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Rodrigues Day Gecko
Phelsuma edwardnewtoni
Museum specimen
Information
Range Rodrigues
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Family Gekkonidae
Genus Phelsuma
Species Phelsuma edwardnewtoni
Conservation Status
EXSpecies
Extinct

The Rodrigues day gecko (Phelsuma edwardnewtoni), is an extinct species of day gecko. It lived on the island of Rodrigues and typically inhabited forests and dwelt in trees. The Rodrigues day gecko fed on insects and nectar.

Etymology

The specific name, edwardnewtoni, is in honor of British colonial administrator and ornithologist Edward Newton.

Taxonomy

This day gecko is now extinct. It was originally described as Phelsuma newtoni by Boulenger in 1884, also spelt Phelsuma newtonii by Boulenger in 1885. However, because this scientific name was also used as a synonym for Phelsuma gigas, Vinson & Vinson changed the specific name to edwardnewtoni in 1969.

Description

Phelsuma edwardnewtoni belonged to the largest day geckos. It reached a total length (including tail) of about 23 cm (9.1 in). Earlier investigators describe the animal as being quite common. However, this species has not been sighted since 1917, in spite of thorough searches in the 1960s and 1970s on Rodrigues and all offshore islets. Today, only 5 preserved specimens remain, three of which are in the Natural History Museum in London, the two others being in the Human

Behavior and Ecology

This species inhabited Rodrigues Island and its surrounding islets. Phelsuma edwardnewtoni was observed on coconut trees and other palms. Their habitat has been largely destroyed by humans and introduced animals such as cats and rats, which may have been the main cause of their extinction.

These day geckos fed on various insects and other invertebrates. They also liked to lick soft, sweet fruit, pollen and nectar.

Phelsuma edwardnewtoni was documented as being unafraid of humans. It was quite tame and would even eat fruit from one's hand. Leguat described the behaviour as follows:

"The Palmtrees and Plantanes are always loaden with Lizards about a foot long, the Beauty of which is very Extraordinairy; some of them are blue, some black, some green, some red, some grey, and the colour of each the most lively and bright of any of its kind. Their common Food is the Fruit of the Palm-Trees. They are not mischievous, and so Tame, that they often come and eat the Melons on our Tables, and in our Presence, and even in our Hands; they serve for Prey to some Birds, specially the Bitterns. When we beat 'em down from the Trees with a Pole, these Birds wou'd come and devour them before us, tho' we did our utmost to hinder them; and when we offered to oppose them, they came on still after their Prey, and still followed us when we endeavoured to defend them".

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