Uroplatus (Leaf-tailed Gecko)

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    Perinet Reserve, Madagascar.

    From Wikipedia -
    Uroplatus is a genus of geckos commonly referred to as Flat or Leaf-tailed Geckos. All of the species of this genus are found in primary and secondary forests on the island of Madagascar, and some on islands off Madagascar, such as Nosy Be. They are endemic to Madagascar, and found nowhere else on earth.

    Etymology
    The generic name, Uroplatus, is a Latinization of two Greek words: "ourá" (οὐρά) meaning "tail" and "platys" (πλατύς) meaning "flat".

    Description
    The Uroplatus are nocturnal and arboreal. They range in size from about 12 inches (U. giganteus) to 4 inches (U. ebenaui). The larger leaf-tailed geckos spend most of the daylight hours hanging vertically on tree trunks, head down, resting,while the smaller leaf tailed geckos (U. phantasticus and U. ebenaui) spend more time in Ficus bushes imitating twigs and leaves. During the night, they will venture from their daylight resting spots, and go off in search of prey. They are all insectivores.

    Larger species of Uroplatus are distinguished among geckos in having the largest number of marginal teeth and the highest among all living amniotes. Other rare apomorphic character states include multiple inscriptional ribs, restriction of autotomy planes, and finger-like diverticula of the lungs.

    They all have coloration developed as camouflage, most being grayish brown to black or greenish brown with various markings meant to resemble tree bark. There are two variations of this camouflage: leaf form, and bark form. The leaf form is present on only two species, U. phantasticus and U. ebenaui, which are also the two smallest species. All other forms blend in well with tree bark upon which they rest during the day. Some of these treebark forms have developed a flap of skin, running the length of their bodies, known as a dermal flap, which they lay against the tree during the day, scattering shadows, and making their outline practically invisible.

    Captivity
    Uroplatus are found in the herpetology and pet trade, but rarely. Most are threatened due to deforestation and habitat loss, therefore more are taken out of the wild in areas that are being preped for being cut down. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) lists all the Uroplatus species on their "Top ten most wanted species" list of animals threatened by illegal wildlife trade, because of it "being captured and sold at alarming rates for the international pet trade". Uroplatus spp. are on Appendix II of the CITES list.

    During their breeding season, female Uroplatus lay from 2-4 eggs depending on species and conditions.

    Threats
    Habitat destruction and deforestation in Madagascar is the primary threat to the future of Uroplatus geckos as well as collection for the pet trade. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) lists all of the Uroplatus species on their "Top ten most wanted species list" of animals threatened by illegal wildlife trade, because of it "being captured and sold at alarming rates for the international pet trade". It is a CITES Appendix 2 protected animal.

    Classification of genus Uroplatus

    Uroplatus fimbriatus
    Northern Flat-tail Gecko - Uroplatus alluaudi
    Spearpoint Leaf-tail Gecko - Uroplatus ebenaui
    Giant Leaf-tail Gecko - Uroplatus fimbriatus
    Uroplatus giganteus
    Gunther's Leaf-tail Gecko - Uroplatus guentheri
    Frilled Leaf-tail Gecko - Uroplatus henkeli
    Lined Leaf-Tail Gecko - Uroplatus lineatus
    Uroplatus malahelo
    Uroplatus malama
    Satanic Leaf-tail Gecko - Uroplatus phantasticus
    Cork-bark Gecko - Uroplatus pietschmanni
    Southern Leaf-tail Gecko - Uroplatus sikorae
    Mossy Leaf-tail Gecko - Uroplatus sikorae sameiti
    Uroplatus sikorae sikorae

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