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!


Mary said...

I fell in love with a gecko I babysat but he was not nearly as brilliant as yours :o)

Fantastic photos, TR! I learned a lot here. They bark?

TR Ryan said...

These neon guys don't bark -- but the little house geckos they displaced (by eating them) did bark from dusk 'til dawn and were always a sonorous reminder of being back in Hawaii.

Lana Gramlich said...

Very true on the responsibility, but not just for pets--plants need to be monitored, as well. Right now The Nature Conservancy is working to restore the dwindling pine savannas where I live. Not only were they largely deforested, but imported privet hedges & other plants from nearby neighborhoods also got a foothold & started taking over. <:(

Crayons said...

Wow, start with a brilliant photo of a gecko, then add water, and voila! A useful lesson in preservation. If I lived in Hawaii I would keep a few in my house. Thanks for sharing these beautiful details.

PS: For the sake of comparison, it is -4 in Madison tonight, with a wind chill of -30.

Anonymous said...

I am also intrigued as to how that little gecko came to be coloured so brilliantly. He is soooo cute. A very interesting post.

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

I love the colors of this gecko too. I could see them in their African home.Hope you have a lovely day..
xoxo Nita

Shades said...

can geckos be so colorful??? never thought...! thanks for coming my way, t.r...! and hope to see u again..!!!

Anna said...

Great image! Thanks for visiting my blog. I noticed the whole dizzying effect as well when you scroll up and down on the building. Very cool.

I'll be back to check out what you are seeing through your lens!

Anna said...

BTW, I have family in Lawton, OK...I love Oklahoma too!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

My daughter is doing her PhD on invasive geckos--not what most consider a big problem, but one never knows what would have been, if invasives weren't introduced.


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