Before 2016, this elusive species was only known from the holotype and two museum specimens of unknown origin.
Several expeditions were attempted to rediscover Phelsuma masohoala without success until 2016 when two individuals were photographed but not captured.
This species lives within a narrow biogeographic zone in the north east of Madagascar with the transition from humid forest to dry forest likely serving as a barrier for its dispersal in northern Sava. Unlike other species of day geckos, this species is extremely difficult to detect throughout its range due to its cryptic nature and canopy-dwelling behaviour. It is distinguishable from all other Phelsuma by its grey, black and white colouration – all other Phelsuma are primarily green.
This species is part of the Gekkonidae family, which diverged from all other families in the Squamata order approximately 65 million years ago, around the time that humans and tarsiers shared a common ancestor.
Phelsuma masohoala inhabits littoral forest which is currently under threat in Madagascar from deforestation and so this species is potentially at high risk of population decline. There are currently no conservation actions in place which could benefit this elusive species and research is urgently needed to determine population size and range.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Gekkonidae
- Population: Unknown
- Trend: unknown
- Size: 12cm
This species is found on the Masoala peninsula and the Marojejy National Park in Madagascar
Habitat and Ecology
This day gecko lives in littoral humid forest