Fan-footed Rock Gecko
Scientific Name: Ptyodactylus hasselquisti / Common Names: Fan-footed Rock Gecko
The bizarre fan-shaped toepads and long, spindly, almost frog-like hind legs give this gecko a startling appearance, particularly when it appears unexpectedly in a flashlight beam. This is a medium-large gecko, 6 in. (15cm) TL. Its name derives from the distinctive split, fan-like shape of their toepads, which extend beyond the claws. They are golden brown, gray, tan or pinkish in color, fading to lighter almost white at night. There are distinct dark bands on the tail and irregular bands on the body. A nocturnal species, they have large eyes with vertical pupils covered by a fixed transparent spectacle.
Habitat and Range
This gecko was observed on a former pet dealer’s building in Gainesville, FL in 1995. It has not been found subsequently. Its native range includes Israel and Sinai south to Sudan, the Arabian Peninsula east to Iran. In the Middle East, it is found in arid habitats, both on walls and on vertical rock faces in canyons.
Virtually nothing is known of this lizards’ biology in the United States. These are very agile geckos, running up walls and rock faces at night, feeding on insects and small arthropods. During the day the vertical pupil is contracted to a thin slit with several round pinhole opening to let in a small amount of light. At night the pupil dilates until the entire eye is black, allowing the maximum amount of light to enter the eye. When disturbed, these geckos rise up on their long legs and arch their backs. Females lay pairs of hard shelled, adherent eggs in crevices and other protected areas.
This species’ distinctive fan-shaped split toepads cannot be mistaken for any other lizard in the United States.
Conservation & Other Threats
At present the species is confined to very localized urban colonies, and is unlikely to impact native populations.
This species profile relies heavily on: Leviton et al. 1992; Meshaka et al. 2004; Schleich et al 1996