Atlas day gecko (Quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus)

GenusQuedenfeldtia (1)
SizeSnout-vent length: up to 4 cm (2)
Tail length: up to 5.7 cm (2)

The Atlas day gecko is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The Atlas day gecko (Quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus) is a small, high altitude lizard endemic to Morocco (3). All geckos are relatively small, soft-skinned and have a flattened body shape. Many geckos are noted for their climbing abilities, and the feet of many species are well-adapted for such forms of locomotion, with highly specialised pads on their toes which enable them to grip onto most surfaces (4).

The male and female Atlas day gecko are very different in appearance. The female is dark brown or grey, with dark stripes running the length of the body. The female may also occasionally have an irregular series of dark spots on the upper side of the body. The male is paler with a large quantity of red or dark brown spots, which are more abundant along the sides of the body and neck. Often, the underside of both sexes is yellowish-green, although it may sometimes be darker in the male, especially towards the front of the body (3).

Many geckos are able to produce a wide range of vocalisations, including chirps, clicks, growls and barks (4).

The Atlas day gecko is endemic to south-western Morocco where it is found in the Toubkal Massif and surrounding mountainous areas of the High Atlas Mountains (1) (3).

The Atlas day gecko is associated with montane rock faces and boulders close to water sources. Living at elevations between 1,200 and 4,000 metres (1), this species has one of the highest vertical distributions of any gecko (2).

A diurnal species (5), the Atlas day gecko hunts in the day and, like most other geckos, is likely to use a combination of visual and chemical cues to find its prey. As with other geckos, this species is likely to feed on insects and other small invertebrates (4).

The female Atlas day gecko lays two to three clutches, each of a single egg (1), which is enclosed in a hard, calcareous shell (4). The eggs of this species are deposited in rock crevices (1).

The distribution of the Atlas day gecko is severely fragmented (1). However, there are not known to be any major threats to this species and its population is currently believed to be stable (1).

The Atlas day gecko occurs in a few protected areas within its range (1). However, there are no known specific conservation measures currently in place for this species.

Discover more about this species and reptile conservation:

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  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. Reptile Database - Quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus (November, 2011)
  3. Arnold, E.N. (1990) The two species of Moroccan day-geckoes, Quedenfeldtia (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). Journal of Natural History, 24: 757-762.
  4. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Röll, B. (2000) Carotenoid and retinoid - two pigments in a gecko eye lens. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 125: 105-112.