The 21 Species of the Wonderful Looking Leaf Tailed Geckos

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Leaf tailed geckos are a group of geckos in the genus “Uroplatus“. There are many different species of leaf tailed geckos, all of which can only be found in Madagascar. We have added 21 of the currently confirmed Uroplatus geckos. However, scientists are always learning about new species and new things about species we already know about, so we will try to come back every now and again to update the list if there are changes. The generic name, Uroplatus, is a Latinization of two Greek words: “ourá”, which means “tail” and “platys” which means “flat”. This refers to the fairly flat tails that the genus is known for. This group of nocturnal, egg-laying, insectivorous lizards can be found exclusively in primary and secondary forests. Keep reading to learn a little bit about each of the 21 leaf tailed geckos.

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Top 21 List – Leaf Tailed Geckos

1. Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus sikorae
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Least Concern

First on our list, we have the mossy leaf tailed gecko. It’s not hard to see why this beautiful gecko is called mossy, as they have a very mossy-looking appearance. It almost looks like they are actually growing moss and lichen on their bodies. These masters of disguise use their unique coloration, leaf-shaped tails, flattened bodies, and fringes along the body to be almost impossible to see during the day while they hang out and rest on trees and branches. Compared to other Uroplatus geckos they are fairly medium-sized, reaching lengthens of 15 – 20cm (6 – 8 inches). Due to their beautiful appearance, it is easy to see why they are a favorite in the pet trade.

Mossy leaf tailed geckos got their species name, sikorae, in honor of Franz Sikora, an Austrian explorer, and collector based in Reunion and collected in Madagascar for seven years.

2. Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus phantasticus
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Least Concern

If you want to learn more about these interesting geckos, check out our article “Top 10 Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko Facts – A Leafy Looking Gecko“.

Satanic leaf tailed geckos, in our opinion, have the most unique name of all the leaf tailed geckos. They got the “satanic” in their name because of the spiky ridges above their eyes, as well as their dark markings. Despite their appearance and name, these geckos are actually harmless and won’t cause you any harm.

Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos can come in a variety of colors. These colors can include various shades of purples, oranges, yellows, and tans. However, the most common color for satanic leaf tailed geckos is a mottled brown color. In addition to their main colors, they have small black dots on their undersides. As their name suggests their tail is flattened with a leaf-like appearance to it. Above their eyes are eyelash-like projections, and their eyes have a transparent covering over them, in place of eyelids. They can range in size from anywhere between 2.6 – 6 inches in length, including their tail.

3. Giant Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko 

Scientific Name: Uroplatus giganteus
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Uroplatus giganteus, also referred to as the giant mossy leaf tailed gecko, is a large and fascinating-looking gecko. Not only are they thought to be the largest species of Uroplatus, but they are also considered to be in the group of the largest living gecko species in the world, with the largest being the New Caledonian giant gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus). It is unsurprising then, that both their common name and specific name, giganteus, refer to the large size of this gecko.

For years they were just thought of as the “white-eyed fimbriatus”, until 2006 when enough research was done to determine they were their own species. Their mossy appearance, flattened body, and fringes along their lower jaw and body help them camouflage on trees during the daytime. Giant mossy leaf tailed geckos are found in Montagne d’Ambre National Park and Marojejy in Madagascar. They prefer higher humidity and are found in lowland humid forests, not dry forests.

4. Henkel’s Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus henkeli
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Uroplatus henkeli, also known as Henkel’s leaf tailed gecko, was named after Friedrich-Wilhelm Henkel, a German herpetologist who specializes in keeping and breeding geckos. They are one of the more common leaf tailed geckos in the pet trade and are fairly hardy when it comes to keeping them. However, they are still illegally collected in Madagascar, which negatively affects their population. When a Henkel’s leaf tailed gecko feels threatened they will point their broad flat tail upwards and wag it side to side. If that fails, they will stand up tall and open their mouths angrily in a threat display.

The appearance of Henkel’s leaf tailed gecko can vary greatly, with geckos being able to have various colors, as well as patterns. Some have spots, some splotches, and some may have bands. With such a difference in color and pattern between some of Henkel’s leaf tailed geckos, it is thought that they may actually be multiple species. More research is needed on this though.

Henkel’s leaf tailed geckos have fringes along their lower jaw and down their body, which give them a bearded appearance. They are rather flat animals, with a flat tail, body, and triangular head that ends in a pointy snout. They average around 30.5cm (12 inches) in length, and most often they also have a dark color on the tip of their tongues.

