Flat-tailed House Gecko
Scientific Name: Cosymbotus platyurus / Common Names: Flat-tailed House Gecko
Flat-tailed House Geckos fade into the woodwork by hiding their own shadows. They press their broad flattened body and tail against the wall or other object they cling to, and spread out thin skin flaps along the sides of the body, minimizing the shadow they cast, making them blend into the background. The flattened tail is finely serrated along the edge and the toes are partly webbed at the base. They are color changers as well, from almost patternless cream at night, to a bold pattern of almost black bars on a tan background. A rather small species, an adult is only about 3.5 in. (9 cm) TL.
Habitat and Range
This gecko was first found in a strip mall in downtown Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida. Other possible colonies are known in Gainesville, Homestead, and Ft. Myers, Florida. Despite having been loose in Florida since the 1980's, it has eked out only a tenuous existence. The species has shown no ability to expand into other, less urban habitats or new locations. It is native to tropical Asia from eastern India through Southeast Asia to the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
Almost nothing is known of their biology in the United States. They are nocturnal insectivores, and confine themselves to warehouse walls. In Asia, they lay pairs of eggs in crevices above ground. Males give a clicking social call and will squeak when captured.
A broad flattened tail with thin edges, along with lateral skin flaps on the body are the most diagnostic characteristics of this species. House geckos and other nocturnal, arboreal geckos have more rounded tails and lack lateral skin folds.
Conservation & Other Threats
Considering the Flat-tailed House Gecko’s precarious situation, and its totally urban habitat, it is unlikely that the species will have a significant effect on Florida’s natural environments. In a supremely ironic turn of events, the White-spotted Wall Gecko, another species released in the same location, has been seen to prey on Flat-tailed House Geckos.
This species profile relies heavily on: Bartlett & Bartlett 1999; Cox et al. 1998; Meshaka et al. 2004
Need illustration of the underside of the foot.