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.
Habitat and Range
This gecko is found farther north than any other North American species, into the cool, temperate climate of extreme southwestern Utah, southern Nevada, and northwestern Arizona. In Utah, it is found among creosote bush in rocky areas near streams or watercourses.
This subspecies spends the winter months in hibernation, and is active during daylight hours more than other banded geckos. Fat stores in their thick, fleshy tails support them through the winter. When inactive, Utah Banded Geckos sometimes take shelter in desert tortoise burrows, or under rocks, debris, in crevices or underground. Like other banded geckos, they feed on insects and other arthropods. Females lay pairs of eggs in spring.
Among geckos from the western United States, only banded geckos have eyelids and lack toepads. The species and subspecies of banded geckos are very similar and identifying them can be difficult. Pay close attention to location and use the key to confirm the identification.
Conservation & Other Threats
The Utah banded gecko is protected as a Sensitive Species in Utah. Collection, importation or possession without a permit in Utah is illegal. It is threatened by urban development and habitat degradation by recreational activities and grazing.
This species profile relies heavily on: Dixon 1970d; Stebbins 2003