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Gecko

Gold dust day Gecko

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Gold dust day gecko

Geckos are small to average sized lizards belonging to the family Gekkonidae which are found in warm climates throughout the world. Geckos are unique among lizards in their vocalizations, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos. There are 1,196 different species of geckos.[1] The name stems from the Malay word gekok, imitative of its cry. Geckos are unusual in other respects as well.
 

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Most geckos have no eyelids and instead have a transparent membrane which they lick to clean. Many species will, in defence, expel a foul-smelling material and faeces onto their aggressors. Many species have specialized toe pads that enable them to climb smooth vertical surfaces and even cross indoor ceilings with ease. These antics are well-known to people who live in warm regions of the world where several species of geckos make their home inside human habitations. These species (for example the house gecko) become part of the indoor menagerie and are seldom really discouraged because they feed on insect pests.

Common traits

Geckos come in various colors and patterns. Some are subtly patterned, and somewhat rubbery looking, while others can be brightly colored . Some species can change colour to blend in with their surroundings or with temperature differences. Some species are parthenogenic, the females capable of reproducing without copulating with a male. This improves the gecko's ability to spread to new islands.

The toes of the gecko have attracted a lot of attention, as they adhere to a wide variety of surfaces, without the use of liquids or surface tension. Recent studies of the spatula tipped setae on gecko footpads demonstrate that the attractive forces that hold geckos to surfaces are van der Waals interactions between the finely divided setae (almost 500,000 setae on each foot, and each of these tipped with between 100 and 1,000 spatulae) and the surfaces themselves. The length of each seta is twice the diameter of a human hair, i.e 100 millionth of meter and each spatulae is 200 billionth of meter long just below wavelength of visible light.[2] These kinds of interactions involve no fluids; in theory, a boot made of synthetic setae would adhere as easily to the surface of the International Space Station as it would to a living room wall, although adhesion varies with humidity and is dramatically reduced under water, suggesting a contribution from capillarity.[3] The setae on the feet of geckos are also self cleaning and will usually remove any clogging dirt within a few steps.[4][5]

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Geckos' toes seem to be "double jointed", but this is a misnomer. Their toes actually bend in the opposite direction from our fingers and toes. This allows them to overcome the van der Waals force by peeling their toes off surfaces from the tips inward. In essence, this peeling action alters the angle of incidence between millions of individual setae and the surface, reducing the van der Waals force. Geckos' toes operate well below their full attractive capabilities for most of the time. This is because there is a great margin for error depending upon the roughness of the surface, and therefore the number of setae in contact with that surface. If a typical mature 70g gecko had every one of its setae in contact with a surface, it would be capable of holding aloft a weight of 133 kg:[6] each spatula can exert an adhesive force of 10 nN.[3].

The family Gekkonidae is divided into five subfamilies, containing numerous genera of gecko species. Many geckos are kept as pets and will eat various kinds of insects and sometimes fruit.

Common species of gecko

  • Bibron's gecko, Pachydactylus bibroni — Native to Southern Africa, this hardy arboreal gecko is relatively common as a pet.
  • Crested gecko, Rhacodactylus ciliatus — Believed extinct until re-discovered in 1994. Gaining in popularity as a pet. Unlike most other geckos, it prefers room temperature and is omnivorous.
  • Crocodile gecko or Moorish gecko (due to their crocodile like looks.), Tarentola mauritanica — Crocodile geckos are very strong and heavily built for their size usually growing up to 15.24 cm (6 in). They are commonly found in the Mediterranean region from the Iberian Peninsula and southern France to Greece and northern Africa. Their most distinguishing characteristic is their pointed head and spiked skin with their tail resembling that of a crocodile's.
  • Cyrtopodion brachykolon; commonly known as "bent-toed gecko", found in north-western Pakistan.
  • Gargoyle gecko, Rhacodactylus auriculatus — commonly known as the New Caledonian bumpy gecko or gargoyle gecko.
  • Gold dust day gecko (Phelsuma laticauda laticauda (Boettger, 1880) (syn. Pachydactylus laticauda Boettger, 1880)) is a diurnal subspecies of geckos. It lives in northern Madagascar and on the Comoros.
  • Golden gecko, Gekko ulikovskii — native to the warm rainforests of Vietnam.
  • House gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus — A species that thrives around man and human habitation structures in the tropics and subtropics world wide.
  • Indo-Pacific gecko, Hemidactylus garnotii — Also known as a fox gecko because of its long, narrow snout. This species is found in houses throughout the tropics. This gecko may eat leafcutter ants.
  • New Caledonian giant gecko, Rhacodactylus leachianus — first described by Cuvier in 1829, is the largest of the Rhacodactylus geckos.
  • Leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius — The most common gecko kept as a pet is the leopard gecko, which does not have toe pads with setae, but rather claws. These enable it to more easily climb on rough surfaces like tree bark. This gecko cannot climb the glass of a terrarium. The leopard gecko tends to be docile and calm. This gecko can eat butterworms, cockroaches, crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and superworms.
  • Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus — residential and wild, introduced species (USA).
  • Mourning gecko, originally and East Asian and Pacific species, Lepidodactylus lugubris is equally at home in the wild as in residential neighborhoods. Found in Hawaii, it may have been an early Polynesian introduction. A parthenogenic species. There is a report from Hawaii of someone having seen a larger gecko of this type eating a smaller one (or rather, running away from view with a smaller gecko halfway out of its mouth) on two occasions.
  • Ptychozoon, — a genus of arboreal gecko from Southeast Asia, known as Flying Geckos or Parachute Geckos, has wing-like flaps from the neck to the upper leg, to help it conceal itself on trees and provide lift while jumping.
  • Stump-toed gecko, Gehyra mutilata (Peropus mutilatus) — This gecko, commonly referred to as a Gheckl, can vary its color from very light to very dark to blend into a background. At home in the wild as well as in residential neighborhoods.
  • Tree gecko, Hemiphyllodactylus typus — Tree geckos are forest dwellers.
  • Tokay gecko, Gekko Gecko — a large, common, Southeast Asian gecko known for its aggressive temperament, loud mating calls, and bright markings.
  • Western banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus — Native to southwestern United States and northwest Mexico.

In culture

  • In the past few years, geckos have entered into the consciousness of the USA as the advertising icon for the insurance company GEICO, whose advertisements feature an animated anthropomorphic gecko (of the Phelsuma genus) that speaks English with an East London accent.
  • Gex is an anthropomorphic, wise-cracking gecko and the protagonist of the GEX video game series.
  • The Pokιmon Treecko, and its evolved forms Grovyle and Sceptile are based on the gecko, and so is the Neopet Techo.
  • The Gold dust day gecko is the un-official Hawaiian state reptile.
  • A gecko called Geronimo features in the book My Family and Other Animals by the celebrated naturalist Gerald Durrell.
  • Edgar, a character from the webcomic Pandect is an Ace of Blue and White geckos. He is possibly a piebald blue gecko.
  • The current mascot of SUSE Linux distribution is a gecko called Geeko, also known as the "SUSE Lizard", but is a Chameleon for the shape.
  • It is reported that Muhammad, the prophet of Islam commanded geckos to be killed and called them "noxious (i.e. harmful) creatures".[7]
  • In the book Spud, the narrator's friend (who dies of malaria) is named Gecko (due to the fact that he's always sick).
  • In the anime and manga One piece, one of the character is named Gecko Moria, and has a Gecko theme.
  • In the horror film Aberration there were mutated geckos.
  • In the film animation of 'Madagascar' there is a dancing Gecko used as the King Lemur's new crown

References and Notes

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