We keep discovering Fuerteventura’s wildlife and Lobos Islet and although it seems that everything is about marine species and birds, we cannot forget an exceptional inhabitant of this paradise, a true symbol for these islands, The “Majorero” wall gecko (Tarentola angustimentalis). Perhaps those of you who do not inhabit these idyllic lands have not seen one yet, but for sure they known it though countless souvenirs that can be found in the island’s shops. It is a very abundant and well known animal, in fact the residents in the North of Fuerteventura usually feel proud to have one of these companions on the walls of our homes. In our boat trips from Corralejo, when we take our travellers to know the wonderful Lobos Islet in our Water Taxi, you will have the chance to to watch them: you just have to pay a little attention to the rocks in the sandy areas, where they are usually sunbathing in the mornings.
Let’s learn a little more about this species, endemic to Fuerteventura and Lobos Islet. The “Majorero” wall gecko, or common gecko, is a reptile lizard from the geckos family, which is named after the roughness, flaking or bumps on the dorsal areas of its body. 6 species inhabit The Canary Islands, 4 of which are endemic: Tarentola delalandii (Common “Majorero” wall gecko), Tarentola gomerensis, Tarentola Boettgeri (with two subspecies, one of them endemic to El Hierro) and Tarentola angustimentalis, in addition to the foreign Tarentola mauritanica (common gecko) and the Hemidactylus turcius (Pink gecko).
The “Majorero” wall gecko (Tarentola angustimentalis ) is a species found in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Lobos, La Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Alegranza, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste. For a time it was called Tarentola mauritanica angustimentalis as a subspecies of the Tarentola mauritanica, but now it’s considered a different species in itself, Tarentola Angustimentalis.
They can live on the coast and on the summits, being more abundant in thermophilic and tabaibal-cardonal, sandy and old “malpaís” areas, as well as on human constructions; it usually lives under rocks or rocky places. As far as its social behaviour is concerned, they are nocturnal, although they love sunbathing in the mornings; it is known that acoustic communication plays an important role for them.
They feed on insects, arthropods are their favourite, but as a curiosity, they sometimes eat their own molt. They are, at first sight, very funny; males are an average of 7.5 cm and females, 6.5 cm. Their body is robust and crushed. As most geckos, their skin is covered with bumps, except in the centre of their back, where they have a protruding bone. Their colour is light grey with a clear longitudinal line and five transversal dark bands. Their eyes, as you can see in the photos, are very prominent, golden or brown colour. It’s their eyes and hands, crushed but sturdy, which make them so funny.
Not much is known about their breeding habits: they lay about 1-2 eggs and apparently they have two clutches per year. The sex of the embryo depends on the incubation temperature: under 27º and 30 º they will be female, while under 26.5 ° C and 22,4ºC they will be male.
And though they are tiny they have a life expectancy of about 17 years.
This insect predator is endemic to the eastern Canary Islands and, usually, an abundant species, not threatened by human impact; until now no factors that may affect them severely have been detected, so we will have “majorero” geckos for a long time.
Let’s say that in our trips to Lobos Islet from Corralejo, on our Catamaran, this will not be the animal you will see most if you don’t pay attention, but we could not help giving it the prominence it deserves as it is a symbol which has become a souvenir for those who choose this paradise as a holiday destination. Still we hope that when you come to Lobos Islet you won’t forget that this is their home and, like us, they love to enjoy the sunshine on the beautiful sunny mornings which cheer up this area of “La Macaronesia”.