Phelsuma pusilla Mertens, 1964
Phelsuma p. pusilla is widely distributed in eastern Madagascar. Phelsuma p. hallmanni is found only around Andasibe in eastern Madagascar.
Morphology & Colouration:
Phelsuma pusilla is a very small gecko species, reaching a maximum total length of 85-100 mm (100 mm in males of P. p. hallmanni). Like all Phelsuma species, these geckos have a strongly reduced first toe, round pupils, and lack claws. The tail is distinctly verticillated.
These geckos are dorsally green with red spots, although the spots are often lacking in females. There is an arrangement of these red spots on the snout similar to most species in the P. lineata clade. In P. p. hallmanni, one of these red spots forms a bar between and just anterior to the eyes, and the snout is often blue. These geckos possess a dark lateral stripe that is always noticeable. The tail can be teal or turquoise, and the ventral side is whitish.
These geckos are arboreal and diurnal. Phelsuma p. pusilla is frequently found on palms, banana plants, and in urban environments. It is less frequently encountered in rainforest. By contrast, P. p. hallmanni is found on trees at the edge of mid-altitude rainforest, and not on buildings, and is apparently rare.
The juveniles of P. p. hallmanni are grey with lots of tiny blue/white spots, whereas those of P. p. pusilla are greenish.
Phelsuma pusilla is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, due to its apparently wide distribution and commonness. Phelsuma p. hallmanni may be rarer and more threatened because it is not found outside forests.
Taxonomy and Systematics:
Phelsuma pusilla belongs to the P. lineata group (Rocha et al. 2010), and is closest related to P. lineata, P. kely, and P. comorensis. It possesses two subspecies, P. p. pusilla, and P. p. hallmanni, which have been described above.
Photo is a male P. p. hallmanni, photographed by Henry Cook.
Click here to see more TaxonFiles!
Glaw, F. and M. Vences. 2007. A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Köln, Germany
Rocha, S., H. Rösler, P.-S. Gehring, F. Glaw, D. Posada, D.J. Harris and M. Vences. 2010. Phylogenetic systematics of day geckos, genus Phelsuma, based on molecular and morphological data (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa 2429:1-28