Related topics: lizards

New leaf-tailed gecko from Madagascar is a master of disguise

Leaf-tailed geckos are masters of camouflage. Some species have skin flaps around the whole body and head, as well as flattened tails. During the day, they rest head-down on tree trunks with these skin flaps spread out, and ...

Geckos know their own odor

Geckos can use their tongue to differentiate their own odor from that of other members of their species, as researchers from the University of Bern have shown in a new experimental study. The findings show that geckos are ...

A long history of European geckos

Geckos lived in Europe as early as 47 million years ago, say paleontologists who have examined a nearly complete fossil gecko skull from central Germany. This previously unknown species was found in a former coalmining area—Geiseltal—and ...

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Aeluroscalabotinae Eublepharinae Gekkoninae Teratoscincinae Diplodactylinae

Geckos are small to average sized lizards belonging to the family Gekkonidae, found in warm climates throughout the world. Geckos are unique among lizards in their vocalizations, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos. An estimated 2,000 different species of geckos exist worldwide, with many likely yet to be discovered. The name stems from the Indonesian/Javanese word Tokek, inspired by the sound these animals make. The Malay word for gecko is cicak.

All geckos, excluding the Eublepharinae family, have no eyelids and instead have a transparent membrane which they lick to clean. Many species will, in defense, expel a foul-smelling material and feces onto their aggressors. There are also many species that will drop their tails in defense, a process called autotomy. Many species are well known for their specialized toe pads that enable them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces, and even cross indoor ceilings with ease (it is believed that the van der Waal's force may contribute to this capability). These antics are well-known to people who live in warm regions of the world, where several species of geckos make their home inside human habitations. These species (for example the House Gecko) become part of the indoor menagerie and are often welcome guests, as they feed on insects, including mosquitoes.

The largest species, Delcourt's gecko, is only known from a single, stuffed specimen found in the basement of a museum in Marseille, France. This gecko was 60 cm long and it was native to New Zealand. It was probably wiped out along with much of the native fauna of these islands at the end of the 19th century, when new predators were introduced there. The smallest gecko, the Jaragua Sphaero, is a mere 16 mm long and was discovered in 2001 on a small island off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

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