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



Smooth-backed Gliding Gecko

Species : Gekko (Ptychozoon) cicakterbang
(formerly Ptychozoon lionotum)
Size (snout to vent) : 9 cm
Size (total length) : ~ 16 cm

The Smooth-backed Gliding Gecko appears to be a somewhat rare species, however it may be more common than records suggest because of its excellent camouflage (when resting on rough tree bark), and its predominantly nocturnal habits. It is more easily sighted when active on manmade structures at the forest edge.

Its natural habitat includes lowland primary forest, good secondary forest and coastal forest.

Its colouration comprises various shades of brown, yellow-brown or grey. There is usually a series of dark, narrow wavy lines across the dorsum.

The tail and tail flap generally lack any banding or other distinctive patterning, in contrast to Kuhl's Gliding Gecko Gekko (Ptychozoon) kuhli which exhibits strong banding. Faint banding may be visible on regenerated tails, however.

In Southeast Asia this species occurs in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Peninsular Malaysia (including the islands of Langkawi off the northwest coast, Tioman off the southeast coast and Redang off the northeast coast).

There is significant hidden diversity among Ptychozoon gliding geckos: populations lumped together as Gekko (Ptychozoon) cicakterbang may represent more than one species (Brown et al, 2012).

Fig 1 : Specimen seen on a hillside villa adjacent to secondary forest at Phuket, southern Thailand. Photo thanks to Gai Parkin.

Fig 2 : Example with regrown tail, seen on a riverside chalet adjacent to primary, lowland forest at Sungai Sedim, Kedah, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 3 : Specimen from primary, lowland forest at Khao Phra Taew Non-hunting Area, Phuket, Thailand.

Fig 4 : Close-up of the webbed hind feet, base of the tail, and part of the skin flaps along the side of the body.

References : H11

Brown, R. M., Siler, C. D., Grismer, L. L., Das, I. & McGuire, J. A. (2012). Phylogeny and cryptic diversification in Southeast Asian flying geckos. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 65(2): 351-361.

Fig 1
ゥ  Gai Parkin

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4