5. Giant Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus fimbriatus
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Uroplatus fimbriatus, also called the giant leaf tailed gecko is another larger species of leaf tailed geckos. They can reach a total length of up to 33cm (13 inches). Giant leaf tailed geckos have a more widespread range of where they are found, which is most likely why they are listed as the least concern on the IUCN red list. However, it is important to still keep an eye on this species, making sure that their habitat is protected so the species can thrive. The species name fimbriatus is the Latin word for fringed and was chosen based on the gecko’s unique appearance of fringed skin along its sides.

Like other Uroplatus geckos, they are masters of camouflage. Their leaf-like tails, body color, and patterns that make them look like they are almost covered in moss or lichen, and fringes along the side of their bodies, all help them keep hidden on the trees during the day while they rest. They are very similar in appearance to Giant Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus giganteus). One of the main ways to tell them apart is the colors of their eyes. the giant leaf tailed gecko has a more yellow iris with distinct reddish brown lines, while the giant mossy leaf tailed gecko has a more white iris, with more indistinct brown lines.

6. Spearpoint Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus ebenaui
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Uroplatus ebenaui, or the spearpoint leaf tailed gecko, is what many other recently described Uroplatus species are compared to. The group of leaf tailed geckos that resemble the spearpoint leaf tailed gecko, and are descended from a single common ancestor, are often referred to as the ebenaui group. In fact, many of those species were originally thought to be the spearpoint leaf tailed gecko until recently when they were proven to be their own species’.

The spearpoint leaf tailed gecko got its name in honor of Karl Ebenau, a zoologist who was a German Consul in Madagascar. They can be found in lowland dry deciduous forests, usually about 1 – 5m (3 – 16 feet) above the ground in the trees. They have short, rounded snouts, a leaf-shaped body that is laterally compressed (taller than it is wide), with spines above their eyes, and on their elbows. The spearpoint leaf tailed gecko is considered the smallest of the leaf tailed geckos, measuring just 8.9 – 10.2cm (3.5 – 4 inches) long.

7. Lined Flat Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus lineatus
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Least Concern

The lined flat tail gecko is probably the least leafy-looking gecko on the list, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting! Perhaps one of the most unique looking leaf tailed geckos, it’s not hard to see how this gecko got its name. The species name lineatus was taken from the Latin word linea, which means stripe or line and refers to the lines down the gecko’s body. These geckos are known for their ability to change their appearance from a more solid beige or yellow color, or make their lines more apparent and look more like striped wood grain.

Lined flat tail geckos are one of the larger Uroplatus species, reaching total lengths of 25 – 28cm (10 – 11 inches). They lack a lot of spines or dermal fringes that many species of leaf tailed gekcos have, but most lined flat tailed geckos do have spines above their eyes that almost resemble eyelashes. Their slender, elongated bodies with smooth skin end in a long, flat, slim tail, which is also why it is called a flat tailed gecko in its common name. They are mainly found in the tropical and bamboo forests of eastern Madagascar.

8. Cork-Bark Gecko 

Scientific Name: Uroplatus pietschmanni
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Endangered

Uroplatus pietschmanni, also referred to as the cork-bark gecko, is truly a unique-looking gecko. They have many different characteristics that help them camouflage on pieces of bark or tree trunks. These include flat bodies, tails that resemble dry oak leaves, scales of different sizes, and coloration that includes various hues that resemble the trees they are found on. Cork bark geckos are so good at camouflage in fact, that from 2007 to 2010 only five of them were found in the wild. Another unique characteristic of this gecko is that the bottoms of its eyes tend to be darker in color, while the top half is lighter.

The species’ name pietschmanni is in honor of a German gecko breeder named Jürgen Pietschmann.

9. Gunther’s Flat Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus guentheri
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Endangered

Uroplatus guentheri, or Gunther’s flat tailed gecko, is a leaf tailed gecko that uses its dark brown mottled appearance, and flat paddle-shaped tail to blend into the trees during the day while they are resting. According to the Uroplatus Information Center Website, they were first discovered in 1908 but were not found again until 1970. The species name guentheri, and the common name, are in honor of Albert Günther, a German-born zoologist at the British Museum.

They are unfortunately an endangered species, only found in a few small patches of western and northwestern Madagascar. They are often found resting in shrubs and low trees.

10. Long-Tailed Ebenaui

Scientific Name: Uroplatus finiavana
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Uroplatus finiavana, also referred to as the long-tailed ebenaui, is a species of leaf tailed geckos that are considered part of the ebenaui group of leaf tailed geckos. They can be found in Montagne d’Ambre national park, in Madagascar. Uroplatus finiavana are similar in appearance to Uroplatus ebenaui, however, they have longer tails and unpigmented mouths. They measure about 10 – 12cm (around 4 inches) long, with females of this species tending to be slightly larger than males.

