Laci M. Gerhart Barley

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Phelsuma laticauda

 

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook is already well aware of my obsession with the Madagascar Gold-Dust Day Gecko, Phelsuma laticauda (which now accounts for a rough majority of my social media posts). This beautiful species was introduced to Hawai’i in 1974 when a college student released eight pet geckos to the wild. What makes P. laticauda awesome is not just their vibrant color and their adorably shy inquisitiveness, but also the fact that their bright red back patterns are unique, making them (prepare yourself) individually identifiable! Our front lanai (sunny all afternoon and protected from feral cats) is a veritable gecko paradise, and I have used Wild ID to confirm the presence of no less than a dozen different geckos (most of which I have named…..).

I mean seriously, how cute are these?

Bashful:

Charlie: (named after the Always Sunny in Philadelphia character, who also enjoys a good crevice)

Darter:

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Nubbins:

Rorschach:

The RorBash Twins
One afternoon, I caught Rorschach and Bashful having a rather intimate moment on the lanai roof. Several weeks later, we had two tiny little gecko babies, which Anthony started calling RorBash. I have no actual evidence that they are the offspring of this mating, but we call them the RorBash Twins anyhow.

RorBash 1

RorBash 2

 

Tom: so named because he hangs out in the bathroom window in the evenings and peeps at us (while also eating moths).

Mittens:

My Oranges Bring All the Geckos to the Lanai
You may wonder how I get all these beautiful creatures to hang out on my lanai while I harass them with a camera. The answer: orange slices.

My interest/pastime/obsession led to my being tangentially involved on some preliminary work with Dr. Amber Wright (of UH-Manoa) who is doing some tests of using Wild ID to estimate population sizes of geckos around the Manoa campus, and comparing interactions of geckos with other introduced lizards, Anolis sagrei and Anolis carolinensis. I did a little photographing of campus geckos and Amber’s subjects in their experimental enclosures at the UH Waimanalo field station. The party-color dots on their backs are to assist in identification.

Geckos on the UH-Mānoa Campus

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Geckos and Anoles at the Waimanalo Research Station

Photographed December 5th, 2015

Photographed December 14, 2015

Photographed February 18, 2016