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.
Habitat and Range
The Indo-Pacific Gecko is known from southern Florida from the keys to Lake Okeechobee, north along the east coast, and from a few scattered locations in northern Florida and the panhandle. The expansion of this species range across Florida is by hitchhiking along with nursery stock and building materials. The lizard probably arrived in Hawaii as a stowaway in the canoes of early Polynesians. It is known from all the large and small Hawaiian Islands. This species is found from India east through Southeast Asia, northern Australia, the Phillipines, and across Polynesia. There is a record of this species from the grounds of the Dallas Zoo.
Like Mourning Geckos and Tree Geckos from Hawaii, this species is parthenogenic. The all-female population lays pairs of fertile eggs without fertilization by males. Hatchlings resemble adults, and are less than 2 in. (5 cm) TL. Like other house geckos, Indo-Pacific Geckos are nocturnal climbers that feed on insects. They can be found by day in the leaf axils of palms, under loose tree bark and in crevices of houses and other buildings. Cuban Treefrogs (Osteopilus septentrionalis) prey on juvenile Indo-Pacific Geckos, even reducing the size of populations in some instances.
The Indo-Pacific Gecko may have small tubercles restricted to its dorsum or dorso-lateral rows, and the Common House Gecko has only small or no tubercles, whereas the Amerafrican House Gecko and Mediterranean Gecko have enlarged tubercles across the back. In the Amerafrican House Gecko, the toepads of the fourth toe do not extend to the base of the toe, whereas in the Mediterranean Gecko, these pads reach to the base of the toe. In the Indo-Pacific Gecko, spines are only found along the sawtooth edges of the tail, however in the Common House Gecko, rows of enlarged spines encircle the tail. Only the last two species are known from Hawaii, however all four species of House Geckos (genus Hemidactylus) have been reported from Florida. The Mediterranean Gecko is the only House Gecko species known outside of Florida, Hawaii or Texas.
Conservation & Other Threats
In Florida, the Indo-Pacific Gecko is still expanding its range. Although still known from most Hawaiian habitats, from dry coastal areas to wet inland forests, it is gone from urban areas, apparently replaced by Common House Geckos, an aggressive newcomer.
This species profile relies heavily on: Bartlett & Bartlett 1999; Conant et al. 1998; Franklin 1996; McKeown 1996; Meshaka et al. 2004