I would like to please see the gloopiest looking liz you can find.
Or, wait, no, it’s not melting. Nope. That’s the mossy leaf-tailed gecko, Uroplatus sikorae. It is a species endemic to Madagascar and while threatened by the pet trade and habitat loss, it isn’t in any critical danger. This species’ gloopiness is actually part of its incredible disguise; this is one of the best camouflage techniques in the entire animal kingdom.
The mossy leaf-tailed gecko has lichen-like markings and is next to impossible to see. It, like many other geckos, can change color. Their skin, especially the skin on their flanks, is dense with proteins called opsins. These proteins are also found in the eyes and are the basis of animal vision- they react to light, see. Researchers working with Moorish geckos (which also “fire up” and “fire down” suggest that these proteins might detect light and change the animal’s color automatically- they can change colors while blindfolded! In addition, the mossy leaf-tailed gecko also has a dermal flap- that ridged, bumpy skin along their sides. They spread this out on the tree and it breaks up their outline. Their pupils are string-of-pearl shaped, which makes them difficult to register as eyes- if the mossy leaf-tailed gecko doesn’t want you to see it, you probably won’t.