豹紋守宮第一次被描述是由動物學家Edward Blyth在1854年以Eublepharis macularius的學名描述。屬名Eublepharis是希臘文的混合字，「eu-」代表「好的」和「-blepharos」 代表「眼瞼」， 擁有眼瞼是豹紋守宮的特徵，也是區分它和其他亞科的守宮的方式，他們的足也缺少像壁虎的奈米結構，皮膚不光滑、崎嶇和晨昏性的習性。種小名macularius 則是從拉丁文中的「macula」意思是「斑點」、「污漬」，形容本種生物天然的斑點狀斑紋。 豹紋守宮和很多守宮都具關聯，如肥尾守宮和banded守宮。Eublepharis屬下有4個物種，其中一種曾被分類為另一種的亞種，因此，豹紋守宮有5個亞種。
豹紋守宮的體型比其他的守宮物種還要大，剛孵化的個體大小通常介於6.5到8.4CM(2.6到3.3英吋)，體重大約是3公克，成體大約是20.5到27.5CM(8.1到10.8英吋)，體重則是45到65公克。野外的個體體色通常較為暗沉、灰暗、黃褐，人工飼養的個體則不然。人工飼養的個體通常都是特別培育的品系，無論是顏色或是斑紋。豹紋守宮的皮膚非常堅韌，可以保護他們免於粗砂粒和岩地的傷害，也就是他們原生棲地的乾燥環境，他們的背部布滿小隆起，讓他們的背部顯得粗糙，然而腹部皮膚則是透光、薄、光滑。如同所有的爬蟲類一般，豹紋守宮會蛻皮，在脫皮前幾天，她的皮膚會從原本的顏色變成透明的灰白色。成體平均一個月脫一次皮，幼體脫皮頻率較高，有時候甚至一個月會脫兩次。守宮會把脫下來的舊皮吃掉，露出底下那層鮮豔的皮膚。關於守宮吃掉自己舊皮的理論有二 : 在野外吃掉自己的舊皮來隱藏自己的行蹤；另一理論則是舊皮能提供蛋白質和其他維他命。
Leopard geckos are polyphyodonts and able to replace each of their 100 teeth every 3 to 4 months. Next to the full grown tooth there is a small replacement tooth developing from the odontogenic stem cell in the dental lamina.
Leopard geckos are not immune to injury, and their tails often take the brunt. In the wild, if a severe injury occurs to a Leopard gecko's tail it will shrink until the injured part is shed off. For pet geckos, if injury necessitates an amputation of the tail, it will also shrink.
Chromatophores and color pigmentation[编辑]
Leopard geckos range in color from a yellow to brownish-orange base with spots covering all or mostly half of the dorsal region of the body. Their color is derived from pigment-containing cells known as chromatophores. These cells are responsible for an array of coloration seen in all reptiles, amphibians, birds and some species of insects. Chromatophores come in a variety of types based on the color they correspond to. Chromatophore types include xanthophores (responsible for yellow coloration), erythrophores (responsible for red coloration), iridophores (responsible for iridescence), leucophores (responsible for white coloration), melanophores (responsible for black coloration), and cyanophores (responsible for blue coloration). The skin of wild leopard geckos contains xanthophores (yellow) and melanophores (black spots). Designer leopard geckos may possess erythrophores and leucophores since commercial breeding and artificial selection have allowed novel coloration to arise.
Leopard geckos have predators such as snakes, foxes, and other large reptiles. Their keen sense of hearing and sight help them escape from them during the night. Along with their exceptional sight and hearing abilities, their skin helps camouflage themselves from their predators. Their sense of taste and smell also helps them with survival. They also stay in underground holes and burrows during the daytime, not only to avoid the heat but to also avoid the risk of getting eaten.
Leopard geckos also have the ability to voluntarily detach their tails if it is attacked, grabbed by the tail, bitten during copulation, or nipped by another during feeding. This is called caudal autotomy. After autotomy the tail can continue to twitch for as long as 30 minutes, allowing the gecko to escape from its predator. The tail is large and at least in one related species (Christinus marmoratus) it has been reported that the tail-less fleeing gecko makes for a quicker getaway. Fractures in the tailbone allow the tail to separate easily and rapid vasoconstriction allows the gecko to suffer minimal blood loss. This detaching of the tail causes a high level of stress on the gecko due to the loss of the valuable storage of fat it once had. It will start to regenerate its tail immediately because it is needed for survival. A lost tail may increase the chance of sickness in the gecko and in some cases kill it, but this is very rare. Regenerated tails often retain similar colors to the original tail [though there will most likely be a wide variance from the vibrancy and patterns of the original], however, they are often smooth and lack the rigid qualities and length of a normal tail. The tail will also be shorter and often fatter than the previous tail.
Sexual dimorphism is defined as a phenotypic difference between males and females of a species. It can be commonly found in animals, such as the leopard gecko and other reptiles. It exists in adult males and females, but can be difficult to determine in young geckos. The underside of a gecko truly determines the sex of the gecko. Males have pre-anal pores and hemipenal bulges while females have smaller pores and do not have external bulges.
Males can determine the sex of other leopard geckos by smelling pheromones on their skin. Males respond to males with aggressive behavior while they demonstrate courtship behavior towards females. Towards other males, the male would raise itself up from the ground, extend his limbs, and arch his back with the swelling of the tongue in aggression. He will then make short dashes and quick, vigorous bites, which frequently lacerate the skin and sometimes severely injure his opponent. Males behave the same way towards females while they are shedding their skin. Before and after the shedding of the skin, the males still express courtship behavior towards the females.
