Utilization of the termite Hodotermes mossambicus (Hagen) by gekkonid lizards near Keetmanshoop, South West Africa

  • A.M. Bauer
  • A.P. Russell
  • B.D. Edgar


Five species of primarily nocturnal geckos (Ptenopus garrulus maculatus, Chondrodactylus angulifer angulifer, Pachydactylus bibronii, P. mariquensis latirosths and P. punctatus) collected near Keetmanshoop, South West Africa on the night of 3 October 1987 were found to contain large numbers of the harvester termite Hodotermes mossambicus. The mass of termites consumed ranged up to 61,1% of empty gecko body weight. Termite consumption of this magnitude and extensive above-ground foraging by large numbers of Ptenopus appear to be uncommon and probably reflect gecko usage of a large-scale Hodotermes foraging bout associated with the onset of the rainy season. The availability of such a concentrated food resource may be particularly important for vitellogenic female geckos.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-073X
print ISSN: 1562-7020