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.
Habitat and Range
The Tucson Banded Gecko is found in southeastern Arizona and extreme southwestern New Mexico. Its range extends across the border into extreme northern Sonora, Mexico. They are found in arid habitats, in canyons and around rocky outcrops as well as more sandy areas.
They do not climb as well as other geckos furnished with clinging toepads, but hunt beetles, spiders and other arthropods by searching on the ground at night. In spring, females lay several clutches of two eggs. They squeak softly when disturbed. Banded geckos have lived over 15 years in captivity. Their water requirements can be met by moisture in food. Banded geckos can detect potential snake predators by scent.
To the west, the Tucson Banded Gecko's range merges with the closely related and very similar Desert Banded Gecko. The only consistent difference between them is that male Tucson Banded Geckos usually have 8 or more pre-anal pores, whereas Desert Banded Geckos have 7 or less (Males can be identified by prominent spurs on each side of the base of the tail.). The Reticulated Gecko has enlarged tubercles scattered among granular scales on its neck and sides. It is found in southeastern New Mexico and western Texas.
Conservation & Other Threats
Exploding human populations across much of the southwest encroach into the habitat of not only banded geckos, but other desert animals as well. Banded geckos are sometimes mistaken for baby venomous Gila Monsters, but even at hatching Gila Monsters are larger than banded geckos, and have pebbly scales, unlike the fine granular skin of banded geckos.
This species profile relies heavily on: Dixon 1970d; Stebbins 2003; Williamson et al. 1994