Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, body coloration, E.K. Huxley, Food for Thought, Gecko, leaf tailed gecko, Madagascar, Mr. Beardlesworth, nocturnal creatures, postaday, This is life, tvaraj, Uroplatus phantasticus
Could you tell exactly what this really is?
To the less discerning eye, it would most likely be a leaf shriveling up on a tree.
This awesome form is actually a lizard that could camouflage itself to mimic a dead leaf. It is an exquisite camouflaged Satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus), found at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in Madagascar.
With its leaf-shaped tail, it can coil its whole body to resemble a curled up leaf. Perched on a branch, with its curvy body having a lighter shade of brown, this resourceful creature has integrated itself into its natural environment. They sleep flattened against branches of trees with their heads pointing downwards. They can adjust their body coloration to brown or grey and it can transform itself into amazing yellow, green, orange and pink hues to blend with their surroundings. When they are resting on a mossy or lichen covered branch, it is almost impossible to see them.
Satanic leaf geckos get their name because they look like they have ‘horns’ and some specimens have red eyes. When disturbed, larger members of the species let out a loud hiss. Locals are afraid of them and refer to them as the devil.
The leaf-tailed gecko family has nine members ranging in size from 8cm to 30cm. Larger members of the genus have beards and fringes around the body.
The geckos are nocturnal creatures. During the day they move only when disturbed. They respond to prodding with an impressive display of a brightly coloured gaping mouth and an erect tail. They hunt insects at night. They can overcome oversized prey with their large mouths.
Geckos are totally adapted to life in a primary rainforest and their disguises are so cryptic, that their species and sub-species are still being discovered even today.