The species name finiavana is a Malagasy word meaning initiative. This is in reference to the group of people who finally named the gecko, after years of it being recognized that Uroplatus finiavana was most likely its own species.

11. Finaritra Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus finaritra
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

The finaritra leaf tailed gecko, Uroplatus finaritra, is a fairly newly discovered leaf tailed gecko species, found in the low-altitude areas of Marojejy National Park. The species was first collected in 2003 by herpetologist Fanomezana Ratsoavina, however at the time it was thought that the geckos collected were the similar-looking satanic leaf tailed gecko. In 2016 more specimens were collected, and it was noticed that these geckos were larger than the satanic leaf tailed gecko, and the interior of their mouths were a bright scarlet red. Finaritra leaf tailed geckos were then described as their own species. They were given the species name finaritra because it is the Malagasy word meaning “healthy and happy”, which researchers say described their delight at describing this new species.

The newly discovered species may be in danger, due to the pet trade. While their primary habitat is in protected land, they are often still collected for the pet trade, and labeled and sold as the popular satanic leaf tailed gecko, as it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two species. A young finaritra leaf tailed gecko can only be told apart from the satanic leaf tailed gecko by their bright red mouth. Untrained collectors forcing the gecko to open its mouth can be extremely stressful to the gecko, as well as hurt the gecko long term.

12. Northern Flat Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus alluaudi
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Near Threatened

The northern flat tailed gecko, Uroplatus alluaudi, is a smaller leaf tailed gecko, with a length of 6.9 – 7.9cm (2.5 – 3 inches) SVL (snout to vent length. Their heads are fairly flattened, and they have a short rounded snout. Northern flat tailed geckos have relatively short tails compared to other leaf tailed geckos in the allaudi group of Uroplatus, and their tails are moderately serrated, with a leaf-like shape. Colors of the northern flat tailed gecko range from beige to hazel brown, with various dark brown to black patterns. This helps them camouflage into their habitat and remain hidden from potential predators.

Northern flat tailed geckos got their specific name alluaudi in honor of Charles Alluaud, a French entomologist, botanist, and naturalist. They can be found in a small area in Madagascar’s northern rainforest.

13. Southeastern Lowland Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus sameiti
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Next on our list is the very cool-looking Southeastern Lowland leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus sameiti). Other than a few differences, the southeastern lowland leaf tailed gecko closely resembles the mossy leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus sikorae). So closely in fact, that for a long time, the southeastern lowland leaf tailed gecko was thought to be a subspecies of the mossy leaf tailed gecko, and originally had the scientific name Uroplatus sikorae sameiti. One of the differences is that the southeastern lowland leaf tailed gecko tends to be slightly larger, with a SVL (snout to vent length) of around 18.8 – 22.9cm (7 – 9 inches), with males tending to be slightly bigger than females. Southeastern lowland leaf geckos also tend to have a flesh/pink colored buccal membrane (back of their mouth), while the mossy leaf tailed gecko has black.

The southeastern lowland leaf tailed gecko has varying patterns and designs that resemble various mosses, bark, and lichen found in their habitat, which helps them camouflage. They spend the majority of the day time on tree trunks, with their heads towards the ground resting. During the day they will venture off in search of food.

14. Uroplatus fetsy

Scientific Name: Uroplatus fetsy
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

Uroplatus fetsy is one of the newer species of leaf tailed geckos to be described, and we could not find a common name for them. ‘Fetsy’ is a Malagasy word meaning ‘sly’. This is because of the rarity with which this species is encountered. They managed to evade researchers for a long time despite the substantial number of research expeditions conducted where they live, as well as their sly-looking ‘smile’. Uroplatus fetsy are found in the forest around the limestone karst of Ankarana National Park in northern Madagascar. They are similar in appearance to the spearpoint leaf tailed geckos, however, one of the easiest ways to distinguish the two is that Uroplatus fetsy have pink and black coloring in their mouths, while the spearpoint leaf tailed gecko (Uroplatus ebenaui) have mostly black mouths.

15. Uroplatus fiera

Scientific Name: Uroplatus fiera
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

Another newer species with no common name, we have Uroplatus fiera. They are collected primarily from the Eastern/Central forests of Madagascar, and it is another species that very closely resembles Uroplatus ebenaui. In fact, it has been found that in captivity, many leaf tailed geckos that are labeled for sale as Uroplatus ebenaui, are actually Uroplatus fiera. Uroplatus fiera has two horns above their eyes and lacks the cranial ridge that connects the horns along the back of the head that Uroplatus ebenaui have. They reach an adult size of around 9cm (3.5 inches) and weigh around 9 or 10 grams. Like Uroplatus ebenaui and Uroplatus fetsy, they have smaller leaf-like tails than other leaf tailed geckos.

