Sphaerodactylus fantasticus karukera
Sphaerodactylus is the most speciose rich genus of geckos, with around 100 species described and as much subspecies. They are found from Florida, where it is not clear if they had been there naturally or introduced down to Brazil. They are very small anima with Spaherodactylus ariasae and parthonopion being the smallest lizards. The largest species can reach a length of 8cm.
Sphaerodactylus fantasticus karukera was described in 1964 by R. Thomas. The species occurs in Guadeloupe on a small Island called îlet du Gosier and on the Islands îles de la Petite Terre.
The species is a medium size Sphaerodactylus reaching around 6cm (just over 2 inches)
Like most Sphaerodactylus, this is a diurnal species. They are best kept in pair as both sex show rather high territorial behavior towards con specific of the same gender.
A glass terrarium of 30/30/30 is a good fit for a pair. Bottom consist of a mixed of humus and sand (2/1). Rear and sides glasses are covered with cork plates and the tank is filled with small cork bark pieces put against the wall of the tank and on the ground. A small leaf litter can be added as well as a few rocks. A few small epiphytic plants complete the set up. Light is provided by a T8 tube. No needs of UVB with these small geckos. Misting is done once a day usually a short time after the light is off.
They are fed 2-3 times a week, with dusted micro cricket or thermobia. It is important to dust the prey with calcium at each distribution and once every 2 weeks with vitamins. A small bottle cap of water is added in the tank. Another one with calcium is also available for the geckos.
Breeding is not problematic, the female will lay an egg ~4-5 times a year (so far my best breeding season with them has given me 5 eggs. The egg is rather small, much smaller than species of similar size. The egg hatched around 90 days and a small very dark baby comes out. Freshly hatched young are small barely over 2cm long. It is not always easy to give them the proper size prey. Springtails can be a good first food, pinehead sized crickets too. At the age of 6 months it is possible to tell sex apart by looking at the presence or absence of shiny scales (Escutcheon) in the cloacal region. Beside this, the sexual dimorphic is almost non-existent, there is a little coloration difference but it is really obvious for a trained eye.
To conclude, I would say it is a rather uncommon species of gecko, and also uncommon among Sphaerodactylus. This species is challenging to raise from hatchling and therefore should be place in hands of people with experience with other Sphaerodactylus species.
all photos by the author