Endemic day geckos

The endemic day geckos are mostly diurnal, except for the Günther's day gecko, which is diurnal-nocturnal (active by day and night). The day geckos are all arboreal (live off the ground) and spend most of their time in palms and trees with cavities where they like to hide. The more common species can be found living on and in buildings, large boulders and coastal rocks. All of the day geckos lay two eggs at a time, have communal nest sites and are egg gluers, which means they stick their eggs to the substrate.

Blue tailed gecko Phelsuma cepediana

This gecko can be found in most areas of mainland Mauritius and on Ile aux Benitiers. They are the most common of the day geckos but actually consist of at least three species that look very similar. They can be distinguished from the other day geckos by a red spot on their head in front of and between the eyes and have a red line or row of red spots along each side of its body, although there is much variation in their pattern, particularly between males and females. They are quite shy and quick to run away if approached. 

Günther's day gecko Phelsuma guentheri

This day gecko became restricted to Round Island, but it once lived on mainland Mauritius and other offshore islands. It is the largest of the endemic day geckos in Mauritius and one of the largest living geckos on the planet. Its colour varies from pale grey to dark mottled brown. Most of the geckos have a stripe from the nose to the ear which runs through the eye. To enhance the survival of the species 50 geckos were moved to Ile aux Aigrettes in 2010, as part of the Mauritius Reptile Recovery Programme. You can visit Ile aux Aigrettes to see the geckos in the wild through the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

Lowland forest day gecko Phelsuma guimbeaui

This day gecko is found in the lowland forest of the Black River Gorges National Park and a few other locations on the west coast. It is the brightest green day gecko in Mauritius. The end of the tail is often light blue in colour. It is distinguishable by a red stripe that begins from the top of the head and often forms a loop over a light blue patch on the neck. These geckos are thought to be the most threatened reptile on mainland Mauritius.

Ornate day gecko Phelsuma ornata

This day gecko can be found in coastal and lowland areas of Mauritius, but are absent from the central south coast. They are also found on several offshore islands of Mauritius. It is easily identified from the other day geckos by dark brown/black stripes that border a white stripe, which begins behind the eye and along the neck. The other distinguishable marking is a red ‘T’ on the top of its head.

 

 Upland forest day gecko Phelsuma rosagularis

This illusive day gecko is an upland species restricted to small areas of native forest in the Black River Gorges National Park and the south east of Mauritius. Although similar to the lowland forest day gecko they are larger, darker in colour, with bright orange lips and a more complex pattern of red markings on the back. when it is cold they are usually very dark and almost black in colour.