Amerafrican House Gecko
Scientific Name: Hemidactylus mabouia
Common Names: Amerafrican House Gecko
By day, this gecko's tan to gray or olive color and darker, and backward pointing chevron markings across the back, are excellent camouflage. At night, the body lightens, sometimes to an almost ghostly appearance. The body, particularly the sides, is covered with warty tubercles. Unlike other Hemidactylus species, the toepads of the fourth toe in the Amerafrican House Gecko do not extend to base of digit. Adults are usually about 4 in. (11 cm) long, but may reach 5 in. (13 cm) TL.
Scientific Name: Coleonyx switaki
Common Names: Barefoot Gecko
The Barefoot Gecko is the largest banded gecko in North America, reaching 5.5 - 6.8 in. (14 - 17.2 cm) TL. Like other banded geckos, it has moveable eyelids, a short fleshy tail and lacks toepads. It resembles the Western Banded Gecko, but has small tubercles on the back of the neck and sides. In California, most are tan, beige or yellowish with round or oval light and dark spots in irregular rows across the back. Like some other desert lizards, individual Barefoot Geckos match their body color to the color of the dominant rock formations, grayish in granitic areas, brown in volcanic regions.
Bibron's Thick-toed Gecko
Scientific Name: Pachydactylus bibronii
Common Names: Bibron's Thick-toed Gecko
This squat and powerful gecko has an almost armored appearance. The large head, stout body, legs and tail are densely covered with raised tubercles. The toepads appear swollen, almost rounded compared to other geckos. The body is tan to brown or gray, usually marked with irregular dark bars and scattered white tubercles. Florida specimens reach 5.5 in. (14 cm) TL, smaller than those in Africa, which are up to 8 in. (20 cm) TL.
Common House Gecko
Scientific Name: Hemidactylus frenatus
Common Names: Common House Gecko
This ghostly grayish-white gecko is an agile night stalker, running along walls, tree trunks and branches in search of moths and other insects. Its back is covered with tiny dark spots that may form lines or markings. It's a typical nocturnal species with bulging lidless eyes and toepads. It lacks dorsal tubercles, but rows of spines ring the tail. In Hawaii, the species reaches 4 - 5.5 in. (11 - 14 cm) TL, perhaps a bit smaller in Florida.
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.
Common Wall Gecko
Scientific Name: Tarentola mauritanica
Common Names: Common Wall Gecko
Golden vertically slit eyes with red veins give this burly lizard the look of a mythical creature from a Dungeons and Dragons game. Distinct rows of large tubercles shingle the back, pointed tubercles cover the neck and legs, and whorls of tubercles on the tail, give this lizard a spiny, armored appearance. This is another large, robust species, up to 6 in. (15 cm) TL, with a sandy gray coloration, paler at night. The belly is white with overlapping ventral scales. Males are larger, and have broader heads. It has enlarged, undivided toepads and large bulging eyes with a fixed transparent covering.
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.
Desert Banded Gecko
Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus variegatus
Common Names: Desert Banded Gecko
These very delicate looking geckos manage to live in extremely dry parts of the desert by retreating underground during the heat of the day, emerging in the evening to forage for beetles and other insects. This subspecies of banded gecko has narrow, light centered dark bands on a cream to tan background. The top of the head is covered with red-brown spots. It can reach up to 6 in. (15 cm) TL, as much as half of which may be the fleshy tail. Hatchlings are 1.5 - 2 in. long, with distinct dark, almost black bands. Its geographic range touches that of three other very similar subspecies. For comparisons with other subspecies, refer to those accounts.
Fan-footed Rock Gecko
Scientific Name: Ptyodactylus hasselquisti
Common Names: Fan-footed Rock Gecko
The bizarre fan-shaped toepads and long, spindly, almost frog-like hind legs give this gecko a startling appearance, particularly when it appears unexpectedly in a flashlight beam. This is a medium-large gecko, 6 in. (15cm) TL. Its name derives from the distinctive split, fan-like shape of their toepads, which extend beyond the claws. They are golden brown, gray, tan or pinkish in color, fading to lighter almost white at night. There are distinct dark bands on the tail and irregular bands on the body. A nocturnal species, they have large eyes with vertical pupils covered by a fixed transparent spectacle.
