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.
Habitat and Range
The natural distribution of the White-spotted Wall Gecko includes Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa. It has been introduced to several scattered Florida locations in Lee and Miami-Dade counties. In 1999, it was reported as an escapee from a pet store in Tallahassee, where it has out competed Tokay Geckos on outside walls of the building. It is unclear whether this last introduction has resulted in an established population.
In Florida, these lizards are confined to the walls of buildings. They are pugnacious and will bite when grabbed. Very little is known about these populations. In North Africa, the species produces several clutches of 2 or occasionally 1 egg. Their squeaks can occasionally be heard, and they will squeak when grabbed. They prey on insects and even smaller lizards, including Flat-tailed and Common House Geckos.
The two species of Wall geckos are very similar, both heavily covered with tubercles, and have overlapping ventral scales. Two pairs of white spots on the shoulders distinguish this species from the Common Wall Gecko. Wall geckos lack the Flat-tailed House Gecko’s loose skin flaps and the Fan-footed Rock Gecko’s distinctive, fan-shaped pads. Wall geckos have undivided toepads, whereas the four species of house geckos have divided pads. Bibron’s Thick-toed Gecko lacks the pairs of white shoulder spots.
Conservation & Other Threats
This species' presence in Florida is due to escapes or deliberate releases. As a large predatory species, it has the potential to harm native lizard or frog populations, if it expands its range outside its urban environs.
This species profile relies heavily on: Bartlett & Bartlett 1999; Meshaka et al. 2004; Schleich et al. 1996; http://wld.fwc.state.fl.us/critters/exotics/SpeciesNumberResults.asp?SPPNO=15; (K. Enge, FFWCC, Quincy, Florida, pers. obs.)