The gekkonid genus Phelsuma is unique in possessing hypertrophied distal chondroepiphyses on the antepenultimate and penultimate phalanges of digits two to five of both manus and pes. These epiphyses have relationships with the adhesive systems of the digits which suggest that they play a role in enhancing the effectiveness of adhesion. It is suggested that the hypertrophied chondroepiphyses result from alterations in developmental timing and the suppression of the elaboration of secondary centres of ossification. They may be at least partially analogous to the intercalary elements of hylid and other frogs. The presence of hypertrophied chondroepiphyses in Phelsuma ocellata further strengthens the case that this species belongs to the genus Phelsuma and not to the southern African genus Rhoptropus.