Ecology

Associations

Known predators

Gekkonidae (uta, horned lizard, gecko) is prey of:
Crustacea
Pseuderemias
Red racer
Pituophis
Crotalus
Buteo jamaicensis
Geococcyx velox

Based on studies in:
Polynesia (Reef)
USA: Arizona, Sonora Desert (Desert or dune)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • W. A. Niering, Terrestrial ecology of Kapingamarangi Atoll, Caroline Islands, Ecol. Monogr. 33(2):131-160, from p. 157 (1963).
  • P. G. Howes, The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World: A Brief Biology of the Giant Cactus Forest of Our American Southwest (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, New York; Little, Brown, Boston; 1954), from pp. 222-239, from p. 227.
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Known prey organisms

Gekkonidae (uta, horned lizard, gecko) preys on:
Insecta
leaves
Pogonomyrmex
Atta

Based on studies in:
Polynesia (Reef)
USA: Arizona, Sonora Desert (Desert or dune)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • W. A. Niering, Terrestrial ecology of Kapingamarangi Atoll, Caroline Islands, Ecol. Monogr. 33(2):131-160, from p. 157 (1963).
  • P. G. Howes, The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World: A Brief Biology of the Giant Cactus Forest of Our American Southwest (Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, New York; Little, Brown, Boston; 1954), from pp. 222-239, from p. 227.
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Gekkonidae: Gecko Family

Geckos are from the reptile family. There are 700 species of geckos. Habitats include warm tropical tempatures. Most are nocturnal and have very large eyes. Many have fiction pads of specialized scales under the toes that enable them to climb on vertical surfaces and walk upside down. Females lay only 1 to 3 eggs at a time but may breed several times a year. Geckos vary in size and color. Males are the most vocal of lizards and make loud repetitive calls.

  • Encyclopedia: Animals Reptiles, Amphibians, and fish. Volume Three..
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:1,441Public Records:547
Specimens with Sequences:1,202Public Species:122
Specimens with Barcodes:1,103Public BINs:216
Species:282         
Species With Barcodes:234         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Gekkonidae

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Wikipedia

Gekkonidae

The Gekkonidae are the largest family of geckos consisting of over 950 described species in 51 genera.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Many "typical" geckos are members of the Gekkonidae including house geckos (Hemidactylus), tokay geckos (Gekko gecko), and day geckos (Phelsuma). Species of Gekkonidae occur globally and are particularly species-rich in tropical areas.

Genera[edit]

These genera are considered members of the Gekkonidae:

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Reptile Database http://www.reptile-database.org
  2. ^ Han, D., K. Zhou, & A. M. Bauer. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships among gekkotan lizards inferred from c-mos nuclear DNA sequences and a new classification of the Gekkota. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 83: 353– 368.
  3. ^ Gamble, T., A. M. Bauer, E. Greenbaum, & T.R. Jackman. 2008. Out of the blue: A novel, trans-Atlantic clade of geckos (Gekkota, Squamata). Zoologica Scripta 37: 355-366.
  4. ^ Gamble, T., A. M. Bauer, E. Greenbaum, & T.R. Jackman. 2008. Evidence for Gondwanan vicariance in an ancient clade of gecko lizards. Journal of Biogeography 35: 88-104
  5. ^ Gamble, T., A. M. Bauer, G. R. Colli, E. Greenbaum, and T.R. Jackman, L. J. Vitt and A. M. Simons. 2011. Coming to America: Multiple Origins of New World Geckos. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:231-244.
  6. ^ Gamble, T., E. Greenbaum, T.R. Jackman, A.P. Russell, and A.M. Bauer. 2012. Repeated origin and loss of adhesive toepads in geckos. PLoS ONE 7:e39429


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Gecko

Geckos are lizards belonging to the infraorder Gekkota, found in warm climates throughout the world. They range from 1.6 cm to 60 cm.

Geckos are unique among lizards in their vocalizations, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos. Geckos are the most species rich group of lizards, with close to 1,500 different species worldwide and many others likely yet to be discovered. The New Latin gekko and English gecko stem from the Malay gēkoq, which is imitative of the sound the animals make.[6]

All geckos, excluding the Eublepharidae family, have no eyelids and instead have a transparent membrane which they lick to clean.[citation needed] Most gecko species can lose their tails in defense, a process called autotomy. Many species are well known for their specialized toe pads that enable them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces, and even cross indoor ceilings with ease (one hypothesis explains the ability in terms of the van der Waals force). These antics are well-known to people who live in warm regions of the world, where several species of geckos make their home inside human habitations. These species (for example the House Gecko) become part of the indoor menagerie and are often welcome guests, as they feed on insects, including mosquitoes. Unlike most lizards, geckos are usually nocturnal and are great climbers.