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.
Florida Reef Gecko
Scientific Name: Sphaerodactylus notatus notatus
Common Names: Florida Reef Gecko
Search closely through leaf litter and debris to find these secretive, matchstick-sized lizards. The Florida Reef Gecko is a tiny round-bodied gecko with relatively large, overlapping, and strongly keeled scales on the back. Perhaps the smallest lizard in the United States, it is only 2 - 2.25 in. (5.1 - 5.7 cm) TL. Its body and tail are covered with dark spots on a brown background. Females have three broad longitudinal dark stripes on the head, and may or may not have a pair of white, dark edged "eye spots" on the shoulder. The body is covered with large overlapping keeled scales.
Four- Clawed Gecko
Scientific Name: Gehyra mutilata
Common Names: Four-Clawed Gecko
When grasped roughly, this lizard tries to escape with a very alarming escape mechanism: twisting violently, tearing loose large patches of skin, startling the captor and loosening his grip. The damaged areas quickly heal. Its most distinctive feature is the absence or near-absence of a claw on the inner digit of its fore and hind feet. It has a stout body and a row of enlarged scales running along the underside of the tail. They are gray to grayish brown by day, fading to whitish when active at night. The head and body are speckled with light and dark spots. Very thin light lines ring the tail, and a dark-edged light line runs through the eyes. The Four Clawed gecko’s flattened tail is constricted at the base, giving it a carrot-like shape. The finely granular skin is somewhat translucent. Adults are between 3.4 - 4.5 in. (8.5 - 11.5 cm) TL. Hatchlings are just under 2 in. (4 - 5 cm) TL.
Giant Day Gecko
Scientific Name: Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis
Common Names: Giant Day Gecko
This brilliant green lizard has daubs and streaks of red to orange "war paint" on the head, neck and body. A few individuals may reach over 11 in. (28 cm) TL, but most adults are 8 - 9 in. (20 - 23 cm) long. Day geckos have expanded toepads, immoveable eyelids, and round pupils. Hatchlings, which are 2.5 in. (6.4 cm) TL, are usually a dull olive color, the bright green and orange of adults only appearing as the lizards grow.
Gold Dust Day Gecko
Scientific Name: Phelsuma laticauda laticauda
Common Names: Gold Dust Day Gecko
These dazzling lizards are one of the most spectacular of the day geckos, a group sometimes referred to as “living jewels.” They are a vivid green to yellowish green with a speckling of fine golden dots across the neck and shoulders. The eyelids are ringed with sky blue, and two or three rusty red lines run across the snout and top of the head. There are three parallel, elongated, pear-shaped red markings along the lower back. The brilliant blue and yellow colors splashed across the body are used as social signals. Adults are between 4 - 5.5 in. (10 - 14 cm) long (TL). Hatchlings, which resemble adults in coloration, are about are about 1.6 in. (4 cm) long and reach adult size in a year or less. Day geckos have expanded toepads, immoveable eyelids, and round pupils.
Scientific Name: Hemidactylus garnotii
Common Names: Indo-Pacific Gecko
The Indo-Pacific Gecko has a somewhat flattened tail with a single saw-tooth row of enlarged, spine-like scales along the lateral edge of the tail. This is the only species of house gecko with a lemony yellow to orange belly. By day, it is dark grayish brown with light and dark markings, which fades to a pale, almost translucent shade at night. Sometimes called the fox gecko, a reference to its relatively long thin snout, it has a gecko's usual expanded toepads and flattened head with huge lidless eyes. Adults are between 3.75 - 5.5 in. (10 - 14 cm) TL.
