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







Titiwangsa Slender Gecko

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4




Species : Hemiphyllodactylus titiwangsaensis
Size (snout to vent) : 5.8 cm
Size (total length) : 10.4 cm

This species of gecko was first described in 2010 by George Zug. It inhabits hill and montane forests in the Titiwangsa Mountains (the 'main range') of Peninsular Malaysia, above 900 metres elevation.

It is nocturnal and sometimes difficult to locate, but in some areas it has adapted to manmade  structures such as roadside shelters, lampposts, building and walls. Grismer (2011) described finding this gecko on granite outcrops, and other authors have seen them clinging to saplings up to 3 metres above the ground within the forest proper.

Their colouration and patterning is quite variable, with a background colour of pale buff to dark brown, adorned with lighter or darker speckling. In the field, two key identifying features are the yellowish-orange colour beneath the tail, and a dark band behind the eye, above which there is a faint pale band.

Its body form is rather elongate and slender, the head is relatively large, and the tail is relatively short (less than the head-body length). The tail is rounded in cross-section, and the tiny scales on the tail are not organised into distinct segments, rather they are arranged in an overlapping manner, rather like fish scales.

The Titiwangsa Slender Gecko has so far only been found in the hill resorts of Cameron Highlands, Fraser's Hill and Genting Highlands in Peninsular Malaysia, where there is easy access to forested habitats.

Fig 1 : Specimen found clinging to a slender twig by night.

Fig 2 : Typical example found under the sloping roof of a roadside shelter. Note the yellowish-orange colour beneath the tail, and dark band behind the eye.

Fig 3 : Close-up of another specimen from the same area. The eyes are large with vertical pupils.

Fig 4 : Gravid female with pale eggs visible through the skin of the abdomen, and with calcium sacs visible either side of the nape. Calcium sacs have evolved to allow storage of additional calcium to be used in egg formation.

All photos from Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia.

References : H11