Mauritius Day Geckos


Photo: Pritesh Chouramun

Mauritius Day Geckos

Species type: Reptile
Species (Common name): Mauritian Day Geckos
Scientific name: Phelsuma
Endemism: Endemic to Mauritius
Conservation status: Not yet assessed

Description: Day Geckos as you would imagine from their name are mainly active during the day in contrast with most other species of Gecko. Most Day Geckos are brightly coloured with vivid greens, blues, reds and oranges. An exception to this in Mauritius is Gunther’s Gecko (Phelsuma guentheri), now restricted to Round Island, which is greyish or greyish-brown. Day Geckos have distinctive toe pads that allow them to walk on vertical or overhanging surfaces. Unsurprisingly Day Geckos spend a lot of time in trees. The remaining mainland species, all of which are much smaller than Gunther’s Gecko like to shelter in tree cavities and in tightly packed clusters of leaves of the type found in native Palm species and Screwpines (Vacoas species) and in the introduced Traveller’s palm (Ravenala madagascariensis). Day Geckos feed on insects and other invertebrates and also nectar, pollen and fruits. There are 70 known species and subspecies in the world, most of which are found in Madagascar and islands of the southwest Indian Ocean.

The following five Day Gecko species are endemic to Mauritius.

  • Mauritius Lowland Forest Day Gecko, Phelsuma guimbeaui guimbeaui
  • Mauritius Upland Forest Day Gecko, Phelsuma guimbeaui rosagularis
  • Blue-tailed Day Gecko, Phelsuma cepediana
  • Gunther’s Gecko or Round Island Day Gecko, Phelsuma Guentheri
  • Mauritius Ornate Day Gecko, Phelsuma Ornata

Fun facts:

  1. The extinct Rodrigues Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma gigas) was larger than any surviving Phelsuma species, reaching a length of 40 cm.