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.
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