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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Rodrigues day gecko

Rodrigues day gecko (Phelsuma edwardnewtoni) is a now extinct diurnal species of geckos. It lived on the island of Rodrigues and typically inhabited forests and dwelt in trees. The Rodrigues day gecko fed on insects and nectar.

Scientific synonyms

  • Phelsuma edwardnewtoni VINSON & VINSON 1969
  • Phelsuma newtoni BOULENGER 1884
  • Phelsuma edwardnewtoni – KLUGE 1993
  • Phelsuma edwardnewtoni – RÖSLER 2000: 101

Description

This day gecko is now extinct. It was described also as P. newtonii, yet this name was also used as a synonym for Phelsuma gigas. P. edwardnewtoni belonged to the largest day geckos. It reached a total length of about 23 cm. Earlier investigators describe the animal as being quite common. However, this species has not been sighted since 1917, in spite of thorough searches in the 1960s and 1970s on Rodrigues and all offshore islets. Today, only 5 preserved specimens remain, three of which are in The Natural History Museum in London, the two others being in the Paris Museum. These specimens have been preserved in alcohol and show a thick-bodied, robust Phelsuma. The body color has been described as bright green with bright blue spots on the back. The underside of the tail was whitish yellow. The chin had a deep yellow color.

Distribution

This species inhabited Rodrigues Island and its surrounding islets.

Habitat

P. edwardnewtoni has been observed on coconut trees and other palms. Their habitat has been largely destroyed by humans and introduced animals such as cats and rats, which may have been the main cause of their extinction.

Diet

These day geckos fed on various insects and other invertebrates. They also liked to lick soft, sweet fruit, pollen and nectar.

Behaviour

P. edwardnewtoni was documented as being unafraid of humans. It was quite tame and would even eat fruit from one’s hand.

Rodrigues day gecko