Common Ocellated Gecko
Scientific Name: Sphaerodactylus argus argus / Common Names: Common Ocellated Gecko
Looking through a magnifying glass, these matchstick-sized lizards have small toepads and eyelash-like scales projecting above each eye. They are a mere 2 - 2.5 in. (5-6 cm) TL. Its back is brown or olive brown with tiny white spots on the nape of the neck, which sometimes fuse into thin longitudinal lines. It has small, overlapping dorsal scales with a keel or ridge along the middle of each scale. Occasional individuals are almost patternless. Hatchlings are barely over an inch long (2.6 cm) with a more lineate body pattern.
Habitat and Range
This species, a native of Cuba and Jamaica, is known only from the Lower Florida Keys. It was first observed in 1944, and has always been a rare species. It was observed again recently on Stock Island and Key West. It is found around buildings, in vacant lots and stands of Australian pine.
This tiny gecko commonly inhabits leaf litter and other debris, where it searches for tiny insects and other arthropods. These lizards are so rare that little is known about their biology in Florida. In the Caribbean, females lay single eggs at intervals.
Only the Cuban Ashy Gecko and Florida Reef Gecko share the Common Ocellated Gecko's tiny size and round pupils. The Ashy Gecko's dorsal scales are small and granular. The Florida Reef Gecko has only dark lines on the head and numerous light markings on a dark background.
Conservation & Other Threats
This introduced gecko could, in theory, compete with the Florida Reef Gecko, the only native gecko in the eastern United States or with the exotic Cuban Ashy Gecko. However, at this time the Ocellated Gecko seems to be a very rare species that is not expanding its range.
This species profile relies heavily on: Bartlett & Bartlett 1999; Conant et al. 1998; Krysko & Sheehy 2005; Meshaka et al. 2004;