Hawaii State Reptile
Gold Dust Day Gecko (common name)
Phelsuma laticauda laticauda (scientific name)
Gold dust day geckos prefer warm temperatures combined with moderately humid air. These lizards are probably native to a few Indian Ocean islands, though today their range has increased. Unlike most geckos, these colorful lizards are active in the daytime. Daytime activity and their usually vivid coloring make them particularly noticeable to humans. These lizards are often aggressive, even to each other, and not easily handled. In spite of that, they often choose to live near houses or in areas with many people.
ALSO KNOWN AS
The gold dust day gecko is brightly colored, mostly green with a white belly. It has turquoise blue eyelids, and a male can sometimes have blue highlighting on its feet, legs, and tail. This lizard also usually has a yellow tint on its back and tail. When examined closely, the yellow coloring is fine dots, which give the lizard its common name, "gold dust." The gold dust day gecko also has a few rusty red markings, three narrow horizontal stripes on the nose and head, and three short blotches at the rear of its body, just above the tail. Its belly is solid white.
Up to 10 years
Semi-dry to damp forests, particularly on palm or banana trees and more occasionally on bamboo. These geckos are most common at forest edges or in clearings.
Range: Northern Madagascar, the island of Nosy Bé, the Comoros, Réunion, Seychelles, and Hawaii (including O'ahu, the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai).
Conservation Status: Not evaluated
Even though these geckos are small, males are aggressive and readily fight other males that intrude on their range. In the wild, males and females coexist, but some males are too volatile to be confined with other lizards, male or female. In spite of that, these geckos sometimes willingly feed in groups, gathering around a piece of fruit to lick the juice or around flowers to drink nectar.
To mate, males approach females, shaking their heads from side to side. After mating, females lay eggs, normally in pairs, up to five per season. A gold dust day lizard may occasionally lay a single egg. Eggs hatch about 40–45 days later. Hatchlings emerge from their shells immediately independent and aggressive, and need a fair amount of space to disperse. They are mature at 10 to 12 months old.
Insects and other invertebrates. Also smaller lizards, overripe fruit, nectar, and pollen.
Breeding interval: Annual
Hatching period: July–August
Average nest size: 2 eggs
Size at birth: 1.6 in (4 cm)
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Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press