pheromones.

Habits:

P. grandis is a diurnal, arboreal species, living on a variety of tree types. Males of this species are territorial.

These geckos eat invertebrates, small vertebrates, and nectar.

Eggs are laid alone or in pairs, typically in small tree hollows or other tight spaces where they are at low risk from predation.

In captivity, these geckos can live up to 20 years of age.

Conservation Status:

P. grandis is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. They are a CITES Appendix II species - the export quota for 2013 is 103 individuals.

Taxonomy:

This species is part of the P. madagascariensis-complex - a group of very closely related geckos. It was elevated from sub-species status (P. madagascariensis grandis) in 2007, after ecological niche modelling revealed clear differences between lineages. This conclusion received further genetic support by Rocha et al. 2010.

Phylogeny:

Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Squamata-Gekkonidae-Phelsuma-P. grandis

Photo by Mark Scherz.

Click here to see more TaxonFiles!

References:

Raxworthy, C.J.; C.M. Ingram; N. Rabibisoa and R.G. Pearson (2007) ‘Applications of Ecological Niche Modeling for Species Delimitation: A Review and Empirical Evaluation Using Day Geckos (Phelsuma) from Madagascar’, Systematic Biology 56(6):907-923

Rocha, S.; H. Rösler; P.-S. Gehring; F. Glaw; D. Posada; D.J. Harris; M. Vences (2010) ‘Phylogenetic systematics of day geckos, genus Phelsuma, based on molecular and morphological data (Squamata: Gekkonidae)’, Zootaxa 2429:1-28

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