Réunion Island ornate day gecko

Reunion Island ornate day gecko (Phelsuma inexpectata Mertens, 1966) is a diurnal species of geckos. It occurs only on the island Réunion and typically inhabits different trees. The Reunion Island ornate day gecko feeds on insects and nectar.

Scientific synonyms:

  • Phelsuma ornata inexpectata Mertens, 1966
  • Phelsuma inexpectata Bour, 1995


This lizard is one of the smallest day geckos. It can reach a total length of about 12 cm at most. The body colour is dark green. Three red stripes extend from the snout to the neck. From behind the eye, a thick brown stripe and a thin green-white extend to above the front leg. The snout is partly dark blue. The back is covered with reddish-coloured dots, which are greatly reduced in females. The ventral side is off-white.


This species is endemic to Réunion. It is found in the coastal areas in the region of Manapany-Les-Bains and St.-Joseph.


P. inexpectata typically lives on trees such as papaya, banana, pandanus and other pantropic vegetation. They also inhabit human dwellings and have been spotted on postboxes and fences. This biotope is relatively dry and hot.


These day geckos feed on various insects and other invertebrates. They also like to lick soft sweet fruit, pollen and nectar.


This Phelsuma species can be quite shy in captivity. These day geckos are also surprisingly speedy.


At a temperature of 28°C, the young will hatch after approximately 50–52 days. The juveniles measure around 48 mm.

Care and maintenance in captivity:

These animals should be housed in pairs in a well planted enclosure. The temperature should be between 29 and 32°C during the day and drop to around 22°C at night. The humidity should be maintained between 50 and 60% during the day and 80–90% at night. In captivity, these animals can be fed with crickets, wax moths, fruit flies, mealworms and houseflies.


  • Henkel, F.-W. and W. Schmidt (1995) Amphibien und Reptilien Madagaskars, der Maskarenen, Seychellen und Komoren. Ulmer Stuttgart. ISBN 3-8001-7323-9
  • McKeown, Sean (1993) The general care and maintenance of day geckos. Advanced Vivarium Systems, Lakeside CA.

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