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The Leaf-tailed Geckos (Uroplatus) of Madagascar

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Uroplatus or Leaf-tailed Geckos of Madagascar are hard to spot in their arboreal environment. Conservation photographer and biologist Ryan M. Bolton introduces their incredible camouflage capabilities in the video above. From the National Zoo:

Giant leaf-tailed geckos inhabit humid, intact forests in lowlands and at elevations of 800 meters (about 2,625 feet). During the day, branches, tree trunks and leaf litter provide areas of camouflage where the geckos can rest out of sight from predators. They are most commonly seen on the island of Nosy Magabe, which is situated inside a bay in the northeastern reaches of Madagascar. They also inhabit rainforests on Madagascar’s eastern coast, though there are no verified accounts of the species existing farther south than the mainland city of Vondrozo.

Plus, these two surprising facts:

Fringed flaps on the leaf-tailed gecko’s sides and lower jaws flatten against a surface, obscuring their outline. The increased surface area reflects and refracts light, aiding their camouflage capabilities.

If disturbed, the leaf-tailed gecko opens its jaws wide, exposing a bright red mouth and emitting a loud distress call that resembles a child’s scream.

green leaf tail gecko
brown leaf tail gecko
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and is home to over 5% of the total species found on Earth.

There’s more Madagascar and more camouflage in the archives.

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