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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Kuhl's Gliding Gecko

Fig 1

Fig 2

Species : Gekko (Ptychozoon) kuhli
Size (snout to vent) : 11 cm
Size (total length) : ~ 22 cm

Kuhl's Gliding Gecko, or 'Kuhl's Parachute Gecko', is one of the most widespread and adaptable of gliding geckos, occurring in lowland primary and secondary forests up to 800 metres elevation. In Peninsular Malaysia it has also been found in a variety of coastal habitats on small islands (Grismer, 2011). The species can also be found on buildings adjacent to suitable habitat.

It is nocturnal in habits, but may sometimes be glimpsed by day clinging to tree trunks. It's colour and patterning can vary greatly depending upon the colour and texture of the substrate on which it lives : this serves as excellent camouflage making the species hard to locate unless it is being specifically searched for.

The examples shown here, from Sungai Sedim, Kedah, Peninsular Malaysia exhibits fairly typical patterning. This gecko is best distinguished in the field from other species of Ptychozoon by the presence of completely webbed feet, and a tail in which the terminal portion (in original tails) comprises a rounded, elongated flap which constitutes around 25% of the total tail length (the extreme tip of the tail is pale). In addition there is typically a broad, dark stripe behind the eye, and a marking on the top of the rostrum or snout which resembles a forward-pointing arrowhead (see Fig. 3).

The species makes use of communal nesting sites: its eggs are laid in pairs on the trunks of large trees in a similar manner to the Spotted House Gecko Gekko monarchus. For those individuals which inhabit manmade structures, it appears likely that eggs may also be laid in roof spaces or other such crevices.

Kuhl's Gliding Gecko occurs in India, southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore (Pulau Tekong), Sumatra, the Natuna Islands, Java and Borneo. In 2014 it was found on the island of Bintan, in the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia (Law & Law, 2016).

Fig 1 : Example from Sungai Sedim, Kedah, Peninsular Malaysia seen after dusk, high on the trunk of a partly dead tree. In this example the tail appears to be regrown.

Figs 2 and 3 : Another example from Sungai Sedim, Kedah, Peninsular Malaysia. By day it remained concealed in a crevice of a riverside building, but by night would emerge to feed on moths attracted from the nearby forest to the building's lights.

Fig 4 : Riverside forest at Sungai Sedim.

References : H11


Fig 3

Fig 4