Scientists have found amber-preserved lizards dating back to the Cretaceous period, and those specimens remarkably resemble the fluffy lizards you’ll find in so many parts of the world today.
There are about 1,500 species of gecko, and their sizes range from the Jaragua Sphaero dwarf gecko, which is only three-quarters of an inch long and weighs less than a hundredth of an ounce, to the giant New Caledonian gecko, which can grow. to 17 inches and tilt the scale to 10 ounces. Geckos thrive in virtually all habitats, including rainforests, mountains, and deserts, as long as average temperatures reach 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
5 surprising facts about geckos!
Geckos are distinguished by several aspects in the reptile class:
These reptiles can climb virtually any vertical surface effortlessly thanks to the suction created by hundreds of thousands of tiny hairs on their toes.
They are the only lizards with true vocal cords.
These reptiles dry their eyes by licking themselves.
When they lose their tails to predators, they can regenerate new tails.
These reptiles replace their teeth by growing new ones every three to four months.
Scientific name Gecko
These animals belong to a taxonomic group that shares the designation “scaly reptiles”. “Squamate” comes from the Latin word “escamatos”, which means scaly, although these reptiles themselves do not have scales. They belong to the infraorder Gekkota, a name believed to derive from the Indonesian-Malay “gēkoq”, which is a transliteration of the sound this animal makes.
The Gekkota infraorder is made up of seven families:
Diplodactylida – This family includes 137 species in Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. Its scientific name comes from the Greek words for double (“diplo”) and finger (“daktylos”). The crested gecko, a popular pet, is a member of this family.
Carphodactylidae: Carphodactylidae is another Australian gecko family, consisting of 30 species. Its scientific name comes from the Greek words for finger and straw (“karphos”).
Pygopodidae: Pygopodidae look like snakes but are actually geckos. The family consists of 35 species, native to Australia and New Guinea. “Pygo” is a Greek word for croup, while “podium” is the Greek word for feet, so the family name roughly means “feet in the butt”.
Eublepharidae: Eublepharidae is a family of 30 species found in Asia, Africa and North America. They are distinguished from other species by their mobile eyelids and lack of sticky pads. This genus includes the leopard, the thick-tailed gecko, and the clawed gecko.
Sphaerodactylidae: The Sphaerodactylidae family includes more than 200 species distributed throughout the world. The scientific name comes from the Greek words for round (“sphaero”) and finger (“dactyl”).
Phyllodactylidae: “Phyllo” is the Greek word for leaf, and many of the 148 species that belong to this family are known as leaf geckos. Phyllodactylidae is found in all parts of the world.
Gekkonidae: Gekkonidae, or the common gecko, is the most widespread family, with more than 950 species. The best known species include the house, tokay, leaf tail, and day gecko.
Appearance of the gecko
These reptiles are small lizards with stocky bodies, large heads, tails, and, with the exception of members of the Pygopodidae family, prominent limbs. The color of the animal varies greatly from one species to another. Most are gray or brown, so they blend in better with the rocks, sand and dirt around them and thus escape the attention of predators. However, the leopard gecko has bright yellow skin covered in brown spots, some days the geckos are electric blue, the crested gecko is orange or red, while the tokay gecko has bright orange spots.
Their tails also vary greatly in shape and morphology, depending on the species. Some are long and sharp, while others are shorter and blunt, or even globular. These reptiles store fat in their tails, so they will have access to calories when food sources are scarce. Their tails have evolved to fall easily when the animal is being chased by predators. When this happens, the animal regenerates its tail. Their tails actually have their own nerve control center which allows the tail to wag and move independently for up to half an hour after its separation from the body.
These reptiles have around 100 teeth. Your teeth do not grind because they are replaced every three to four months.
Its skin is covered with millions of tiny, hair-like spines that are very soft to the touch. These spines trap water droplets that keep dust and other air pollutants away from the gecko’s skin. The microscopic hairs that cover the toes are called “hairs”. These hairs work differently from the hair that covers the animal’s body. Fungi are actually small enough to activate Van der Waals molecular forces that allow geckos to easily scale vertical surfaces, such as walls, and even move comfortably on ceilings.
Although some species are active during the day, they are mainly nocturnal animals and the design of their eyes shows this. All but a few species have translucent membranes that cover the eyes instead of the lids. They lick their eyes to keep them clean! (The leopard gecko is unique here because it has movable eyelids.) Their pupils are vertical, and their eyes can be up to 350 times more sensitive to light than human eyes. These lizards also have a sophisticated auditory system; they are able to hear sounds emitted at high frequencies that other reptiles cannot hear.