Gold dust day gecko


Phelsuma laticauda - gold dust day gecko, Hawai'i

These geckos are native to Madagascar and were introduced to several of the Hawaiian islands, likely as released or escaped pets.  There must have been more than 50 of them living around our lodgings, and I couldn't resist photographing them each day.  In addition to hunting insects these geckos will also consume nectar; each morning I could find them lapping up the liquid from the red ginger plants in the garden (also an invasive species).  Some geckos in this genus drink honeydew produced by homopteran insects and may in turn provide protection to the insects from would be predators, which would be a cool example of an insect/vertebrate mutualism.

The geckos can be quite territorial and the little guy below seemed to have been forced into undesirable territory.  He could be found every day in the center of the glass door. We affectionately named him Tom.

Hawaiian Sphinx

Hyles calida - The Hawaiian Sphinx

Kiri and I traveled to the big island of Hawai'i and attended the International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds.  It could be said that Hawaii is the poster-child for biological invasions, with plants and animals from all over the world threatening the island's unique native species.  I was happy when Kiri pointed out this native caterpillar as we hiked along the trail.  The body segment at the rear-end of a caterpillar is called the 'anal plate.'  I haven't seen another species with the anal plate so pointed, it's a pretty cool feature.  It seems I'm making quite the hobby of photographing caterpillar bums.

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