Madagascar’s bizarre Leaf-Tailed Geckos (Uroplatus spp.) are on the wish lists of many lizard enthusiasts. Even after decades of keeping reptiles in zoos, I was shocked by the sight of my first specimen. Equally unique are Australia’s fantastic Leaf-Tailed Geckos (genus Saltuarius). In color, shape (some look like insect-chewed leaves!), movement and body position, both groups take camouflage to its extreme. The recent (October, 2013) discovery of a new Australian species, the Cape Melville Leaf Tailed Gecko, has caused quite a stir. Its Latin name means “exceptional, extraordinary and exquisite”…and it is very fitting! I know that I’m not alone in being thrilled that there are still such unusual creatures waiting to be found.
A Tiny Range and Very Specific Habitat
The Cape Melville Leaf Tailed Gecko, Saltuarius eximius, seems limited in distribution to the Cape Melville Mountains on the Cape York Peninsula in tropical northeastern Queensland, Australia.
Only 6 individuals have been found, all on granite boulders beneath a rainforest canopy (please see habitat photo). This same mountain range is also home to 3 endemic (found nowhere else) frogs and 2 endemic skinks. Read More »