Turquoise Dwarf Gecko

COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME IUCN STATUS CITES EU ANNEX
Turquoise Dwarf Gecko Lygodactylus williamsi (Loveridge, 1952) Critically endangered (CR) - -

 

CITES UPDATE

INTRODUCTION

Lygodactylus williamsi is a day gecko species native to Tanzania and is found within the Forest Reserves of Kimboza and Ruvu. This species is a critically endangered species in the wild (IUCN Red List) and the IUCN Red List strongly recommends that this is included in CITES I or II also. The area of occupancy is believed to be less than 8km2. They exclusively dwell on screw pine (Pandanus rabaiensis) found in swampy areas. One male, one or more females and juveniles typically inhabit one single plant.

Deforestation is the main concern regarding population decline, as is collection for the pet trade (Flecks et al. 2012).

Males are bright blue with dark throat stripes, visible preanal pores and hemipenal bulges. Females range from green to brown and may be confused with juveniles or even suppressed males. Both have a orange underside and colours will vary with mood and temperature. Adult snout to vent length (SVL) is 5-8cm.

These are very active geckos and males are territorial. Unlike other species of Day geckos, in captivity they are inquisitive and active, and will often take insects from the keepers hands.

CAPTIVE HUSBANDRY

VIVARIUM

These are very active little geckos and for this reason a good sized planted vivarium is recommended in which they thrive. Glass terrariums with mesh tops seem to work well as they allow good aeration. Based on the larger an enclosure the better a reptile fares, a recommended vivarium size for an adult pair may be 45x45x60cm. 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. Medium levels of UVB are recommended and also UVA spectrum is important for intraspecific and food recognition, and colour visibility. Visible light from a basking bulb may be used in addition to a UV source.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

The thermal gradient should be between 24-30°C during the day and drop to 18-22°C at night (Encyclopedia of Life).

Relative humidity (RH) should be kept quite high, damp but not wet rainforest conditions, ranging from 50-85%. Spraying or misting is advised a few times daily. They are frequently seen drinking at bromeliad bases. 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 a meal replacement powder (MRP) for day geckos, fruits and fruit flies, mini mealworms, phoenix worms, wax worms, small cockroach nymphs, and small crickets. A feeding regime suggested is meal replacement powder daily available and insects a couple of times weekly. 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).

Fruits such as bananas may be added to the MRP. 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.

REPRODUCTIONMales will court females by head bobbing and puffing out their throats. 1-2 pea sized eggs are laid and glued in a secure location 2-3 weeks after copulation and hatch between 60-90 days. If left in the enclosure with nocturnal temperature fluctuations they should hatch at around 100 days. Hatchlings are very small and should be transferred as soon as possible to a small enclosure.

Hatchling rearing may prove challenging with failing to thrive a frequent report. Special attention should be made to the following: ultraviolet lighting, heating, humidity and feeding. The key to succesfully rearing hatchlings in our experience is very good aireation, a basking area in the canopy  ie with a t5 UV tube and frequent misting. Fruitflies and pinhead crickets are the food of choice, along with supplemented feeding powders for day geckos. Mushed banana may also prove beneficial during the first week. Calcium supplementation is a must.


REFERENCES

Flecks, M., Weinsheimer, F., Böhme, W., Chenga, J., Lötters, S., Rödder, D., Schepp, U. & Schneider, H. 2012. Lygodactylus williamsi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 April 2014.