Uroplatus ebenaui

Uroplatus ebenaui

Boettger, 1879

Description

Uroplatus ebenaui is currently the smallest known species of Uroplatus, achieving a maximum adult body size of 63 mm. Among the leaf-like Uroplatus species, U. ebenaui is characterised by this small size, a very short tail (12–23 mm), and a black oral mucosa.

The species is most similar to U. fieraU. fotsivavaU. kelirambo, and U. fotsivava, but its dark black oral mucosa and short tail allow for reliable distinction from all of these with comparative ease.

Note the black buccal membrane found in U. ebenaui.

Basic Ecology

Like all members of the leaf-like Uroplatus group, U. ebenaui is an arboreal, nocturnal gecko that rests during the day among dead leaves. Its diet in the wild has not been studied, but undoubtedly consists of various invertebrates, including snails.

Uroplatus ebenaui in situ in Nosy Be — photo by MDS

Range and Distribution

Uroplatus ebenaui was originally described from Nosy Be, but it also occurs in lowland forests stretching from Ankarafantsika to Montagne d’Ambre in the north. It is not found in Ankarana National Park, where Uroplatus sp. Ca5 occurs instead. In fact, it observes mostly strict allopatry with other members of the leaf-like Uroplatus: in Montagne d’Ambre, it is separated in elevation from U. finiavana (which is always higher in elevation). To the east, it probably borders on the distribution of U. fotsivava and maybe Ca3 and Ca4.

Habitat

Uroplatus ebenaui is a species of relatively dry, lowland dry deciduous forest. These forests are hot, up to an average maximum temperature of 29°C in the rainy season, 25°C in the dry season. These geckos are usually found 1–5 m above the ground.

Captive Care

Uroplatus ebenaui are a moderately easy species to care for and breed in captivity. Due to their origins they can tolerate dryer and warmer conditions making them a more forgiving species in captive collections.

True U. ebenaui can be found in the hobby, but the similar looking Uroplatus fiera are often misrepresented as true U. ebenaui and keepers need to be careful to correctly identify which species they have before any pairing or mating.

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