New record of Phelsuma madagascariensis in Hawaii.
By Allen Allison
Phelsuma madagascariensis is now established in a small area of Mänoa Valley, O‘ahu. The first specimen was collected in December 1996 and another was taken in January 2001 only two blocks away from the first, suggesting the persistence and expansion of a reproducing population in the area. A third specimen, taken in February 2001 from the Pearl Harbor area, may represent a second population, but that is uncertain at this time. As the name implies, this species is native to Madagascar.
This is the third species of Phelsuma smuggled into and intentionally established in the state, and additional species not currently reported from the wild have been confiscated from smugglers. The exact localities of the specimens reported above are not provided in order to hinder their intentional spread around the state by ignorant lizard fanciers – the primary route by which Phelsuma laticauda has become widely distributed around the state in the past few decades.
Unlike the other two established Phelsuma in Hawaii, which are approximately the size of most of the other introduced geckos and anoles, P. madagascariensis can attain a length of 20-30 cm. Its larger size is likely to make this species less welcome by many homeowners and may result in population reductions of micro sympatric diurnal lizards via predation. It is uncertain to what extent this species may be capable of invading native forest, but its size could make it problematic for a wide array of native invertebrates.
Material examined: O’AHU: Mänoa Valley, 18.xii.1996, A. Freudenberg (BPBM 13285); Mänoa Valley, 25.i.2001, F. Kraus & D. Cravalho (BPBM 14089); Hälawa Heights, 8.ii.2001, L. Iseke & R. Uyesato (BPBM 14092).
Kishinami ML & CH Kishinami (1996) New records of lizards established on Oahu. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 46: 45–46.
Kraus (2002): New records of alien reptiles in Hawaii. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 69: 48-50
McKeown S (1996): A field guide to reptiles and amphibians in the Hawaiian Islands. Diamond Head Publ., Los Osos, California.