Banded day gecko (Phelsuma standingi)

Also known as: Standing's day gecko
French: Gecko Diurne De Standing, Phelsume De Standing
Spanish: Geco Diurno De Standing
GenusPhelsuma (1)
SizeLength: up to 30.5 cm (2)
Weight40 - 80 g (3)

The banded day gecko is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (4).

The banded day gecko (Phelsuma standingi) is one of the largest day gecko species in Madagascar. The adult is a mottled pale blue or blue-green colour, which is often similar to the bark colouration of the trees it inhabits (5). The underparts of the body are usually beige (3). The juvenile banded day gecko has prominent russet bands across the length of the body which fade with age, while the hatchling is blue-grey in colour (2).

The banded day gecko makes various noises including clicks, squeaks, and croaks (3).

The banded day gecko is found only in a small arid region of southwest Madagascar, occurring in an area of approximately 17,000 square kilometres (1). It was previously known from only five locations in the Toliara region, but another population has recently been discovered during forests surveys (5).

An arboreal species, the banded day gecko lives only in arid environments including deciduous dry forests and dense, scrub-like vegetation known as thorn forest (5).

Little is known about the exact habitat requirements of the banded day gecko, but it is known to have a close relationship with baobab trees (Adansonia spp.). It is also found on other tree species and even on wooden buildings, but appears to be primarily adapted to living in baobab trees, making it the only known reptile in Madagascar to associate with these trees (5).

The banded day gecko is rarely seen in the wild and little is known of its feeding habits in its natural environment. However, other species of day gecko are known to be omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates, nectar, pollen and fruits (6). The banded day gecko may feed on baobab nectar or invertebrates attracted to the nectar, but there are as yet no field observations to support this (5). In captivity the banded day gecko is known to feed on other geckos as well as a range of invertebrates and nectar (7) (8).

Day geckos are unusual among the gecko family because they have a diurnal lifestyle, which gives them their name (5). The banded day gecko has tiny hair-like structures on the bottom of its toes, called ‘setae,’ which aid in climbing on various surfaces. Predators of the banded day gecko include birds of prey and snakes (3).

The breeding season of the banded day gecko usually runs from November through till March. The female will lay one to two eggs every four to six weeks, but neither the male nor female will provide any parental care to the young (3). The eggs hatch after about 70 days, and the young geckos reach sexual maturity at 1 to 2 years old. In the wild, the banded day gecko may live for up to 5 years (3), while in captivity it may live for over 12 years (2).

The banded day gecko is thought to be experiencing substantial habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation due to the conversion of land for agricultural uses (1). These include logging, charcoal production, cattle grazing and slash-and-burn farming, which can also lead to destructive brush fires (9).

The banded day gecko is also illegally harvested for the international pet trade, despite being under protection from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (1) (10). It is thought that capture for the pet trade has been intense in recent years, leading to substantial declines in this species’ numbers (1) (5).

The banded day gecko is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning international trade in this species should be carefully controlled. However, a substantial illegal trade still occurs for the pet industry (1) (4).

A lack of study, and particularly a lack of data on population trends, hampers possible conservation efforts for this species. However, there are populations already occupying one established protected area, the Zombitse National Park. There are also plans to establish new protected areas in the region where the banded day gecko occurs, in the lower Onilahy River and Ranobe and Mikea forests (5).

Find out more about conservation in Madagascar:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2011)
  2. Bartlett, R.D. and Bartlett, P.P. (2006) Geckos. Barron’s Educational Series, New York.
  3. Sacramento Zoo - Standing’s day gecko (January, 2012)
  4. CITES (September, 2010)
  5. Cornu, C. and Raxworthy, C.J. (2010) Discovery of a novel association between baobab trees (Adansonia) and the poorly known Standing’s day gecko Phesulma standingi in Madagascar. The Herpetological Journal, 20(4): 281-284.
  6. Bartlett, R.D. and Bartlett, P. (2001) Day Geckos. Barron’s Educational Series, New York.
  7. Glaw, F. and Vences, M. (2007) A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences and Glaw, Köln.
  8. Phelsumaweb – The captive care and breeding of Phelsuma standingi (Standing’s day gecko) (October, 2011)
  9. Seddon, N., Tobias, J., Yout, J.W., Ramanapamonjy, J.R., Butchart, S. and Randrianizahana, H. (2000) Conservation issues and priorities in the Mikea Forest of south-west Madagascar. Oryx, 34(4): 287-304.
  10. Endangered Species Handbook (October, 2011)