The largest species, the Kawekaweau, is only known from a single, stuffed specimen found in the basement of a museum in Marseille, France. This gecko was 60 cm (24 in) long and it was likely endemic to New Zealand, where it lived in native forests. It was probably wiped out along with much of the native fauna of these islands in the late 19th century, when new invasive species such as rats and stoats were introduced to the country during European colonization. The smallest gecko, the Jaragua Sphaero, is a mere 1.6 cm long and was discovered in 2001 on a small island off the coast of the Dominican Republic.[7]

Contents

Common traits

Oligocene-era gecko trapped in amber

Geckos come in various patterns and colors and are among the most colorful lizards in the world. Some species can change color and may be lighter in color at night. Some species are parthenogenic, which means the female is capable of reproducing without copulating with a male. This improves the gecko's ability to spread to new islands. However, in a situation where a single female gecko populates an entire island, the island will suffer from a lack of genetic variation within the geckos that inhabit it. The gecko's mating call sounds like a shortened bird chirping which attracts males, when they are around.

Adhesion ability

Close-up of the underside of a gecko's foot as it walks on vertical glass

The toes of the gecko have a special adaptation that allows them to adhere to most surfaces without the use of liquids or surface tension. The spatulae tipped setae on gecko footpads facilitate attractive forces called van der Waals forces to arise between the β-keratin lamellae/setae/spatulae structures and the surface.[8]

One study suggested that capillary adhesion might play a role,[9] but that hypothesis has been rejected by more recent research.[10][11][12]

These van der Waals interactions involve no fluids; in theory, a boot made of synthetic setae would adhere as easily to the surface of the International Space Station as it would to a living room wall, although adhesion varies with humidity.[11][12] The setae on the feet of geckos are also self cleaning and will usually remove any clogging dirt within a few steps.[13][14] Teflon, which has very low van der Waals forces,[15] is more difficult for geckos to adhere to than many other surfaces.

Geckos' toes seem to be "double jointed", but this is a misnomer. Their toes actually bend in the opposite direction from human fingers and toes. This allows them to overcome the van der Waals force by peeling their toes off surfaces from the tips inward. In essence, this peeling action alters the angle of incidence between millions of individual setae and the surface, reducing the Van der Waals force. Geckos' toes operate well below their full attractive capabilities for most of the time. This is because there is a great margin for error depending upon the roughness of the surface, and therefore the number of setae in contact with that surface.

Uroplatus fimbriatus clinging to glass.

Use of small van der Waals attraction force requires very large surface areas: every square millimeter of a gecko's footpad contains about 14,000 hair-like setae. Each seta has a diameter of 5 micrometers. Human hair varies from 18 to 180 micrometers, so a human hair could hold between 3 and 36 setae. Each seta is in turn tipped with between 100 and 1,000 spatulae.[13] Each spatula is 0.2 micrometer long[13] (one five-millionth of a meter), or just below the wavelength of visible light.[16]

If a typical mature 70 g (2.5 oz) gecko had every one of its setae in contact with a surface, it would be capable of holding aloft a weight of 133 kg (290 lb):[17] each spatula can exert an adhesive force of 10 nanonewtons (0.0010 mgf).[18] Each seta can resist 10 milligrams-force (100 µN), which is equivalent to 10 atmospheres of pull.[13]

Recent studies[19] have also revealed that apart from the setae, phospholipids - fatty substances produced naturally in their body - also come into play. These lipids lubricate the setae and allow the gecko to detach its foot before the next step.

About 60% of gecko species have adhesive toe pads which have been gained and lost repeatedly over the course of gecko evolution [20]. Adhesive toepads evolved independently in about 11 different gecko lineages and were lost in at least nine lineages.

Taxonomy and classification

The infraorder Gekkota is divided into seven families, containing numerous genera of gecko species.[21][22][23][24][25]

Gold dust day gecko licking nectar from the flower of a Strelitzia plant, also known as "bird of paradise."

Common species of geckos

Pores on the skin are often used in classification.

