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Wildlife: Ground Gecko or Wood Lizard


Ground GeckoSphaerodactylus argivus argivus; (Cayman Brac)

Endemic Ground Gecko, sometimes also called a Wood Lizard
This photo was taken on glass with the light underneath the Ground Gecko
Ground Gecko Eggs

Size: Up to 27 mm SVL* Discovered first in 1888 on Cayman Brac, this tiny lizard has a pointed snout and a gray to greenish body covered in tiny flecks. The iris of the eye is a golden yellow colour. Head is tan or beige to dull orange and the belly is pale. This lizard can be found in bromeliads or under rocks, moist dead leaves and in the cooler shaded areas of caves. It is also associated with rotting wood, where it is most likely is hunting termites. Possible year-round breeding since eggs have been found in both summer and winter. (June and February) They lay a single egg.

Although some geckos are diurnal and bask in the sun, in Cayman, they will run from light and hide in dark cavities when they are disturbed or exposed. This is exactly the opposite to the preferences of Cayman anoles, which are often seen basking in the sun.

Very little research has been done in the Cayman Islands on this species. These are ancient creatures. They are totally intolerant of salt water and have not been able to travel even between very close islands, like Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, so there are two different subspecies on those islands. The Cayman Islands geckos are most closely related to Sphaerodactylus argus in Jamaica, where this is an endemic species, divided into three subspecies.

* Key:
SVL Snout to Vent Length

Total Length (including tail)

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