The moment it was decided that I was going to the Andamans, I set out to do my homework. In the process, one species that caught my attention was the Andaman Day Gecko. So much so that, from the moment I landed in Port Blair and was in the midst of some vegetation, I started looking out for this gecko more so because I was told that they were reasonably common. However, I failed to locate it on my own.
Finally, there it was – an Andaman Day Gecko on a coconut leaf. A lovely green coloured gecko indeed. I would not have noticed it on my own. I was glad that I had some help as this beauty of a gecko was pointed out to me by one of the locals. I was ecstatic.
Of course, I did take pictures of this truly beautiful gecko…this most certainly was one of the most attractive lizards that I had seen to date! The lovely green of the body overlaid with red spots, a bluish wash to the tail and yellowish undersides make this lizard truly attractive.
As the name Andaman Day Gecko Phelsuma andamanense suggests this lizard is known only from the Andaman Islands and is active during the day. These geckos are arboreal and spend considerable amount of time on trees. In the Andamans, they are also seen on coconut trees and banana plants apart from other vegetation. They can be seen near human habitations too. They thrive mainly on a diet of insects.
The genus Phelsuma consists of geckos that are active in the day. They are all essentially brightly coloured with green being the predominant colour. Most of them inhabit islands in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar has the highest representation of this genus and hence considered to be the centre of origin of this genus.
However, what is interesting is that the Andaman Day Gecko is over 5000 km from Madagascar – the home of its nearest relative! Though there are some general theories, just how this stunning gecko got to Andamans remains an enigma.