By Alexa, age 11
Do you know what animal has the scientific name of Ailuronyx Trachygaster? Now, before you go and google it, I’m going to tell you the answer. Ailuronyx Trachygaster is the scientific name of… the Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko (or the Giant Bronze Gecko)!
The Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko was first discovered in 1851. Now, the only specimen which is in France says it was from Madagascar. So why don’t we see if we can find any in Madagascar. Ok, here we are. I don’t see any Giant Bronze-eyed Geckos. Did you find any? No? Oh well. *Gasp* Does this mean they went extinct? I mean, nobody’s seen one for over 150 years! 😦
Wait! What? Someone found a Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko?! Where? …in the Seychelles? Does anyone know where the Seychelles are? They are tiny islands near Madagascar. (Feel free to google that, or you can wait until our next newsletter.) But anyway, YAY! The Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko is not extinct! They must have mislabeled where they found the first specimen. I’ll tell you a story about how they found the Giant Bronze Gecko-eyed in the Seychelles (for the second time).
Once upon a time, (around 2005) in the Vallée de Mai, there was a guy on a tour. At one point, the woman leading the tour saw a huge bronze-eyed gecko. She decided to point it out. The guy on the tour took some photos of it and later realized that it was a Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko. Of course, he got all of the credit :(. And (maybe) lived happily ever after.
The story continues during my recent trip to the Seychelles. Can you guess what I saw? That’s right! I was one of the ~100 lucky people (according to Chris Raxworthy, a curator of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History) to see the Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko! We found it in the Vallée de Mai way up high on a male Coco de Mer tree (see article above for more info on the Coco de Mer).
The male Coco de Mer trees have yellow flowers from which the geckos drink nectar. These geckos also eat the eggs of the Black Parrot (also found in the Vallée de Mai), which is rare and endangered, but not as rare as the Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko. Of course, when I asked my dad to name the gecko we saw, he said that it looked like a Chuck. So we ended up naming it Chuck Steelix (for the Pokémon players. You know, like onyx? Ailuronyx) Trachygaster. Chris Raxworthy said the geckos are about two feet long and that there were probably only 10 people that know their scientific name, Ailuronyx Trachygaster so now even more people know its name!
Or maybe you could go to the Seychelles to continue this story. You could find Chuck. Say “hi” for me if you do. It’s really nice there. See you at the next newsletter!