Desert Banded Gecko

Pos­ing for the cam­era at 3 AM.

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The Desert Banded Gecko can run with alarming speed.Being small (4″-6″ long nose to tail) and frag­ile does­n’t mean you can’t sur­vive 115° heat in the sum­mer and near freez­ing in the win­ter, or mim­ic scor­pi­ons by curl­ing your tail over your back, or if your tail is seized by a preda­tor, can’t detach it to get away.

The Desert Band­ed Gecko may be the Wile E. Coy­ote of desert rep­tiles. It is a very fast run­ner, and hard­ly dis­turbs the ground as it moves. Even with such speed, it remains best to avoid the diur­nal Road­run­ner, the fastest run­ning fly­ing bird in the world, with whom it shares the desert.

A Desert Banded Gecko grows back its tail.

The band­ed gecko at left was found at a loca­tion about 20 miles away from the one pic­tured above. Notice the dif­fer­ence between their tails, the one above show­ing band­ing that con­tin­ues down its tail from its back, but the gecko at left has lost its orig­i­nal tail and what is seen now is a spot­ted tail with­out the band­ing. Evi­dent­ly, the skin could not clone back an orig­i­nal band­ing pat­tern along the tail; the rest of tail is an approx­i­mate “copy” of the orig­i­nal as well.

Gecko pho­tos by Bar­bara Swanson
1/160 sec, f8, ISO100, matrix meter­ing with flash; 105 mm macro lens