Madagascar Spiny-tailed Gecko
Paroedura bastardi (Mocquard, 1900)

Family: Gekkonidae - Geckos

Order: Squamata - Lizards and Snakes

Class: Reptilia

Phylum: Chordata - Vertebrates

Kingdom: Animalia

Red List status: Not listed

Snout-vent length:80 mm.

Total length: 146 mm

Madagascar spiny-tailed gecko. Tulear Region, Madagascar.

RANGE
 

Endemic to Madagascar, where it is widespread in the arid and dry forest habitats of the island's south and west in the west it can be found almost as far north as Mahajunga.

            Range            Description            Habitat            Behaviour            Biology            References

DESCRIPTION

A relatively large member of its genus, as an adult variable shades of grey or brown dorsally and often exhibiting mottled pink colouration. Two wide, light bands bordered in black are present on the neck and at midbody in some individuals and in juveniles, becoming less distinct with age. A third band may sometimes occur in the pelvic region The head is large and the prominent eyes have vertical pupils with coppery irises. The tips of the toes are noticeably expanded. There are numerous prominent dorsal tubercles, which are arranged into longitudinal rows down the length of the back and flanks, giving the animal a rough-skinned texture and appearance, and making the tail appear spiny.

 

Juveniles are more brightly-coloured than adults, with white black-edged bands contrasting with a rich brown    

                            to blackish ground colour. The tail is more slender than in adults, and is typically yellowish in colour. A pale arc-shaped

                            marking at the base of the head connecting the eyes is more prominent than in adults, in which it may have been lost completely.

Juvenile

Dark form of P. bastardi.

Similar species: Paroedura geckos have expanded toe tips, large heads, eyes with vertical pupils and lamellae that form two rows towards the tip of the toes, a combination that makes confusion with other Malagasy geckos unlikely. The similar P. ibityensis has a broader tail as both adult and juvenile and less stronly contrasting juvenile colouration. This species is known only from montane areas of the central plateau, where P. bastardi does not occur. Most sympatric Paroedura species differ in patterning and confusion is only likely with the larger P. tanjaka, which can be distinguished by its smooth skin, without longitudinal rows of enlarged tubercles. An undescribed species known from deciduous forest near Tsingy de Bemaraha can be distinguished by the position of the nostril, which contacts the rostral scale (the scale at the tip of the snout); in P. bastardi the nostril is not in contact with the rostral scale.

 

HABITAT

Primarily terrestrial in varied dry habitats throughout its range, often being common in villages. Animals may shelter beneath the bark of trees and logs in forested areas.

Altitude: From near sea level to at least 240 m.

 

BEHAVIOUR

This is a nocturnal species, which can be found foraging both on the ground and on the trunks of trees to a height of 1-2 m.

 

Defensive behaviour: When disturbed, animals may put on a threat display with mouth open, accompanied by distress calls.

 

 

TAXONOMY

 

Paroedura bastardi occurs more widely than other members of the genus and exhibits differences in colouration, size and other aspects of morphology throughout its range. It has been suggested that this species therefore likely represents a complex of two or more biological species.

 

REFERENCES

 

D'Cruze, N., Olsonn, A., Henson, D., Kumar, S. and Emmett, D. (2009) The amphibians and reptiles of the lower Onilahy river valley, a temporary protected area in southwest Madagascar. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 4: 62-79

Glaw, F. and Vences, M. (2007) A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Third Edition. Cologne, Vences & Glaw Verlag: 496pp

Paroedura bastardi. Tulear Region, Madagascar