Lined Day Gecko

COMMON NAME

SCIENTIFIC NAME

IUCN STATUS

CITES

EU ANNEX

Lined Day Gecko Phelsuma lineata (Gray, 1842) Least concern (LC) Appendix II -

 

INTRODUCTION

Phelsuma lineata is a day gecko species native to Madagascar and Reunion island (introduced). Four subspecies are currently recognised: Phelsuma lineata lineata (GRAY 1842), Phelsuma lineata bombetokensis (MERTENS 1964), Phelsuma lineata elanthana (KRÜGER 1996), Phelsuma lineata punctulata (MERTENS 1970) (Reptile database).

This species is considered terrestrial and primarily inhabits bushes, banana palms, trees, buildings. The nominate subspecies ocurrs in the humid forests avoiding the the interior of littoral forest fragments.

They are small geckos measuring 100-145mm. P. l. lineata has small red spots on its back, P. l. bombetokensis has differnt sized spots on its head and back with black spots where the limbs meet the body, P. l. punctulata lacks red markings and has black spots on its back. They lack eyelids and have a very long tongue which enables them to clean the spectacles covering the eyes. They have specialised footpads (setae) that enable them to climb smooth surfaces. Activity time is generally during the day although they may be seen in their natural habitat around house lights that attract insects at night.

CAPTIVE HUSBANDRY

VIVARIUM

These are very active little geckos and for this reason a good sized planted vivarium is recommended. Glass terrariums with mesh tops seem to work well as they allow good aireation. Based on the larger an enclosure the better a reptile fares, a recommended vivarium size for an adult pair may be 60x45x60cm. Multiple females may also be housed together with a single male as long as they have their own space. 

A planted vivarium is highly recommended with plants such as Devils Ivy, Pothos, Bromeliads. Bamboo hollows are ideal for hiding and for egg-laying, and tropical vines are also a good solution for climbing.

A drainage substrate should be used to prevent swamping which may include a 1-2" layer of clay balls for aeration, a layer of mesh, and a growing substrate, planting soil or jungle earth-bark combination on top.

LIGHTING

Full spectrum (including the UVB range) is a necessity with a photo period of approximately 12h - In Antananarivo (Madagascar) hours of light vary between 11.5-12.5hours. Many breeders do tend to keep these geckos with a 12-14h photo period during breeding season and reduce to 8-10 hours during the winter months, coupled with a temperature change. These lizards tend to stay at the higher levels so care should be taken on selecting the UV source. A good combination could be a T5 or T8 UV fluorescent tube with an incandescent bulb or halogen as a basking spot and visible spectrum. See more in our lighting article.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

The thermal gradient should be between 25-30°C during the day and drop to 20-25°C at night - during the winter months this may drop with night temperatures around 18°C. A basking spot , which may be above branches, should be provided with highs around 29.5-32.5°C. Before the breeding season (spring-summer) they typically experience a few weeks of cooler temperatures where these are reduced to 19-21ºC during the day and 15.5°C at night.

Relative humidity (RH) should be kept high, damp but not wet rainforest conditions. Spraying or misting is advised a few times daily during the warmer months and reduced to a few times a week during the winter.

In the wild these animals drink droplets from leaves and a clean water bowl should be available. Ideally a drip/misting system may be connected which may be an automated rain system.

FOOD SUPPLEMENTS AND WATER

Diet in captivity usually is based on crickets, meal worms, wax worms, small cockroaches, silkworms but other insects may be offered on a daily basis. Frequency of feeding should be daily and leaving ad-libitum due to their high metabolism. Care should be taken by leaving larger live prey in the vivarium as some insects may inflict wounds to these lizards (personally I try to avoid black crickets).

Papaya and mango may be offered and commercially available day gecko diets are also readily available. Baby food may contain higher levels of sugars and so therefore should not be overused.

It is our duty to "gut- load" insects before offering them as this will increase nutritional value. This may take place 24-48h prior to offering the prey items and these may be fed tropical fish flakes, vegetables, fruit, calcium and vitamins. Dehydration is the leading cause of cannibalism among insects.

Calcium supplementation is important, especially for egg-laying females, and should be offered on insects or fruit slurries ie commercial gecko diets on a daily basis. A multivitamin supplement should also be offered at least once a week.

REPRODUCTION

Breeding is determined primarily by temperature, humidity and photo period along with an adequate diet. A gradual photo period increase from 8-10 hours to 12-14 hours is recommended by many breeders, coupled with a temperature increase up to the 25-30°C day-time gradient. Regular daily spraying is advised to initiate breeding behaviour. Food should be readily available and calcium supplementation is a must.

They seem to prefer laying eggs in small crevices, generally paired, and will normally hatch 2 months later if they are kept in the vivarium at the recommended temperatures.

Neonates should be transferred to a smaller enclosure and offered pinhead crickets, drosophila and other smaller insects. A commercial gecko diet is also recommended and calcium supplementation is essential. Husbandry conditions are similar to adult conditions during the warmer months. care should be taken to monitor for interspecific aggression.