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Sri Lanka has a rich assemblage of gekkonid fauna. Among Sri Lankan geckos, rare species such as Hemiphyllodactylus typus and Lepidodactylus lugubris are poorly studied; both are considered vulnerable in national conservation assessments. Detailed ecological studies are needed for robust conservation assessments of these species, especially with the focus on island-wide distribution and microhabitat requirements. This study was conducted via patch sampling to record relative abundance and distribution of H. typus and L. lugubris based on random walks to 82 locations representing the three major bioclimatic zones of Sri Lanka. Morphological characteristics, behavior, and habitat use of the focal species were recorded. A total of 17 and 14 individuals of H. typus and L. lugubris were found, respectively, which indicated the low abundance of both species. Both species were nocturnal, arboreal, and did not den with conspecifics; they mostly preferred close-canopy, dense woody vegetation having mature moss-covered tree trunks with peeling barks and crevices over built-up environments. No records on oviposition were noted for either species. Both species were sluggish in their movements, even when disturbed. Currently known populations of both species occur in severely fragmented unprotected small forest patches. Therefore, habitat loss and fragmentation threaten these populations unless protected areas of Sri Lanka are expanded and functional connectivity is established.

Original Citation

Karunarathna, D.M.S.S., Surasinghe, T.D., Madawala, M.B., Wellapuli-Arachchi, S.M., Kandambi, H.K.D., Kusuminda, T.G.T., Priyadarshana, T.M.T.S., & Perera, B.N.H. (2015). Distribution, Natural History and the Conservation Status of Hemiphyllodactylus typus and Lepidodactylus lugubris (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Naturalist 8(1-2), 13-22.

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