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!
Uroplatus pietschmanni is a particularly impressive leaf-tailed gecko and this, combined with its rarity, make it highly prized by collectors. The species was historically exported from Madagascar for the international pet trade at an unsustainble rate, though export of the species is now prohibited.
This astonishing species is also under threat from habitat loss due to logging, clearance for mining operations and slash and burn agriculture.
The output of private captive breeding programmes is too low to be sustainable. This species occurs in a single protected area. Though the species is listed on CITES Appendix II, the ban on export must be enforced to effectively conserve this magnificent gecko.
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Gekkonidae
- Population: Rare
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 13.4cm
This species is found in Fierenana, Ambatovy and Analamay, Madagascar, at 900-1,200 metres above sea level.
Habitat and Ecology
This species lives in the forest canopy at low population densities. They are exclusively nocturnal and spend most daylight hours lying on tree trunks.