Smith's Green-eyed Gecko Gekko smithii GRAY, 1842
GRAY, J. E. (1842): Description of some new species of Reptiles, chiefly from the British Museum collection - The Zoological Miscellany: 57-59. – Type locality: Prince of Wales Island (=Pulau Pinang, [Penang Island], West Malaysia).
Platydactylus stentor CANTOR, 1847
Platydactylus albomaculatus GIEBEL, 1861
Gecko stentor GÜNTHER 1864
Males grow to a SVL of 191 mm and a tL of 376 mm; females are smaller. Although this renders them longer than the Tokay gecko, they are not as massive or heavy as these and always appear more slender.
The entire upper face is covered with small scales amongst which there are 10-12 regular rows of tubercles on the back. The large, hexagonal ventral scales are arranged in 29-39 rows between the ventrolateral skin folds. Sexually mature males sport an angular row of 7-17 preanal pores. The fingers and toes of the muscular limbs are much widened, and except for the innermost ones, are furnished with claws, as is characteristic in this genus; the entire lamellae provide safe purchase for climbing.
The dorsal ground colour ranges from yellowish green through olive to dark greyish green with a relatively darker spotted pattern. There are usually 8 bands of whitish to yellowish spots between the nape of the neck and the base of the tail. The top of the head exhibits a dark Y-shaped marking. The mucous membrane of the mouth is reddish. The eyes are striking in that the areas around the slit-shaped pupil are emerald-green in colour. The limbs carry narrow, the original tail wide bands in a lighter shading. The underside is whitish, beige or yellow, either nearly uniform or densely spotted with greyish green. Juveniles are deeply blackish olive in colour, with a contrasting pattern of white bands on the body, limbs and tail (GROSSMANN 2006).
The Siamese Green-eyed Gecko (Gekko siamensis) from central Thailand is easily distinguished from G. smithii by its smaller adult size, the absence of the Y-shaped marking on the head, and the darker, umber-green eye colour (GROSSMANN & ULBER 1990).
Distribution, Natural Habitat and Ecology
The largest gecko of Southeast Asia has a distribution range that stretches from about southern Myanmar through southern Thailand and the Malayan Peninsula, Singapore, Borneo, Sumatra, Pulau Nias, to Java and several smaller offshore islands (MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997).
Gekko smithii is exclusive to the primary lowland rainforests where it usually lives on trees. It is also found on houses built in primary forests, however. Being predominantly nocturnal, the geckos live in family groups and normally hide in cavities and holes of trees, but also in the roofs of houses during the day. Males emit distinctive and loud calls (similar to the Tokay) that can be heard from afar. The females produce several clutches of two eggs each per year and guard them until they hatch. Once the hatchlings have eventually emerged, the female will consume the remains of the eggshells in order to replenish her calcium reserves. The parents take great care of their offspring until the juveniles become sexually mature (like other species of Gekko, e.g., Gekko gecko and G. vittatus).
G. smithii should be kept in pairs in a terrarium of at least 60 x 60 x 90 cm (l x w x h). Rear and side walls should be lined with cork bark or, even better, cork tubes in which the geckos can hide during the day. A water bowl should not be wanting even though G. smithii does not use it for drinking. The bottom substrate may consist of potting soil or a peat/soil mix. The terrarium needs to be misted every two to three days, with the misting water being fortified with a liquid vitamin supplement once every week. Fluorescent tubes are sufficient for illuminating the terrarium as the geckos hardly ever come out for basking. Temperatures between 25 and 29°C during the day and a little less at night are adequate. Reducing the hours of illumination and thus slightly decreasing the temperatures during the winter months has proven beneficial.
Gekko smithii feed on all sorts of insects and arthropods as long as these are appropriately sized. The food offered should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement as a matter of routine.
Females produce 4-5 clutches of two roundish eggs (21 x 22-23 mm) per annum. Given the temperatures and nightly decreases specified above, it takes 96 to 157 days for the hatchlings to emerge (SVL 50-60 mm, TL 48-59 mm, tL 98-119 mm). The juveniles must always be left in the terrarium of their parents as these care for them with great intensity. In a case of danger, the juveniles will hide under the belly of one of their parents. Once they become sexually mature, the male will try to drive them off and they have to be removed from this terrarium at once.
CHAN-ARD, T., W. GROSSMANN, A. GUMPRECHT & K.-D. SCHULZ (1999):Amphibians and Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand. Anillustrated checklist. / Amphibien und Reptilien der HalbinselMalaysia und Thailands. Eine illustrierte Checkliste. --Würselen (Bushmaster Publications), 240 S.
GROSSMANN, W. (2004): Gekko smithii Gray, 1842. -- Sauria,Suppl., Berlin, 26 (3): 627-634.
GROSSMANN, W. (2006): Grünaugengeckos Gekko smithii & Gekkosiamensis. -- Münster, Art für Art, Terrarienbibliothek (Naturund Tier-Verlag), 64 S.
MANTHEY, U. & W. GROSSMANN (1997): Amphibien und ReptilienSüdostasiens. -- Münster (Natur und Tier-Verlag), 512 S.