Scientific Name: Gonatodes albogularis / Common Names: Yellow-headed Gecko
Males with their unmistakable yellowish heads and dark blue to black bodies can often be seen clinging to the underside of low horizontal branches. Females are mottled grayish lizards often with a light collar line. Basking Yellow-headed Geckos are dark brown to black, but fade to gray or blue-green (males) at cooling nighttime temperatures. Yellow-headed Geckos have round pupils and lack toepads. In both sexes, the tip of the tail is white. Adults are only 2.5 - 3.5 in. (6.5 - 9 cm) TL. Hatchlings are banded yellow on a gray background.
Habitat and Range
Yellow-headed Geckos are introduced to the Florida Keys and the Miami area. They are native to the West Indies and Cuba and are also found in Central and South America. They are common on buildings and around rock and rubble piles.
The male’s yellow head is used in social displays, to defend territories or attract females. Unlike many geckos, this species lacks a voice. One of only a few diurnal geckos, they are active on the ground, and on low trunks and branches. They are usually in motion, darting in and out of holes and crevices. They feed on tiny insects and spiders. Yellow-headed Geckos only lay a single, large oval egg, 0.3 - 0.25 in. (8 x 6.5 mm) in size, at a time, each female laying several eggs annually. Females will lay eggs communally in a favorable spot, as many as 10 being found in a single crevice.
All other geckos in the eastern United States have toepads. The only other diurnal geckos with round pupils are the day geckos, which are larger and usually bright green.
Conservation & Other Threats
The species has been known in Florida for over 60 years, but has so far not expanded its range. Once very abundant, this species is now quite rare in Florida.
This species profile relies heavily on: Bartlett & Bartlett 1999; Conant et al. 1998; Krysko & Daniels 2005; Meshaka et al. 2004; Smith 1946