Saturday, 27 April 2013

Species of the Day: Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus Phantasticus)

These 'fantastic' geckos are found only in Madagascar. They are amongst the smallest of the Uroplatus (Leaf-Tailed Gecko) family and are renowned for their amazing camouflage (like all the Leaf-tailed geckos). Using their camouflage the Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko mimics dead leaves, helping them to sleep peacefully during the day and ambush insect prey by night.

The common name Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko comes from the rather sinister looking "eyelash" projections over the gecko's eyes. Like all geckos the Uroplatus Phantasticus has no eyelids, rather, they merely have clear specialized scales which protect the eyes. Instead of cleaning the eyes with tears and eyelids, the Uroplatus Phantasticus uses it's long, mobile tongue to clean debris from it's eyes.

Like all the animals and plants of madagascar, the Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko's survival is dependent on the ecological viability of Madagascar. Without the forests which it calls home, this beautiful gecko will slip, like so many of the other endemic species of Madagascar from abundance into obscurity and from obscurity into extinction.

(Satellite image showing levels of Deforestation of Madagascar)

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is one of many organizations fighting for the survival of the forests of Madagascar and the animals/plants/people which call the forests home. Check out some of their projects here:

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