ECOLOGICAL NOTES ON THE THREE-BANDED PARACHUTE
GECKO Ptychozoon trinotaterra IN SOUTHERN VIETNAM
James A. Fitzsimons1,2
Submitted April 24, 2016
Since the Three-banded Parachute Gecko Ptychozoon trinotaterra was first described in 1999, little information
on its natural history has appeared in the literature. Observations of the species in Cat Tien National Park in south-
ern Vietnam are presented, including the use of buildings for foraging, an activity not previously recorded for this
Keywords: Ptychozoon trinotaterra; rainforest; man-made structures; foraging; parachute geckos.
In a recent review of the parachute geckos Ptycho-
zoon, Brown et al. (2012) noted that most species in this
small genus are rarely encountered by biologists and, as a
consequence, are poorly represented in natural history
collections. New species continue to be discovered
(Brown et al., 2012, Sumontha et al., 2012, Wang et al.,
The Three-banded Parachute Gecko Ptychozoon tri-
notaterra was first described by Brown (1999) but since
then little has appeared in the literature. Kunya et al.
(2011) recently ‘rediscovered’the apparently rare species
in Thailand and provided brief details on the natural his-
tory on the 16 individuals they found there, as did Hart-
mann et al. (2014) for a single specimen they found in
Cambodia. Here I present observations of this species in
On 22 October 2005 at 19:20, I observed,
photographed and videoed a single P. trinotaterra at Cat
Tien National Park, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam
(11°25’23’’ N 107°25’43’’ E, 120 m a.s.l.) (Figs. 1 and
2). The gecko was on an outside wall and then adjoining
ceiling (~2.5–4mhigh) of the park headquarters build-
ing, which was lit (Fig. 1). The gecko did not attempt to
flee despite the observer approaching to within 1 m, al-
though the photographic flash did cause it to move to cor-
ner of the wall. The individual gecko had an autonomized
its tail. Although the gecko was presumed to be hunting
[there were small insects (mosquitos/flies, Order Dipte-
ra; moths, Order Lepidoptera) present on the wall, at-
tracted by the light], no active predation attempts were
observed. House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus were also
foraging on the same wall.
The park headquarters is a one of a series of buildings
on edge of the national park and bordering the river Sông
`ng Nai. Vegetation in the national park surrounding
this site is semi-evergreen rainforest and bamboo (see
also Blanc et al., 2000) although the buildings are set
amongst a grassed and landscaped area with rainforest
trees. On the other side of the river is agricultural land.
1026-2296/2017/2404-0327 © 2017 Folium Publishing Company
Russian Journal of Herpetology Vol. 24, No. 4, 2017, pp. 327 – 328
1The Nature Conservancy, Suite 2-01, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton
VIC 3053, Australia; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
2School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, 221
Burwood Highway, Burwood VIC 3125, Australia.
Fig. 1. Three-banded Parachute Gecko Ptychozoon trinotaterra on
wall of park office, Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam.
Ptychozoon trinotaterra has previously been re-
corded from Cat Tien National Park by Nguyen and Ho
(2002), Nguyen et al. (2009) and Das (2010), although
Kunya et al. (2011) suggests this was “without any pho-
tograph or reference to voucher material.” Nonetheless
Kunya et al. (2011) also states the species is easily recog-
nizable from its congeners, by its three dark transverse
bands in the axilla-groin region, versus four in all remain-
ing species but the Philippine Ptychozoon intermedium
(otherwise clearly distinguishable by several scalation
Brown (1999) originally found Ptychozoon trinota-
terra on trees in intact climax rain forest and slightly dis-
turbed clearings or secondary forest adjacent to intact
rainforest in Vietnam and Thailand. Das (2010, p. 225),
apparently referred to Brown to also state the primary
habitat of this species was “dry evergreen and lowland
dipterocarp forest at elevations of up to 900 m a.s.l. [and
that it was] nocturnal and arboreal, known from tree
trunks.” Kunya et al. (2011) recently found the species in
older secondary forest, on trees and on lightpoles in Thai-
land, while Hartmann et al. (2014) found a single speci-
men in old secondary semi-evergreen forest in Cambodia.
Brown (1999) suggests, that based on limited pub-
lished information on the genus, most of the Ptychozoon
are canopy obligates and seldom encountered at the
lower vegetation strata. However, of the five Ptychozoon
in south-east Asia documented by Das (2010, pp. 224 –
225), all except P. trinotaterra were recorded as occur-
ring on man-made structures (P. horsfieldii: “frequents
man-made structures”; P. kuhli: “occasionally wooden
structures in the vicinity of forests and houses”; P. lino-
tum: “Occasionally enters human dwellings”; P. rhaco-
phorus: “observed on the walls of buildings and the
trunks of large trees”). The observation from Cat Tien
National Park confirms P. trinotaterra can also utilize
walls of buildings.
Acknowledgments. Thanks to Olivier Pauwels for con-
firming the identity of the species and P. Giessler for sharing
their observations of this species.
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328 James A. Fitzsimons
Fig. 2. Three-banded Parachute Gecko Ptychozoon trinotaterra on
wall of park office, Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam.