Texas Banded Gecko
Scientific Name: Coleonyx brevis / Common Names: Texas Banded Gecko
These beautiful, fragile-looking, pale pink and brown-banded geckos are often encountered on roads at night, standing out like faded ghosts in car headlights. These small native geckos have large eyes with vertical pupils and moveable eyelids, translucent skin covered with tiny granular scales, and slender toes without toepads. They are the smallest of the North American banded geckos, weighing only about two grams. Adults are between 4 - 4.9 in. (10 - 12.4 cm) TL. Males are somewhat smaller than females and have a prominent spur on each side at the base of the tail. Juveniles are about 1.75 in. (4.4 cm) TL at hatching. They are boldly marked with broad chocolate cross bands separated by narrower pink, cream or yellow banding. As they grow, darker pigment appears in the light areas, and light patches encroach into the dark bands, producing the mottled adult pattern.
Habitat and Range
The Texas Banded Gecko is known from arid southwestern Texas, southeastern New Mexico, and northeastern Mexico. It is most common along intermittent streams and in rocky areas.
When alarmed, these geckos mimic a scorpion by holding their tails above their body and wriggling it from side to side. They emit faint high-pitched squeaks when disturbed. Unlike geckos with adhesive toepads, Banded Geckos aren’t adept climbers. When hunting, they prowl rocky areas, licking the ground and nearby objects for scent cues. They feed on termites, small insects, spiders and other arthropods. By day they take refuge in rock crevices or underneath rocks, boards or other ground cover. Females lay one or two smooth white-shelled eggs under flat rocks or other cover in early spring. Eggs are oblong and measure 8-9 by 15-17 mm.
The closely related Reticulated Gecko is known only from the Big Bend region of Texas. It is larger than the Texas Banded Gecko and has rows of wart-like tubercles on the back, which give the skin a rougher texture. Western Banded Geckos are found farther west and are more distinctly banded than Texas Banded Geckos. The Mediterranean Gecko, known from south central and southeastern Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico, has large toepads and lacks moveable eyelids.
Conservation & Other Threats
The Texas Banded Gecko is one of only six gecko species native to the continental United States. It seems to be common within its preferred rocky desert habitat. There are no identified threats to the species, and it has not been given special protection.
This species profile relies heavily on: Conant et al. 1998; Degenhardt et al. 1996; Dial 1978; Garrett & Barker 1987