IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

Gekko gigante is one of ten currently recognized, endemic species of Gekko in the Philippines. This species has been found on karst outcrops and cave systems at low elevation. The recent discoveries of several species of limestone microhabitat specialist geckos (including Gekko carusadensis) emphasize the need for focused surveys throughout limestone forests in the Philippines. Gekko gigante is known only from the small islands of North and South Gigante off the northeast coast of Panay Island in the central Philippines.

Recent studies and increased survey efforts throughout the Philippines have resulted in a dramatic increase in the diversity of gekkonid lizards in the country. The archipelago is now known to support ten genera and at least 48 described species in the genera Cyrtodactylus (9 species), Gekko (12–13), Gehyra (1), Hemidactylus (5; including platyurus, a species formerly assigned to Cosymbotus), Hemiphyllodactylus (2), Lepidodactylus (6), Luperosaurus (8), Pseudogekko (4), and Ptychozoon (1) (Taylor, 1922a,b; Brown and Alcala, 1978; Brown and Diesmos, 2000; Brown et al., 1997, 1999, 2007, 2008, 2009, in press; Gaulke et al., 2007; Linkem et al., 2010; Welton et al., 2009, 2010a, b; Zug, 2010).

Ten species of Gekko are considered endemic to the archipelago (Brown et al., 2009; Linkem et al., 2010) and two additional species with broad geographic distributions (G. gecko, G. monarchus) are also known from the country (Taylor, 1922a, b; Brown and Alcala, 1978; Ota et al., 1989). The ten endemic Philippine species are G. athymus, G. carusadensis, G. crombota, G. ernstkelleri, G. gigante, G. mindorensis, G. palawanensis, G. porosus, G. romblon, and G. rossi. These species represent a considerable range in body size, general appearance, and ecological attributes, but all possess the following combination of morphological traits: (1) body size moderate, with relatively long, slender limbs; (2) near complete absence of interdigital webbing or cutaneous body expansions; (3) dorsal tubercles arranged in longitudinal rows on the dorsum (except for G. athymus, in which dorsal tuberculation is absent); (4) scales of dorsum between tubercle rows minute, non-imbricate; (5) scales of venter enlarged, imbricate, flat; (6) differentiated postmentals elongate; and (7) subcaudals enlarged, plate-like (Brown and Alcala, 1978; Brown et al., 2007, 2008, 2009).

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© Siler, Cameron

Source: Amphibians and Reptiles of the Philippines

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