Eyelash leaf-tailed gecko, Phantastic leaf-tailed gecko, Uroplatus phantasticus, Satanic leaf-tailed gecko, Eyelash leaf-tailed gecko, Phantastic leaf-tailed gecko
Uroplatus phantasticus, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko, eyelash leaf-tailed gecko or the phantastic leaf-tailed gecko, is a species of gecko indigenous to the island of Madagascar. First described in 1888 by George Albert Boulenger, U. phantasticus is the smallest in body of the Uroplatus geckos, though there is an ongoing debate as to whether one of its cousins, U. ebenaui, is smaller because of its shorter tail.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
An insectivore is a carnivorous plant or animal that eats insects. An alternative term is entomophage, which also refers to the human practice of e...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Satanic leaf-tailed gecko is a small species of gecko that can be found only on the island of Madagascar. The gecko occurs in a variety of colors, including hues of purple, orange, tan and yellow, but is often mottled brown, with small black dots on the underside that help to distinguish it from similar species. It has long spines on the head, body, and trunk. The tail is flattened and has a leaf-like appearance. Some geckos even have notches in their tails to further mimic a decaying leaf and this trait seems more common in the males of the species. In addition, the Satanic leaf-tailed gecko has an eyelash-like projection above each eye. During daylight hours, these adaptations help the gecko blend into its surroundings. At night it helps the gecko hunt for prey by providing camouflage.
Satanic leaf-tailed geckos are native to Madagascar and lives in the northern and central tropical forests of the island.
Satanic leaf-tailed geckos are solitary arboreal creatures. They rely on their natural camouflage which helps them to stay unnoticed both when they rest during the day and when they move about their rainforest habitat at night feeding on insects. The adhesive scales under their fingers and toes and their strong curved claws enable them to move adeptly through the trees. Leaf-tailed geckos are experts at avoiding predators, not only through their incredible mimicry but through a number of behaviors. They can flatten their body against the substrate to reduce the body's shadow, open their jaws wide to show a frightening, bright red mouth, and voluntarily shed their tail in order to trick a predator.
Satanic leaf-tailed geckos are carnivores (insectivores) feeding on a wide range of insects and occasionally small rodents and reptiles.
Like many reptiles, Stanic leaf-tailed geckos are oviparous, or egg-laying. They start to breed at the beginning of the rainy season and females lay clutches of 2 spherical eggs onto the ground under leaf litter or in the dead leaves of plants. The incubation period usually lasts 60 to 70 days. The young hatch fully developed (precocial) and are independent at birth.
The main threats to Satanic leaf-tailed geckos include habitat destruction, deforestation, and collection for the pet trade. Studies suggest that leaf-tailed geckos can only inhabit a very specific environment and are not tolerant of any degradation of their natural habitat. This makes them vulnerable to the impacts of habitat degradation and harvesting, a common problem due to it being popular pets. At present, Satanic leaf-tailed geckos are known to occur in at least three protected areas: Tsaratanana Strict Nature Reserve, Marojejy National Park, and Anjanaharibe Special Reserve. However, illegal harvesting is known to occur even within protected areas.
According to IUCN, the Satanic leaf-tailed gecko is locally common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.