Australian leaf-tailed geckos occur
in restricted ranges on various
mountain ranges along the east coast
of Australia. The riverine
leaf-tailed gecko (Phyllurus
amnicola) is the most basal
member of the Phyllurus
Range: Riverine leaf-tailed geckos are restricted to relictual rainforests on Mt Elliot in NE Queensland near Townsville.
Habitat: Found on the rainforested slopes of Mt Elliot, between 1,300-3,200 ft (400-1000 m) above sea level. They were not found on the summit of Mt Elliot during a survey, which reaches 4,000 ft (1,220 m) above sea level (Couper et al, 2000). Alligator Creek is the type locality for this species.
Natural History Notes: They are primarily found amongst boulders in suitable habitat. Their latin name amnicola translates to "dwelling by a river", which is indicative of their preference for living next to or near major streams and rivers within their habitat.
They are typically found on granite boulders with their heads pointed towards the ground, likely in ambush position. They may also be found foraging on rocks directly above flowing water. They are active at night, even during rain. Around 70% of wild individuals have regenerated tails (Couper et al, 2000).
General Notes: We obtained a young pair of Riverine Leaf-tailed Geckos in 2019 and hope to offer these geckos in the near future. They are similar to their relative Phyllurus platurus in husbandry and breeding. These geckos do very well in a cool environment and higher temperatures will stress this species out.
Female riverine leaf-tailed gecko (Phyllurus amnicola)
Male riverine leaf-tailed gecko (Phyllurus amnicola)
The broad-tailed gecko (Phyllurus platurus) is a closely related species that occurs in southern New South Wales. I have observed this species in the wild on several occasions.
Broad-tailed geckos (Phyllurus platurus) lack the white tail bands on their original tails that are found in the Riverine leaf-tailed gecko.
Alligator Creek, Queensland, is where the type specimen of P. amnicola was found (photo credit: wikimedia commons)