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Palmated Gecko

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5


Species : Gekko palmatus
Size (snout to vent) : 8.2 cm
Size (total length) : > 16 cm

The Palmated Gecko, or Palm Gecko, is a member of a group of 19 closely-related species of the genus Gekko, which inhabit mainly China and Japan but also extend into Vietnam. This is known as the Gekko japonicus group (Rsler et al, 2011).

It occurs mainly in northern Vietnam (including the provinces of Lang Son and Vinh Phuc), but its range also extends southwards to parts of central Vietnam. It is a species of both lowland and mountain areas.

As is typical of the genus Gekko, the length of the tail is about the same as the head-body length. The head is distinct from the neck, and is rather flattened. The eyes are of moderate size, with vertical pupils.

The hind limbs are much larger and stronger than the forelimbs. The fingers and toes, which are partly webbed, bear strong claws for gripping rock surfaces. The name 'palmated' means 'having a shape similar to that of a hand with the fingers extended' - presumably this is a reference to the shape of the front feet.

The base colour of this species is medium brown. The back is patterned with a series of pale blotches along the dorsal line, and the tail bears 10 or more equally spaced pale bands. The flanks are mottled.

In similar manner to other Gekko species, such as the Spotted House Gecko (Gekko monarchus) the Palmated Gecko adheres its eggs in pairs in favoured locations such as rock fissures.

The examples shown here are from the island of Cat Ba, northern Vietnam.

Figs 1 and 2 : Specimens from Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong, northern Vietnam. They were active at night, amongst fissured boulders and small caves behind a beach.

Fig 3 : Coastal habitat at Cat Ba Island - deeply fissured limestone cliffs.

Fig 4 : Microhabitat of the specimens in figures 1 and 2.

Fig 5 : Specimen from underground bunker on Cat Ba Island.

References :

Rsler, H., Bauer, A. M., Heinicke, M. P., Greenbaum, E., Jackman, T., Nguyen, T. Q., & Ziegler, T. (2011). Phylogeny, taxonomy, and zoogeography of the genus Gekko Laurenti, 1768 with the revalidation of G. reevesii Gray, 1831 (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa, 2989, 1-50.

Nguyen, T. Q., Stenke, R., Nguyen, H. X., & Ziegler, T. (2011). The terrestrial reptile fauna of the biosphere reserve Cat Ba Archipelago, Hai Phong, Vietnam. Tropical Vertebrates in a Changing World.