Indopacific Tree Gecko
Scientific Name: Hemiphyllodactylus typus
Common Names: Indopacific Tree Gecko
These tiny, secretive, insubstantial nocturnal wraiths are the smallest lizards found in Hawaii. Its slender, translucent body is covered in tiny granular scales, and lacks the warty tubercles and spines found on many other geckos. It has a relatively long thin body and proportionately short legs, but only reaches 2.2 - 3.5 in. (6 - 9 cm) TL. The Indopacific Tree Gecko’s most distinguishing characteristic is the rudimentary, clawless inner toe on the forefoot. The lizard’s color varies from almost white at night to light or dark gray or brown. Tiny white flecks and irregular black smudges are scattered along the back. There is a thin black line running from the snout through the eye and across the neck and shoulder. The underside of the tail is orange.
Scientific Name: Hemidactylus turcicus
Common Names: Mediterranean Gecko
By boats, trucks or planes, the Mediterranean Gecko is by far the most successful stowaway of all North American lizards. This is the most warty species of the four species of house geckos, its head, body, legs and tail covered with prominent tubercles. Adults may reach 5 in. (13 cm) TL. Like all house geckos they are rather flattened, with large heads, bulging eyes with vertical pupils and covered with an immoveable clear spectacle. It is usually darker brown or gray with darker spots by day than at night, when it may appear a ghostly white. Irregular dark markings across the head and back may disappear at night. The tail has dark bands, which are especially prominent in juveniles. The belly is white and somewhat translucent.
Scientific Name: Lepidodactylus lugubris complex
Common Names: Mourning Gecko
Once the most abundant and widespread gecko in the Hawaiian Islands, this short, slow-moving species seems to be losing ground to the more aggressive Common House Gecko. This small, rather stout gecko, only reaches 2.7 - 3.7 in. (7 -9.5 cm) TL. The skin on the back is satiny and lacks tubercles. There is a very characteristic dark line between eyes, with another extending from the tip of the snout through the eye and onto the neck. The back is covered with thin dark wavy chevron markings separating lighter patches. Hatchlings have more contrasting patterns and are less than 1.5 in. (3.5 cm) TL.
Orange-spotted Day Gecko
Scientific Name: Phelsuma guimbeaui
Common Names: Orange-spotted Day Gecko
In addition to the dazzling bright green body color and orange markings common to most day geckos, the Orange-spotted Day Gecko’s most distinguishing feature is a wash of powder blue color on the back of the neck and shoulders. A medium sized species, adults are between 5 - 7 in. (13 -18 cm) TL, and like all day geckos, it has expanded toepads, immoveable eyelids, and round pupils. The skin, which is covered with small, granular scales, is very delicate and easily torn. Hatchling Orange-spotted Day Geckos are 1.1 - 1.5 in. (29 - 33 mm) TL. Juveniles are gray with white spots, adult coloration developing as the lizards grow.
Peninsular Leaf-toed Gecko
Scientific Name: Phyllodactylus nocticolus
Common Names: Peninsular Leaf-toed Gecko
The Peninsular Leaf-toed Gecko is the only nocturnal, climbing gecko native to the continental United States. The Leaf-toed Gecko’s distinctive swollen toepads only cover the tips of the toes, and have a bilobed shape unlike those of other geckos found in North America. This is a typical gecko with large head, flattened body, enlarged toepads, and immoveable eyelids. A small species, it reaches 2 - 3.3 in. (5-8.4 cm) TL. Scales on the back are finely granular, with scattered larger keeled tubercles. Peninsular Leaf-toed Geckos are translucent pinkish, brown or gray in color with irregular dark brown markings above, and pale beneath.
Reticulated Banded Gecko
Scientific Name: Coleonyx reticulatus
Common Names: Reticulated Banded Gecko
This is a "banded gecko" that often loses its bands as it grows, leaving only scattered dark brown spots on a pinkish tan body. Like other banded geckos, Reticulated Geckos lack toepads and have moveable eyelids. They have enlarged wart-like tubercles or raised scales scattered among the tiny granular scales on the back. Juvenile Reticulated Geckos resemble juvenile Texas Banded Geckos, with dark brown cross bands separated by narrow light bands, but are larger, hatching at about 3.1 in. (8 cm) TL. They can reach 5.5 - 6.75 in. (14 - 17.2 cm) TL, up to a third larger than Texas Banded Geckos.
