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Strophurus facts for kids

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For the New Caledonian genus called striped geckos, see Dierogekko. For the Nepalese species called striped gecko, see Cyrtodactylus markuscombaii.
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Golden Tailed Gecko.jpg
Strophurus taenicauda
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Diplodactylidae
Genus: Strophurus
Fitzinger, 1843

19 recognized species, see article.

Strophurus is a genus of lizards in the family Diplodactylidae. All species of Strophurus are endemic to Australia, and are sometimes given the common names phasmid geckos, spiny-tailed geckos, and striped geckos.


The species of the genus Strophurus attain total lengths (including tail) of 80 to 130 mm (3.1 to 5.1 in). The scales of the body are generally small and round, sometimes interspersed with enlarged scales and soft spines.

All members of this genus have the unique defence, the ability to squirt a harmless, foul-smelling fluid from their tails, which can create a highly flammable substance when mixed with ammonia. This fluid is used to deter birds while they are perching in shrubbery, being unusual in the family by exposing themselves during the day. As with many other geckos, they are also nocturnal. Some members lack spines and enlarged scales, while another subgroup features spines on the tail and other parts of the body.

Their habitat is amongst shrubs and hummock grass, but they occasionally move to the ground for warmth or to mate. This behavior is especially prominent in pregnant female, which use the additional warmth of rocks and roads to assist development of the two eggs they carry.


There are 20 species of Strophurus, and a number of subspecies.

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Strophurus assimilis (Storr, 1988) Goldfields Spiny-tailed Gecko Australia
Strophurus ciliaris.jpg Strophurus ciliaris (Boulenger, 1885) Northern Spiny-tailed Gecko Australia
Strophurus congoo Vanderduys, 2016 Congoo Gecko Australia: North QLD
Jewelled Gecko (Strophurus elderi) (9391007062).jpg Strophurus elderi (Stirling & Zietz, 1893) Jewelled Gecko Australia
Strophurus horneri (P. Oliver & Parkin, 2014) Arnhem Phasmid Gecko Australia
Southern Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus intermedius) (9390989108).jpg Strophurus intermedius (Ogilby, 1892) Eastern Spiny-tailed Gecko, Southern Spiny-tailed Gecko Australia: NSW, NT, SA, Vic and WA
Strophurus jeanae (Storr, 1988) Southern Phasmid Gecko Australia
Strophurus krisalys.jpg Strophurus krisalys (Sadlier, O'Meally, & Shea, 2005) Australia
Strophurus mcmillani (Storr, 1978) McMillan's Spiny-tailed Gecko, Short-tailed Striped Gecko Australia
Strophurus michaelseni (Werner, 1910) Robust Striped Gecko Australia
S rankini Strophurus rankini (Storr, 1979) Exmouth Spiny-tailed Gecko Australia
Strophurus robinsoni (L.A. Smith, 1995) Australia
Strophurus spinigerus.jpg Strophurus spinigerus (Gray, 1842) Soft Spiny-tailed Gecko, South-western Spiny-tailed Gecko Australia
Strophurus strophurus (A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1836) Western Spiny-tailed Gecko Australia
Strophurus taeniatus (Lönnberg & Andersson, 1913) Phasmid Striped Gecko, White-striped Gecko Australia
Golden Tailed Gecko.jpg Strophurus taenicauda (De Vis, 1886) Golden Spiny-tailed Gecko, Golden-tailed Gecko Australia
Strophurus trux Vanderduys, 2017 Golden-eyed Gecko Australia
Strophurus wellingtonae.jpg Strophurus wellingtonae (Storr, 1988) Western Shield Spiny-tailed Gecko, Wellington's Spiny-tailed Gecko Australia
Strophurus williamsi in the wild.jpg Strophurus williamsi (Kluge, 1963) Eastern Spiny-tailed Gecko, Soft-spined Gecko Australia
Strophurus wilsoni (Storr, 1983) Mount Augustus Spiny-tailed Gecko, Mount Augustus Striped Gecko Australia

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Strophurus.

  • Fitzinger L (1843). Systema Reptilium, Fasciculus Primus, Amblyglossae. Vienna: Braumüller & Seidel. 106 pp. + indices. (Strophurus, new genus, p. 96). (in Latin).
  • Nielsen SV, Oliver PM, Laver RJ, Bauer AM, Noonan BP (2016). "Stripes, jewels and spines: further investigations into the evolution of defensive strategies in a chemically defended gecko radiation (Strophurus, Diplodactylidae)". Zoologica Scripta 45 (5): 481-493.
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