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



Pacific Dtella

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5


Species : Gehyra oceanica
Size (snout to vent) : up to 8.4 cm
Size (total length) : up to 17 cm

The Pacific Dtella is a widespread species of four-clawed gecko, which inhabits forest, forest-edge, gardens and human dwellings mainly on small islands. 

The name 'dtella' is pronounced 'della'; the word is believed to derive from an Australian aboriginal language (many other species of dtella occur in Australia).

Its body is broad and stout, and its head is large. Its eyes are large, with vertical pupils. The tail is very thick, segmented and tapers slowly to a blunt tip. Its limbs are thick and muscular, and its toes are broad and flattened, with sharp claws. As is typical of the genus Gehyra, the innermost toe lacks an obvious claw.

Its colour typically ranges from grey or greyish brown, to olive green, although other colour forms may occur. Included here is a yellow example from the Cook Islands. 

Typically there is a pale stripe extending from the snout, through the eye to the neck. Some specimens exhibit dark, zig-zag bars on the body and tail.

This large gecko feeds on insects and small vertebrates, including other geckos. Its eggs are typically laid in pairs, and generally in favoured, communal locations which may have more than a hundred eggs incubating at any one time (Zug, 2013).

Within Southeast Asia the species is recorded from the island of Halmahera in North Maluku Province, Indonesia. In the western and central  Pacific Ocean it occurs on many island groups in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, including New Guinea.

Figs 1 to 4 : Specimens from Rarotonga, Cook Islands, where a range of body colour and patterning are evident.

Fig 5 : Close-up of a hind foot, showing the absence of an obvious claw on the smallest and innermost digit.

References : H17