Leopard geckos are also known to have temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). Research shows that more females can be produced in predominantly cool temperatures (about 26～29 °C [79～84 °F]) and very warm temperatures (about 34～35 °C [93～95 °F]). It was recorded that males can be produced at the intermediate temperatures (about 31～33 °C [88～91 °F]). Determination of sex is believed to be set during the first two weeks of incubation. Females born in the higher temperatures differed from those who were born in the lower temperatures hormonally and behaviorally. Those born in the warmer temperatures expressed more aggressive behavior. These are known as "hot females" and are often determined to be infertile.
Leopard geckos will breed typically in the summer. Females can store sperm over the course of their breeding season, so they can produce up to three clutches from one or two copulations, therefore, the male is not needed for reproductive success after the first or second copulation. Once the female has mated and received sperm, she will need an abundance of calcium for health and to ensure that the eggs calcify properly. She can lay about six to eight clutches, which consists of two eggs in each clutch. They will normally lay two eggs approximately 21 to 28 days after mating. After 45 to 60 days, droplets of moisture will appear on the shell and the shell will begin to shrink and partially collapse. These are indications that the eggs will hatch. Baby leopard geckos will have an "egg tooth", a calcareous tip at the end of its snout to help break their egg shell. Their "egg tooth" will fall off within one to two days. In addition to this, their skin will usually shed within 24 hours of hatching. The leopard gecko hatchling will not be able to eat until after the first shedding.
Conditions and diseases[编辑]
Captive born and bred leopard geckos do not carry any diseases that are transmissible to humans. Salmonella is not an issue because they live in a dry environment and the disease usually occurs in aquatic or semi-aquatic species kept in unsanitary housing conditions. However, there are several common diseases that leopard geckos may experience.
- Gastroenteritis, caused by bacterial or protozoan (especially Cryptosporidium) infection brought on by such things as unsanitary conditions, can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea. As a result, geckos may present with watery and/or bloody stool. Normally the stool is dry and well-formed with a small white portion. It is contagious and can be spread easily. Other symptoms of the disease include weight loss, a skinny tail, undigested cricket masses. If it is not treated, the gecko will stop eating, become dehydrated and scrawny, and possibly die.
- Metabolic bone disease or MBD is a nutritional deficiency caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in the diet. Calcium and vitamin D3 are critical for proper bone formation during development and for proper calcification of eggs for a gravid female. Geckos with MBD will experience symptoms such as weakness, bones becoming spongy, deformities in their limbs and spine, twitching or tremors, and a lack of appetite. Recovering from this disease can be very difficult.
- Anorexia in leopard geckos can be caused by stress, unsanitary conditions, nutritional diseases, or other diseases. Anorexic leopard geckos appear thin, develop an extremely thin tail, become weak and sluggish, stop eating, and usually, die if untreated.
- Dysecdysis is a condition in which a leopard gecko has problems shedding its skin due to poor nutrition, lack of humidity and moisture, and poor care. Incompletely shed skin will appear as dry patches on various areas of the body such as the head, eyes, limbs, and tail. Leopard geckos with this condition may develop eye problems, have difficulty in walking, and noticeable constricting bands of old skin around their limbs. If the condition is not treated, it could lead to infection.
- Pneumonia is a severe respiratory tract infection that can be caused by bacteria in the lungs. Leopard geckos may be susceptible to this if their environment is too cool and humid thus compromising their immune system. Mucus bubbles appear in the nostril area of geckos with pneumonia, and they have difficulty breathing. The problem is usually resolved when the environment temperature rises to about 82至85 °F（28至29 °C）.
- Sand impactions and prolapse can occasionally occur. This condition may result if a leopard gecko ingests sand or other substrates they live on.
- Glaxemiona is a rare heart disease caused infection brought on by poor conditions, or exposure from injuries. It spreads in close quarters but has difficulty spreading to further away areas. It normally kills within 2 weeks. Some symptoms are; not eating, in-active, shuddering, and a glassy look.
Leopard geckos as a pet[编辑]
Leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizard pets. They are possibly the first domesticated lizard species. Their small size, robustness, and relatively easy care makes them a good "beginner" reptile pet. They breed easily in captivity, so most sold today are captive-bred rather than wild-caught.
Many morphs—color or pattern variations, and occasionally size variations—have been bred. Some of the morphs include three different strains of albino, patternless, blizzard, jungle, hypomelanistic, tangerine, giant, and snow. Since many of the morphs are unrelated gene sequences, various combinations, such as patternless albino and mack snow albino, have also been bred. Patternless, hypomelanistic, and blizzard morphs primarily involve the reduction or loss of dark spots. Giant is a size morph, giants are considerably larger than normal leopard geckos. Jungle morphs involve a change in the arrangement or pattern of dark areas. Snow morphs typically have normal dark spots, but little or no yellow pigment. Tangerine morphs have an orange pigment on part of their body, typically the head and/or tail.[來源請求]
Leopard geckos should be fed insects, such as crickets and mealworms, because they are insectivores (they eat insects). Unlike other popular lizards, for example Pogona "bearded dragon" species, they do not eat plant matter and this should not be offered to them. For more details about what leopard geckos eat, see Diet.
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