Saturday, December 4, 2010


We were having breakfast on the Lanai as the sun came up this morning.  Something caught my attention on the wooden post nearest the table.  As Hawaiian visitors for the last half a century will agree, it’s not unusual to see geckos around dwellings.  Precisely how they arrived on these islands is not known, but several species of small geckos have been commonplace since at least 1940, perhaps long before.  Polynesian imports, the usual suspects are various shades of grey, beige and brown, and all look quite similar.  They’re highly nocturnal, becoming active only after the sun sets and often seen hunting bugs near porch lights late into the evening.  This morning it took a few seconds for the situation to correctly register in my brain - “Hey, it’s not dark, and this one’s GREEN!”  Wahoo!!!
Since long before my first visit to the Hawaiian islands I’ve been aware that a few species of Day Geckos run wild there.  Indigenous to Madagascar, individuals of a couple of species, including the Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma lauticauda) and Orange-Spotted Day Gecko (Phelsuma guimbeaui), were released by hobbyists.  More recently Giant Day Geckos (Phelsuma madagascariensis) appeared and persist in at least one neighborhood in Oahu.  A long time ago, in what seems like a different lifetime, I kept a prolific pair of Giant Day Geckos and have been a huge fan ever since.  
This morning we were in for a tiny, orange-flecked, green thrill as we were visited by a tiny Gold Dust Day Gecko.  One of the smaller species, these little guys give away absolutely nothing in flash to their larger cousins.  Distant as they may be to their native Madagascar, it was really exciting seeing one “in the wild”.  
My camera was nearby on the tripod, having finished a quick flurry of activity while the sun rose this morning.  Poor Suzanne was thinking I might sit still long enough to have one complete meal without interruption.  This morning, no luck!  I dashed for the camera, yanked it off the tripod, swung through the bungalow to change the wide angle zoom for the 105 mm macro, cranked up the ISO, squeezed down the aperture, and hoped there would be enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur.  The bright sunlight would help.  I slowly crept up on the tiny lizard and mashed the shutter, focusing manually and hoping like mad there’d be a sharp frame.  

Tech: D700, 105 f2.8 macro lens, f11 at 1/1000th, ISO 800.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. And I remember some of your reptiles. I think my fondness for lizards may stem from that. Its nice to live where they keep us daily company. And I love the shot.