Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Philippine lizards of the family Gekkonidae comprise 49 species (Taylor, 1915, 1922; Brown and Alcala, 1978) in 10 genera: Gehyra (1), Gekko (13), Hemidactylus (5), Hemiphyllodactylus (2), Lepidodactylus (6), Luperosaurus (8), Ptychozoon (1), Pseudogekko (4), and Cyrtodactylus (9), (Brown et al., 2007, 2010a, 2011; Welton et al., 2009, 2010a, 2010b; Zug, 2011). An amazing percentage of these species are endemic to the Philippines archipelago (roughly 85%; Brown et al., 2011). Several of the recently described gekkonids in the Philippines were discovered only recently as part of ongoing surveys around the archipelago. Recent phylogenetic studies focused on Philippine gekkonids (Siler et al., 2010; Welton et al., 2010a,b) have resulted in the observation of high levels of genetic diversity among populations of widespread species, an indication that the country's gecko diversity may still be greatly underestimated.
The genus Ptychozoon represents a unique radiation of lizards in that species in the genus possess extra flaps of skin on their bodies and tails allowing species to glide between arboreal perches. Only a single species is recognized in the Philippines (Ptychozoon intermedium). Most species are quite rare in collections, and observations of individuals in the wild are rarely made. Much of this is due to the lizard's secretive nature and arboreal microhabitat preference. Unfortunately, little is known about the ecology and natural history of the unique species in the Philippines.