Gold in the Karoo …. !

One of the most vividly marked and pretty gecko species in South Africa has to be the Golden Spotted Gecko, Pachydactylus oculatus.  

During the palaeontological field trip to Nieu-Bethesda (posted previously), museum scientist Kevin Cole noticed the reptile (illustrated below) while excavating some rock strata looking for fossils. The little animal was quite relaxed and allowed some close up photographs to be taken. This specimen was documented at the Wapadsberg Pass.

It was found in a vertical crevice in a rock outcrop – one of their notable behavioural traits. They feed on small invertebrates, including grasshoppers and their tails can be fat stores (for lean periods). This can been seen when the tails become more swollen than usual.

Spotted Geckos are sexually mature at a year. Two hard-shelled eggs can be laid 2 or 3 times a season. Old land snail shells have been documented with gecko eggs. Not the preferred deposition spot which is normally under rocks, in crevices or in dead logs.

Pachydactylus oculatus

Pachydactylus oculatus

Spotted Geckos are sexually mature at a year. Two hard-shelled eggs can be laid 2 or 3 times a season. Old land snail shells have been documented with gecko eggs. Not the preferred deposition spot which is normally under rocks, in crevices or in dead logs. There are three species in the group – the Ocellated Gecko (Pachydactylus geitje), Large-spotted Gecko (Pachydactylus maculatus) and the Golden Spotted Gecko (Pachydactylus oculatus).

The Golden Spotted Gecko is found on the inland escarpment in the Western and Eastern Cape extending into the Free State.

Reference: A Guide to the Reptiles of southern Africa by G. Alexander and J. Marais (2008).

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About East London Museum Science

Conservation Biologist East London Museum South Africa
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