Rodrigues Giant GeckoBy Nick Bibby
- 23 × 47 × 37cm
- Edition size:
The largest of all the geckos, Phelsuma gigas was a large nocturnal carnivorous gecko. It was described by Francois Leguat, the French Huguenot marooned on Rodrigues for two years, as "as long and as thick as a man's arm".
As with other Phelsuma geckos, fruit and pollen would have been an important part of its diet as well as insects. Deforestation and predation by rats and cats had exterminated this impressive gecko by 1840 but a small population was still living on one of the islets offshore from Rodrigues called Ile des Fregates. Some specimens captured on Frigate Island in 1842 were described accurately by Lienard, a French librarian from Mauritius. Soon after these observations, rats invaded the Ile des Fregates, an event that led to the eventual extinction of the species.
The careful study of Phelsuma gigas' close relative, Phelsuma guntheri from Round Island,has enabled the accurate reconstruction of this giant gecko.