Saturday, January 19, 2008

Geek-o Love

On the palm tree outside of my "office" this morning was a nearly perfect specimen of Phelsuma laticauda laticauda - or more commonly called the gold-dust day gecko. I like to call them the "here's what happens when a lizard gets too close to a nuclear reactor" gecko -- but fortunately that's not really the case.

I am in love with these florescent reptiles. They remind me of something a kid with a wild imagination would create with a box of crayons! I would love to know what forces of evolution fine-tuned these creatures to their pres
ent neon green, orange and blue colors - seemingly sprinkled with gold fairy dust. You just gotta love Nature - both resplendent and radioactive!

Once upon a time, travel to a remote part of Madagascar, an island nation off the east coast of Africa, would have been required to see these neon-lit diurnal lizards that primarily consume insects and nectar. Or so the books say, anyway. But books are not always right; and the gold-dust day gecko here on the Hawaiian Islands is another much-too-common example of what happens when pets go wild.

Once upon a time, too, the setting suns in these lands would bring out the familiar twilight barking of the Pacific house gecko. Long considered good luck to have one in your house, the Pacific house gecko, being nocturnal, ate an enormous amount of mosquitoes and barked its happy little transparent self all night long. Oh how I loved to fall asleep to the sound of barking, see-through, mosquito-chomping geckos.

Sadly, that once familiar bark is now a rare sound to hear around these parts. These iridescent Malagasian immigrants satiate their ravenous appetite with a little house gecko for lunch. One invasive species eating another in a case of Natural Selection run amok. And I hear the sales of mosquito repellent and itch cream have tripled on this side of the island.

Let these little resplendent reptiles serve as an ever-important if not colorful reminder of the responsibility we have to limit contact between our pets and the diminishing natural world - never the 'tween should meet!

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