Leaf-tailed geckos of the genus Uroplatus have spectacular camouflage, remaining motionless on forest branches during the day before becoming active hunters after dark.
The genus Uroplatus diverged from all other living geckos more than 50 million years ago, long before our ancestors diverged from those of modern baboons, tamarins and capuchin monkeys!
U. malahelo is illegally collected for the international pet trade. This rare species is also threatened by loss of its forest habitat due to slash and burn agriculture and logging.
The species is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List due to its severely fragmented populations, ongoing habitat loss, and small population. It occurs in three protected areas across its range and is listed on CITES Appendix II. Control of the illegal collection for the pet trade may be required for this species.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Gekkonidae
- Population: Unknown
- Trend: decreasing
This species is endemic to southern Madagascar. It occurs in three protected areas but has a highly fragmented range.
Habitat and Ecology
This leaf-tailed gecko rests under tree bark during the day. It prefers intact humid or transitional forest and is extremely sensitive to habitat disturbance.