Scientific Name: Cyrtopodion scabrum
Common Names: Roughtail Gecko
Whereas many geckos have a delicate, insubstantial look, the Roughtail Gecko is a rather prickly looking lizard. Rows of prominent pointed keeled scales covering the tail, along with enlarged warty tubercles on the body. A medium- sized gecko, 3 - 4.6 in. TL (7.5 - 11.7 cm) with enlarged toepads and immoveable eyelids, it is sand colored above with small dark brown spots. The tail has dark rings. Hatchlings are about 1.6 - 2.4 in. TL (4.1 - 6 cm), and resemble adults in color and pattern.
San Diego Banded Gecko
Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus abbotti
Common Names: San Diego Banded Gecko
Banded Geckos prowl the night like tiny cats, twitching their tails as they stalk their insect prey. This gecko, up to 5 in. (12.7 cm) in. TL, has functional eyelids and slit, vertical pupils. Its toes have distinct claws but no expanded toepads. The bands across the body are dark brown, distinct, and equal to or narrower than the creamy spaces between. The back of the neck has a distinct light-colored collar mark, and there are no dark spots on the top of the head.
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.
Scientific Name: Gekko gecko
Common Names: Tokay Gecko
Tokay Geckos are known for the booming nocturnal "To-kay! To-kay!" bark that males use to proclaim territory. One of the most garishly colored lizards, they are pale bluish to greenish gray with extensive orange and white spots across the entire head, body and tail. They are built like bulldogs, with big broad heads and huge jaws. The granular skin is thickly covered with large bead-like tubercles. They are one of the largest and most distinctive species of gecko in the world. Adults reach 8 - 12 in. (10 - 31 cm) TL, occasionally as much as 14 in. (36 cm). Even at hatching, these geckos are already 3.5 - 4 in. (9 - 10 cm) long, adult size for many other species. Females are smaller, with narrower heads and duller coloration.
Tucson Banded Gecko
Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus bogerti
Common Names: Tucson Banded Gecko
While moving around at night, Tucson Banded Geckos are sometimes mistaken for scorpions, due to their habit of carrying their tail curled over the back. It has functional eyelids, vertically slit pupils, and toes with distinct claws but no expanded toepads. Its dark brown crossbands are indistinct, with lighter centers. They are the same width or thinner than the cream to tan lighter spaces between. The head and tail are spotted. They are up to 5 in. (12.7 cm) TL, of which up to half may be tail.
Utah Banded Gecko
Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus utahensis
Common Names: Utah Banded Gecko
When stalking prey, the Utah Banded Gecko waves its swollen tail like a prowling cat. This is a medium sized lizard up to 6 in. (15 cm) TL. It differs from most other geckos by having functional eyelids and thin clawed toes. Unlike other lizards within its range, its body is covered in fine granular scales. It has a pale pinkish or yellowish tan body with dark brown bands and markings. It closely resembles the Desert Banded Gecko, which is found to the south and west, but in the Utah Banded Gecko the dark body bands are wider than the light spaces between, and the dark bands usually lack light centers. Geckos from southern Nevada are intermediate between the Utah and Desert subspecies, and often cannot be readily distinguished. Young geckos are more distinctly banded than adults.
White-spotted Wall Gecko
Scientific Name: Tarentola annularis
Common Names: White-spotted Wall Gecko
This big husky gecko seems to wear a suit of armor, up to 6 in. (15 cm) TL. Rows of large, rough tubercular scales cover its back. Raised scales cover the limbs and whorls of raised scales sheath its tail. Its back is gray to tan in color with a distinctive group of four white spots on its shoulders. The belly is white and covered with shingle-like, round, slightly overlapping scales. It has enlarged, undivided toepads and large bulging eyes with a fixed transparent covering.
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.