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.
Habitat and Range
The San Diego Banded Gecko is found in southwestern California just inland from the Pacific coast, from Ventura County south into northwestern and central Baja California. It is found in coastal scrub chaparral and desert scrub habitats, preferring granite or rocky outcrops within these habitats.
Banded geckos hunt at night by moving slowly across the ground with frequent pauses, constantly licking the ground and objects for chemical cues. In this way they locate beetles, spiders and other arthropod food items. They sometimes squeak when disturbed. Females lay several clutches of two eggs, usually underneath rocks or other cover. Banded geckos consume their own skin after shedding it.
The San Diego Banded Gecko is found in close proximity to two other banded geckos, the Desert Banded Gecko and Barefoot Gecko. Barefoot Gecko has enlarged tubercles scattered across its neck and sides. The very similar Desert Banded Gecko has a spotted head and lacks a distinct light-colored collar mark, although San Diego Banded Geckos from Riverside and San Bernardino Counties may have spots on their head and their dorsal bands may be more spotted and wider than usual. The native Peninsular Leaf-toed Gecko and introduced Stump-toed Gecko, Mediterranean Gecko, or Common Wall Gecko all have expanded toepads and lack moveable eyelids.
Conservation & Other Threats
Explosive urban growth in southern California threatens San Diego Banded Gecko habitat.
This species profile relies heavily on: Dixon 1970d; Stebbins 2003