Added 16 May 2000. Last updated 19 January 2013: updated introduction, A. seychellensis and A. trachygaster and Bibliography.

A look at the

Subfamily GEKKONINAE - "True" Geckos


Genus AILURONYX - Sloughing Skin/Bronze Geckos

A small genus: two species were known until recently, when a third was added. Not much is yet known about their natural history, and although they are definitely known on the Seychelles, their distribution on Madagascar is disputed. All have a reputation for delicacy and especially for shedding strips of skin if handled, a rather distressing experience for both lizard and handler.

Boulenger lists the characteristics of the genus as follows: digits strongly dilated, with undivided lamellae below, all clawed; claws retractile, unsheathed, the sheath opening inferiorly and laterally, the three inner claws being turned inwards, the two outer outwards; upper surfaces covered with granular scales; belly covered with cycloid imbricated scales or juxtaposed granules; pupil vertical; males with preanal pores.

Scientific Name

Common Name





A. seychellensis

Bronze Gecko
Seychelles/ Skin-Sloughing Gecko



According to Rogner, three 'forms' of A. seychellensis have been described: the 'dwarf' (6"), 'normal' (8") and 'giant' (10"). It is possible, as he says, that these may be in fact different species, especially as A. tachyscopaeus was described two years after he wrote this. Interestingly, the dwarf form is in some places sympatric with the giant form. The normal habitat of these lizards is trees or banana bunches. In captivity it would appear that some individuals can be kept in pairs (Rogner) in a suitably sized terrarium: however, Henkel and Schmidt note that fighting may occur even then, causing slight injury to the female. The German Reptile Box website recommends daily temperatures of 28 deg C dropping to 22-24 deg at night. Diet is also similar to the day geckos, generally various insects and sweet fruit. Rogner also recommends that a humidity level of at least 75% be maintained in the tank to avoid shedding problems. Henkel and Schmidt recomemnd 75-100% humidity, with temperatures of not more than 30 deg C in the day and not less than 20 deg C at night. For some interesting information on one of the known sites of the Bronze Gecko, the Vallée de Mai nature reserve in the Seychelles, click here. Scalation: head covered with small granules of irregular size; nostril pierced between 8-9 small scales; rostral broad; 13-16 supralabials; 13-15 infralabials; mental small, narrow, not longer than neighbouring labials; 6-7 small chinshields on each side, inner pair elongate; dorsally and laterally covered with large, juxtaposed mamilliform or conical tubercles, generally very irregular in size; vertebral groove with small granules; limbs and throat granulate; abdominal scales small, cycloid, imbricate, smooth. Other: head longer than broad, with swollen cheeks, not distinct from neck; snout conical, considerably longer than distance from eye to ear-opening; ear-opening suboval, max diameter about half that of eye-opening; body and limbs short, thick; groove along vertebral line; digits short, not very unequal; 29 preanal pores. Coloration: dorsally yellowish-brown to grey, but some individuals have a bronze coloration, hence one of the common names. Other specimens may have white spots and stripes. Reproduction: eggs usually laid in a pair. At 28 deg C incubation takes 90 days. [SOURCES: Boulenger, Henkel and Schmidt, Rogner]

A. tachyscopaeus

Seychelles Sloughing Skin Gecko



Species first identified in 1996 (see Reptile Database entry).

A. trachygaster

Seychelles Sloughing Skin Gecko


SVL 16cm?

Scalation: 3 rows of chinshields; dorsal granules more or less prominent, not conical; belly covered with suboval granules, arranged regularly, each granule being surrounded with smaller ones. Other: head broad; snout very obtuse, rounded; no vertebral groove; slight fold along side of body. Coloration: fulvous brown, lighter ventrally, darkest on vertebral line. [SOURCE: Boulenger].


Lizards of the World, Mattison

Keeping and Breeding Lizards, Mattison

Geckos: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity, Walls and Walls, TFH 1999.

Breeding and Keeping Geckos, Coborn, TFH 1995.

Echsen [Lizards] 1, Rogner, Ullmer, 1992

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