CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Indo-Pacific Gecko - Hemidactylus garnotii

Dumeril and Bibron, 1836

Also known as: Fox Gecko
Click on a picture for a larger view



Introduced Populations in California: Red







observation link






This is an alien species that has been introduced into California. It is not a native species.


Pictures of Indo-Pacific Geckos from Outside California
Mediterranean House Gecko Mediterranean House Gecko Mediterranean House Gecko
Adult in dark phase,
Miami-Dade County, Florida
© John Sullivan
Adult, Dominical, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica © Twan Leenders Adult, Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica © Twan Leenders
Mediterranean House Gecko Mediterranean House Gecko  
Adult, Santo Tomas Heredia,
Costa Rica © Fabio Hidalgo
Adult, Quepos, Costa Rica
 © Fabio Hidalgo
 
     
 Its Description
 
Size
Adults are 4 - 5.5 inches in length (10 - 14 cm) including the tail. Head-body maximum length is 2.5 inches (6.4 cm).

Appearance
A small gecko with sticky toe pads and large eyes with vertical pupils and no eyelids.
The snout is relatively long and thin, longer than the distance between the eye and the ear-opening (similar to that of a fox, which explains the name Fox Gecko.)
A single saw-tooth row of enlarged, spine-like scales along the lateral edge of the tail.
The skin is smooth, but not shiny.
Color and Pattern
Generally brown or gray in color, sometimes marbled with darker brown.
Darker in the daytime, becoming pale and almost translucent at night.
Small whitish dorsal spots of varying sizes and shapes.
Sometimes there are faint crossbands on the tail.
The belly is often lemon-yellowand the underside of the tail is sometimes pale red.
Young
Hatchlings are 7/8 - 1 inch in length with a distinct pattern and dark crossbands on the tail.
Comparison with the similar Mediterranean Gecko - Hemidactylus turcicus
The best way to differentiate these two species is the skin: the Indo-Pacific Gecko has smooth skin, while the Mediterranean Gecko has conspicuous large bumpy tubercles on the skin. The Indo-Pacific Gecko also has a yellow belly while that of the Mediterranean gecko is pale but not yellow.

Comparison with the similar Common House Gecko - hemidactylus frenatus
The Common House Gecko has been found in the wild in California, but it is apparently not yet established in the state.

According to geckoweb:

"The Indo-Pacific Gecko may have small tubercles restricted to its dorsum or dorso-lateral rows, and the Common House Gecko has only small or no tubercles, whereas the ... Mediterranean Gecko have enlarged tubercles across the back. ... In the Indo-Pacific Gecko, spines are only found along the sawtooth edges of the tail, however in the Common House Gecko, rows of enlarged spines encircle the tail."

Life History and Behaviors
Activity is almost completely nocturnal.
Hides in cracks and crevices and underneath ground surface objects during daylight.
Sticky pads on the toes allow this gecko to climb vertical surfaces. They are often seen on walls of building around outside lights where they wait to jump and catch with their open mouth nsects that are attracted to the light.
Diet
Eats a variety of invertebrates including insects and spiders.
Reproduction and Young
This species is all female.
Reproduction is by parthenogenesis - the development of unfertilized eggs.
One individual is capable of establishing a new population.

Eggs are laid in pairs in dark places such as crevices, moist soil, and in crevices.

Habitat
Associated with human development, mostly found on buildings with outdoor lights.

Range
This gecko is native to South and Southeast Asia, the East Indies, and many South Sea islands, including Northeast India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, the Malaysian Peninsula, Southern China, Taiwan, the Philippine Islands, Indonesia, New Guinea, new Caledonia, Polynesia, Fiji, Western Samoa, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, and Tonga.

It has been established in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Texas and California, and in the Bahamas and Costa Rica.


Range in California

Documentation of this species in California was first published in December 2015. (Gregory B. Pauly and Glen S. Yoshida. Herpetological Review 46(4), 2015.)

A population was found in Torrance, Los Angeles County, where it has been observed active during every month of the year since 2011. This population is apparently confined to one house lot.

Another population was found in Lake Forest, Orange County where adults and juveniles have been observed since 2009. This population was found in an area spanning eight house lots.

A third population was found in the city of Orange in Orange County in July 2014 by Anthony C. Huntle.


I have also received reports with pictures of alien geckos that might be this species from Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Palm Springs but the species has not been confirmed.

Taxonomic Notes
See The Reptile Database for synonyms.

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
This gecko is a very successful invader. The ability of a single lizard to start a new population and the species easy adaptability means it could become widespread in California. However since it prefers warm climates, it may be limited to the southern part of the state. It is not known what impact it might have on native wildlife.

Introduced into Hawaii, the species has apparently been pushed out of urban areas by another alien gecko, the House Gecko, but continues to be found in most other habitats.
Taxonomy
Family Gekkonidae Geckos Gray, 1825
Genus Hemidactylus House Geckos Gray, 1825
Species garnotii Indo-Pacific Gecko Dumeril and Bibron, 1836

Original Description
Dumeril and Bibron, 1836

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Hemidactylus - half fingered (hemi = half, daktylos = toe or finger)

garnotii - in honor of French naturalist Prosper Garnot

Alternate Names
Fox Gecko
Garnot's House Gecko

Related or Similar California Herps
Mediterranean Gecko - Hemidactylus turcicus

More Information and References
Robert Powell, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

Bartlett, R. D. and Patricia Bartlett. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles ad Amphibians. Gulf Publishing, 1999.

McKeown, Sean. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians in the Hawaiian Islands. Diamond Head Publishing, Inc. 1996.

geckoweb

Wickipedia

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

The Reptile Database

Conservation Status

The following status listings come from the Special Animals List and the Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


This is a new species to California, so there are no status listings yet for the state.


Organization
Status Listing
NatureServe Global Ranking Not Known
NatureServe State Ranking Not Known
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) Not Known
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) Not Known
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Not Known
Bureau of Land Management Not Known
USDA Forest Service Not Known
IUCN Not Known


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