16. Uroplatus fotsivava

Scientific Name: Uroplatus fotsivava
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

Uroplatus fotsivava is another newer leaf tailed gecko species, and they can be found in the mountains in Northern Madagascar. They were given the species name fotsivava because of the color, or lack of color, of their mouths. Fotsivava is a combination of the Malagasy words for white (fotsy) and mouth (vava). The name refers to the lack of any pigment in their mouths, and at the time was the first characteristic they used to differentiate it from other leaf tailed gecko species in the area. They are similar in appearance to the group of geckos that resemble Uroplatus ebenaui by being fairly small, having a leaf-shaped body, and triangular head. As you can see in the pictures above, they also have quite small tails compared to other leaf tailed geckos.

17. Uroplatus kelirambo

Scientific Name: Uroplatus kelirambo
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

Uroplatus kelirambo and Uroplatus fotsivava were both described as new species at the same time, in 2017. Uroplatus kelirambo is similar to the group of leaf tailed geckos that resemble Uroplatus ebenaui, with its small size, triangular head, spines above their eyes, and fairly short tails. The main ways that people are able to tell the kelirambo leaf tailed gecko apart from other geckos in the ebenaui group is due to the black color in their mouth, as well as the unique elongated shape and small size of the tail.

The species name kelirambo is made up of two Malagasy words, which are kely (small) and rambo (tail). This refers to the small, thin tail that this species has. They also chose this name because it refers to the movie character Rambo, and his toughness. Like other leaf tailed geckos in the ebenaui group, Uroplatus kelirambo has a rambo-esque expression and is a tough gecko capable of surviving at extremely high altitudes, which is a unique characteristic amongst Madagascar’s group of nocturnal geckos.  

18. Smooth Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus malama
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

Uroplatus malama are small, short-headed, and short-snouted geckos that live in southeastern Madagascar, around Mount Anosy. They do not have any fringes on their lower jaw, neck, body, or limbs. The other species of leaf tailed geckos that Uroplatus malama are most similar to is Uroplatus ebenaui. However, they differ in scalation and coloration. They are different from other leaf tailed geckos because they lack dermal spines on their head, limbs, and the base of their tail that the other species have. In fact, this is how they were given the species name malama. Malama is Malagasy for “smooth”, and this is in reference to the absence of these spines, crests, or any raised scales.

19. Uroplatus malahelo

Scientific Name: Uroplatus malahelo
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

We could not find any photos of the Uroplatus malama gecko, but since it is still a recognized species of Uroplatus we thought it was important to include them still. Especially since their story is a bit of a sad one.

The name “malahelo” is a Malagasy word that translates to “forlorn” or “sad”. They were given this name because there have only been two specimens collected from a small isolated patch of land in the rainforest. At the time the species was being discovered, the patch of rainforest was being cut down and burned. Unless they live in other areas yet to be discovered, it is not thought that this species will make it, if they’re even still around. They are thought to be fairly small geckos and are most similar to Uroplatus alluaudi. However, they differ in coloration, as well as they have homogeneous dorsal scales (meaning the scales are the same throughout) while Uroplatus alluaudi do not.

20. Marojejy Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus fangorn
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

Uroplatus fangorn, or the Marojejy leaf tailed gecko, is a unique looking leaf tailed gecko that can be found in northeastern Madagascar. These fascinating geckos were given the species name fangorn because of famous author J.R.R Tolkien. The name was derived from the name of a deep, dark woodland in Tolkien’s middle earth. Fangorn is a Sindarin word (one of Tolkien’s made-up languages), meaning “Treebeard”. The same name was given to a race of ancient tree shepherds in Tolkein’s world. The discoverers of Uroplatus fangorn then gave the gecko that name because of the similarities between Fangorn forest and the forests in which the gecko are found, and also in reference to the tree-like appearance of the geckos, making them seem like the tree shepherds referred to earlier.

21. Sorata Leaf Tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Uroplatus fivehy 
Geographic Range: Madagascar
Conservation Status: Not Listed

Last, but not least, on our list we have Uroplatus fivehy, also known as the Sorata leaf tailed gecko. While they are not listed on IUCN’s Red List, it has been proposed that they be listed as vulnerable because they are found in some forests that are outside protected areas in Madagascar, as well as the decline of forest patches in the north of Madagascar where they are found. The species name fivehy references the flatness of their tail, just like the generic name Uroplatus. Fivehy in the local Malagasy dialect means “paddle”, and is in reference to the paddle-like shape of the gecko’s tail. The Sorata leaf tailed gecko is a fairly small gecko, with a leaf-shaped body, short tail, and triangular head with spines above their eyes.

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