Gold Dust Day Gecko

Gold Dust Day Geckos (Phelsuma laticauda) are brilliantly colored, day active geckos introduced to Hawaii from Madagascar. They were originally brought here as pets and are now spreading throughout the islands, mainly in suburban areas. I observed these Gold Dust Day Geckos in my yard and house in Pahoa, Hawaii. The Gold Dust Day Gecko below is hunting for insects on the leaves of a Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera), one of their favorite plants here.

Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) on a Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera) leaf

Gold Dust Day Geckos are bright green to yellowish green above and drably colored below with a distinctive dusting of gold speckles across the back of the neck and shoulders, large, scarlet blotches on the lower back, two or three rusty lines across the top of the head, large, dark eyes ringed in sky blue, and blue feet with the enlarged toe pads characteristic of a gecko.

Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) on a Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera) stem

These adaptable geckos have a varied diet and will feed on insects and spiders, flower nectar and pollen, and on soft, mushy or oozing fruits. They are also common residents in Hawaiian kitchens, where they will feed on insects like small cockroaches and on whatever human food they can find. If you leave something tasty like fruit or jelly out on the counter, you may return to find a Gold Dust Day Gecko licking it. With Gold Dust Day Geckos by day and cockroaches by night, you just can't leave any food sitting out unattended here in Hawaii. This gecko below likes to hide near my toaster and then emerge after someone has made toast to scavenge for buttery toast crumbs or blobs of jam.

Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) crawling on a toaster

Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) eating toast crumbs in a kitchen

Gold Dust Day Geckos (I affectionately call them "Greenies") really seem to prefer living in association with humans, and they can become surprisingly tame. I've even had them emerge from hiding to inspect food on the kitchen counter while I was still there preparing it! Another Gold Dust Day Gecko, not seeing an easy way to climb down from my balcony and seeing me conveniently standing there in the yard below, leapt off of the balcony onto my shoulder, ran down my arm, and dropped off onto the grass. It sure is handy to have humans around to use as mobile trees!