The Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus sikorae) represents a remarkable species of lizard within the Gekkonidae family. It exhibits a highly localized distribution, being exclusively native to Madagascar. This gecko’s habitat encompasses the primary and secondary forests found in the Eastern and central tropical regions of Madagascar.
In terms of size, the Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko typically ranges from 15 to 20 centimeters (equivalent to 6 to 8 inches) when measured from its nose to the base of its tail. A distinctive feature of this gecko is its large, lidless eyes, which possess yellow sclera and elliptical pupils, perfectly adapted for its nocturnal lifestyle.
One of the striking characteristics shared by all Uroplatus geckos is their dorso-ventrally flattened tail. This particular adaptation contributes to their tree-dwelling way of life. The Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko exhibits a remarkable coloration strategy that serves as camouflage in its natural habitat. The majority of these geckos display hues ranging from grayish brown to black or greenish brown. Their markings are artfully designed to mimic the appearance of tree bark, including the lichens and moss commonly found on tree surfaces.
Furthermore, the Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko boasts unique flaps of skin, which extend along the length of its body, head, and limbs, known as dermal flaps. During the day, these flaps can be pressed against tree surfaces, creating intricate shadows that render the gecko nearly invisible and seamlessly integrated into its arboreal surroundings.
Text credit: Earth Unreal