Cuban Ashy Gecko
Scientific Name: Sphaerodactylus elegans elegans / Common Names: Cuban Ashy Gecko
The Cuban Ashy Gecko is the largest of the North American "dwarf geckos," although it only reaches 2.75 in. (7 cm) TL. Its head, body, tail and legs are covered with a network of tiny salt and pepper spots on a dark gray-brown background. Like many geckos, it can be paler at night. Juveniles are strikingly different, with bold black crossbands on the head and body over a greenish gray color and a reddish tail. It has smooth granular scales along the back, with a small spine-like scale over each eye.
Habitat and Range
Native to Cuban and Hispaniola, it has been known from the Florida Keys since the 1920's. Reportedly common in early years, its numbers have dwindled, and they are uncommon today. It frequents trees, buildings, vacant lots and stands of Australian pine.
Cuban Ashy Geckos are more arboreal than other "dwarf geckos," and can be found climbing trees and walls. They become active as night approaches, and stay active into the night, hunting small insects on lighted walls. Females lay single eggs under loose bark or other cover objects. Eggs are sometimes laid communally, and have even been found together with those of Common and Amerafrican House Geckos.
The Cuban Ashy Gecko is somewhat larger than the other "dwarf geckos," and has small, granular scales on the back. The Ocellated Gecko has numerous tiny white eye-like spots on the neck. The Florida Reef Gecko has numerous light markings on a dark background.
Conservation & Other Threats
Potentially, this introduced species could compete with the Florida Reef Gecko, the eastern US's only native gecko, but its tiny range and rarity would seem to limit that possibility. Some field workers have speculated that the Ashy Gecko’s rarity might be due to predation by the recently introduced Common House Gecko and Ameriafrican House Gecko.
This species profile relies heavily on: Bartlett & Bartlett 1999; Conant et al. 1998; Meshaka et al. 2004