References

  1. ^ Arnold, E.N., & Poinar, G. (2008). "A 100 million year old gecko with sophisticated adhesive toe pads, preserved in amber from Myanmar (abstract)". Zootaxa. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2008/f/z01847p068f.pdf. Retrieved August 12, 2009. 
  2. ^ Borsuk-Białynicka, M. 1990. Gobekko cretacicus gen. et. sp. n., a new gekkonid lizard from the Cretaceous of the Gobi Desert. Acta Palaeontol. Polon. 35: 67-76
  3. ^ Conrad, J. L., and Norell, M. 2006. High-resolution X-ray computed tomography of an Early Cretaceous gekkonomorph (Squamata) from Öösh (Övorkhangai; Mongolia). Hist. Biol. 18: 405-431.
  4. ^ Conrad, J. L. 2008. Phylogeny and systematics of Squamata (Reptilia) based on morphology. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 310: 1-182.
  5. ^ Bauer, A.M., Böhme and W. Weitschat, W. (2005) An Early Eocene gecko from Baltic amber and its implications for the evolution of gecko adhesion. Journal of Zoology 265: 327-332.
  6. ^ gecko, n. Oxford English Dictionary Second edition, 1989; online version September 2011. Accessed 29 October 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1898.
  7. ^ Piper, Ross (2007), Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals, Greenwood Press.
  8. ^ Santos, Daniel; Matthew Spenko, Aaron Parness, Kim Sangbae, Mark Cutkosky (2007). Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology 21 (12-13): 1317–1341. http://www.brill.nl/journal-adhesion-science-and-technology. "Gecko "feet and toes are a hierarchical system of complex structures consisting of lamellae, setae,and spatulae. The distinguishing characteristics of the gecko adhesion system have been described [as] (1) anisotropic attachment, (2) high pulloff force to preload ratio, (3) low detachment force, (4) material independence, (5) self-cleaning, (6) anti-self sticking and (7) non-sticky default state. ... The gecko’s adhesive structures are made from ß-keratin (modulus of elasticity [approx.] 2 GPa). Such a stiff material is not inherently sticky; however, because of the gecko adhesive’s hierarchical nature and extremely small distal features (spatulae are [approx.] 200 nm in size), the gecko’s foot is able to intimately conform to the surface and generate significant attraction using van der Waals forces." 
  9. ^ Huber, G., et al. (2005). "Evidence for capillarity contributions to gecko adhesion from single spatula nanomechanical measurements". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102 (45): 16293–6. doi:10.1073/pnas.0506328102. PMC 1283435. PMID 16260737. //www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1283435. 
  10. ^ Chen, B.; Gao, H. (2010). "An alternative explanation of the effect of humidity in gecko adhesion: stiffness reduction enhances adhesion on a rough surface". Int JAppl Mech 2: 1–9. doi:10.1142/s1758825110000433. 
  11. ^ a b Puthoff, J. B., et al.. "Changes in materials properties explain the effects of humidity on gecko adhesion". J Exp Biol 213: 3699–3704. doi:10.1242/jeb.047654. 
  12. ^ a b Prowse, M. S., et al.. "Effects of humidity on the mechanical properties of gecko setae". Acta Biomater 7: 733–738. doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2010.09.036. PMID 20920615. 
  13. ^ a b c d Hansen, W. R.; Autumn, K. (2005). "Evidence for self-cleaning in gecko setae". PNAS 102 (2): 385–389. doi:10.1073/pnas.0408304102. PMC 544316. PMID 15630086. //www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=544316. "Setae occur in uniform arrays on overlapping lamellar pads at a density of 14,400 per mm2" 
  14. ^ How Geckos Stick to Walls.
  15. ^ Why do the gecko's feet not stick to a teflon surface?.
  16. ^ Autumn, Kellar; et al. (2002). "Evidence for van der Waals adhesion in gecko setae". PNAS 99 (19): 12252–12256. doi:10.1073/pnas.192252799. PMC 129431. PMID 12198184. //www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=129431. 
  17. ^ Kellar Autumn, Scientific American: Ask the experts. Accessed 5 June 2007.
  18. ^ Lee, Haeshin; Lee, Bruce P.; Messersmith, Phillip B. (2007). "A reversible wet/dry adhesive inspired by mussels and geckos". Nature 448 (7151): 338–341. doi:10.1038/nature05968. PMID 17637666. 
  19. ^ Ardnt, Ingo (April 2012). On Greasy Feet- What is the secret behind gecko's amazing climbing skills?. 6. pp. 14. 
  20. ^ Gamble, T., E. Greenbaum, T.R. Jackman, A.P. Russell, and A.M. Bauer. 2012. Repeated origin and loss of adhesive toepads in geckos. PLoS ONE 7:e39429
  21. ^ Han, D.; Zhou, K.; Bauer, A. M. (2004). "Phylogenetic relationships among gekkotan lizards inferred from c-mos nuclear DNA sequences and a new classification of the Gekkota". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 83: 353–368. 
  22. ^ Gamble, T.; Bauer, A. M.; Greenbaum, E.; Jackman, T.R. (2008). "Out of the blue: A novel, trans-Atlantic clade of geckos (Gekkota, Squamata)". Zoologica Scripta 37: 355–366. 
  23. ^ Gamble, T., A. M. Bauer, E. Greenbaum, & T.R. Jackman. 2008. Evidence for Gondwanan vicariance in an ancient clade of gecko lizards. Journal of Biogeography 35: 88-104
  24. ^ Gamble T., Bauer A. M., Colli G. R., Greenbaum E., Jackman T.R., Vitt L. J., Simons A. M. (2011). "Coming to America: Multiple Origins of New World Geckos". Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 231–244. 
  25. ^ Gamble, T., E. Greenbaum, T.R. Jackman, A.P. Russell, and A.M. Bauer. 2012. Repeated origin and loss of adhesive toepads in geckos. PLoS ONE 7:e39429

Further reading

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