A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

Ringed Wall Gecko - Tarentola annularis

(Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1827)

(White-spotted Wall Gecko)
Click on a picture for a larger view

Long-tailed Brush Lizard Range Map
Reported in Redlands, California: Red

If you see any lizard that looks like this living in
the wild anywhere in California (outside of downtown Redlands) please email me at
and send a picture if you can.

observation link

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

San Francisco Alligator Lizard San Francisco Alligator Lizard San Francisco Alligator Lizard
Adult, Riverside County
© William Flaxington
Adult, Riverside County
© William Flaxington
Adult, Riverside County
© William Flaxington
Cope's Leopard Lizard Habitat Cope's Leopard Lizard Habitat Cope's Leopard Lizard Habitat
Habitat, Redlands, Riverside County
Adults grow up to 6 inches (15.2 cm) in total length. Hatchlings are about 2 inches (5 cm) in length.

A robust-bodied lizard with rows of large rough tubercular scales covering the back, raised scales covering the limbs and tail, and elongated toes.
Color and Pattern
Color is gray or tan.
Usually with 4 distinctive white spots with dark borders on the shoulders.
These are the white spots which give this species its name.
Male/Female Differences
Males are larger than females, with a broader head.
The spots are sometimes not easily discernible on juveniles.
Similar Non-native Geckos Found in California
Moorish Geckos have more wrinkled and tubercular skin and do not have white spots on the shoulders.
Mediterranean Geckos are smaller with fewer large tubercles and lack the white spots on the shoulders.
Peninsular Leaf-toed Geckos are smaller, with fewer tubercles and no white spots and are found on rocks in the Colorado Desert in the extreme south-central part of the state.

Behavior and Life History
Pugnacious, biting readily when grabbed.
Makes an audible squeaking sound when threatened or disputing territory with others of the species.
Diet and Feeding
Prey includes invertebrates and small lizards.
In northern Africa, females produce several sets of 2 eggs each season.

Geographical Range
A population of T. annularis has been documented in Redlands, San Bernardino County.

In 2006 it was reported on the internet that there was a population of these geckos in Redlands. Comments in the H.E.R.P. database records indicate they have been present at least as early as 2002.
An unconfirmed rumor claims that the site of introduction was a pet store that was in the area but which no longer exists, that the store purchased a large group of the geckos in 1995, that an employee accidentally left their cage doors open and a number of geckos escaped into the store, and that despite store employees efforts to collect them all, they began breeding and about a year later had become established outside the store, which was confirmed when neighbors began bringing juveniles to the store to find out what they were.

William Flaxington confirmed that the geckos were still there in 2007. Some of his photos can be seen above.
Jonathan Hakkim confirmed that they were still present in 2010 and 2012.
You should be able to see Jonathan's photos and those taken by other photographers and their habitat on the H.E.R.P. dababase here.  If this link no longer works, go to the H.E.R.P. database and search for Tarentola annularis.

In 2013 I gave Kent Beaman of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles the locality information William Flaxington gave me for the geckos. Beaman had already searched for the geckos in Redlands but in the wrong area. With the correct location information he was able to collect some specimens for the museum and publish the first documentation that the species was established in California in September, 2014. (Kent R. Beaman and David M. Goodward. Verified by Clark Mahrdt. Herpetological Review 45(3), 2014). Their note neglected to mention William Flaxington's contribution to the effort.

The species Tarentola annularis - Ringed Wall Gecko, is listed on the 2008 SSAR Alien Species list as native to northern Africa and established in Florida in Lee and Miami-Dade counties - possibly established from a pet store release in Tallahassee.

Full Species Range Map
(Based on a map at

In California, found on urban buildings and in urban alleys.

Taxonomic Notes

Two subspecies are recognized:

Tarentola annularis annularis Geoffroy De St-Hilaire 1827
Tarentola annularis relicta Joger 1984

Alternate and Previous Names

White-spotted Wall Gecko

Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
Not known, but probably poses no threat due to the lack of other native vertebrate species in its urban habitat.

Family Gekkonidae Geckos Gray, 1825
Genus Tarentola Wall Geckos Gray, 1825

annularis Ringed Wall Gecko (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1827)
Original Description
Geoffroy De St-Hilaire 1827

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Tarentola = Taranto (a city in Italy)
annularis = one year old (from a Latin Dictionary)

Related or Similar California Herps

Hemidactylus turcicus - Mediterranean House Gecko 
Tarentola mauritanica - Moorish Wall Gecko
Phyllodactylus nocticolus - Peninsular Leaf-toed Gecko

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.

Conant, Roger, and Joseph T. Collins. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.

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


Encyclopaedia of Life

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.

Status Listing
NatureServe Global Ranking
NatureServe State Ranking
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) None
California Department of Fish and Wildlife None
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service None

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