Nonnatives - Mediterranean Gecko

Mediterranean Gecko - Hemidactylus turcicus

 

Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1910

Extirpated year:

Established status: Populations are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or more consecutive years.

Estimated Florida range: 52 counties  At least 10 years, 5 counties  Less than 10 years

Statewide trend: Declining

Threats to natives: None known.

Species Account: The native range of this species primarily encompasses coastal regions from western India and Somali around both sides of the Mediterranean Basin to Spain, Morocco, and the Canary Islands (Conant and Collins 1991), but it has been widely introduced. It may reach a total length of 12.7 cm (5 in) but is usually smaller. It has prominent tubercles on the head, body, legs, and tail. During the day, these geckos are brownish to gray colored with darker, irregular dorsal markings, but they lighten up to a light gray, pinkish ivory, or pasty white color at night and may lack markings. They are most often seen on the walls or ceilings of buildings at night, often feeding on insects around lights. The males can make weak, squeaking noises and are territorial (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). The Mediterranean gecko was once locally common in the Lower Florida Keys (Duellman and Schwartz 1958) but has been almost completely replaced by the tropical house gecko (Meshaka et al. 1994). In southern mainland Florida, the Mediterranean gecko has been mostly replaced by the tropical house gecko and Indo-Pacific gecko (Butterfield et al. 1993, Meshaka 1994, Meshaka et al. 1994a). The decline in distribution and abundance of the Mediterranean gecko in southern Florida may be due to competition with other recently established and rapidly dispersing geckos that are more fecund because of continuous reproduction, unlike the seasonal reproductive cycle of the Mediterranean gecko (Meshaka 1994a, Meshaka et al. 1994a, Meshaka 1995). The scattered and haphazard pattern of colonization is often associated with man-assisted transport along trucking routes (Davis 1974, Godley et al. 1981, Meshaka 1995).

Habitats: Central or core urban area, Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns

Region First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes
NORTH CENTRAL 1958?

 

At least 10 years (King 1958)
NORTHEAST 1977?

 

At least 10 years (Meylan 1977)
SOUTHWEST 1970?

 

At least 10 years (Brown and Hickman 1970)
SOUTH 1915

 

At least 10 years (Fowler 1915)
County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status   Notes
ALACHUA 1956

 

At least 10 years Gainesville (King 1958)
BAY 1993

 

Less than 10 years Panama City (Nelson and Carey 1993)
BRADFORD 2001

 

Less than 10 years Starke (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
BREVARD 1998

 

Less than 10 years Titusville (Criscione et al. 1998)
CITRUS 1999

 

Less than 10 years Inverness (Townsend et al. 2002)
CLAY 2001

 

Less than 10 years Keystone Heights (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
COLUMBIA 2001

 

Less than 10 years Ellisville (Townsend and Reppas 2001)
DADE 1966

 

At least 10 years Miami area (King and Krakauer 1966)
DUVAL 1970

 

At least 10 years Jacksonville (Meylan 1977)
ESCAMBIA 1993

 

Less than 10 years Pensacola (Nelson and Carey 1993); Santa Rosa Island (Jensen 1995)
FRANKLIN 1996

 

Less than 10 years Apalachicola (Means 1996b)
GLADES 1993

 

Less than 10 years Moore Haven (Meshaka 1995)
HENDRY ?

 

Less than 10 years Clewiston (Meshaka 1995)
HERNANDO 1995

 

Less than 10 years Weeki Wachee Gardens (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
HIGHLANDS 1993

 

Less than 10 years Lake Placid (Meshaka 1995)
HILLSBOROUGH 1970

 

At least 10 years Tampa (Brown and Hickman 1970)
INDIAN RIVER 1977

 

At least 10 years Winter Beach (Myers 1978b)
LEON 1988

 

At least 10 years Tallahassee (Means 1990)
LEVY 1993

 

At least 10 years Cedar Key (Means 1999, Townsend and Krysko 2003)
MARION 2001

 

At least 10 years Ocala (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
MONROE 1915

 

At least 10 years Key West (Fowler 1915); Miami (Barbour 1936)
OKALOOSA 1994

 

Less than 10 years Fort Walton Beach (Jensen 1995)
OKEECHOBEE ?

 

Less than 10 years Okeechobee (Meshaka 1995)
ORANGE 1983

 

At least 10 years Orlando (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
OSCEOLA 1993

 

Less than 10 years St. Cloud (Meshaka 1995)
PINELLAS 1971

 

At least 10 years St. Petersburg (McCoy 1971)
PUTNAM 1997

 

Less than 10 years Melrose (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
SAINT JOHNS 1993

 

Less than 10 years Madeira Heights (Wise 1993)
SAINT LUCIE 1977

 

At least 10 years Fort Pierce (Myers 1978a)
SARASOTA 1988

 

Not reported breeding
SEMINOLE 1981

 

At least 10 years Sanford (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
WAKULLA 2002

 

Less than 10 years Panacea (Johnson et al. 2002)

References

Barbour, T. 1936. Two introduced lizards in Miami, Florida. Copeia 1936:113.

Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999. A field guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. 278pp.

Brown, L. N., and G. C. Hickman. 1970. Occurrence of the Mediterranean gecko in the Tampa, Florida, area. Florida Naturalist 43:68.

Butterfield, B. P., B. Hauge, and W. E. Meshaka, Jr. 1993. The occurrence of Hemidactylus mabouia on the United States mainland. Herpetological Review 24:111-112.

Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to amphibians and reptiles of eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 450pp.

Criscione, C. D., N. J. Anderson, T. Campbell, and B. Quinn. 1998. Hemidactylus mabouia (tropical gecko). Herpetological Review 29:248.

Davis, W. K. 1974. The Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, in Texas. Journal of Herpetology 8:77-80.

Fowler, H. W. 1915. Cold-blooded vertebrates from Florida, the West Indies, Costa Rica, and eastern Brazil. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 67:244-269.

Godley, J. S., F. E. Lohrer, J. N. Layne, and J. Rossi. 1981. Distributional status of an introduced lizard in Florida: Anolis sagrei. Herpetological Review 12:84-86.

Jensen, J. B. 1995. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 26:45.

Johnson, S. A., W. J. Barichivich, and J. S. Staiger. 2002. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 33:322.

King, F. W. 1958. Observations on the ecology of a new population of the Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, in Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 21:317-318.

King, F. W., and T. Krakauer. 1966. The exotic herpetofauna of southeast Florida. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 29:144-154.

McCoy, C. J. 1971. Hemidactylus turcicus. Herpetological Review 3:89.

Means, D. B. 1990. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 21:96.

Means, D. B. 1996b. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 27:152.

Means, R. C. 1999. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 30:52.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr. 1994. Reproductive cycle of the Indo-Pacific gecko, Hemidactylus garnotii, in South Florida. Florida Scientist 57:6-9.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr. 1995. Reproductive cycle and colonization ability of the Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) in south-central Florida. Florida Scientist 58:10-15.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr., B. P. Butterfield, and B. Hauge. 1994. Hemidactylus frenatus established on the lower Florida Keys. Herpetological Review 25:127-128.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr., B. P. Butterfield, and B. Hauge. 1994. Hemidactylus mabouia as an established member of the Florida herpetofauna. Herpetological Review 25:80-81.

Meylan, P. A. 1977. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 8:39.

Myers, S. 1978a. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 9:62.

Myers, S. 1978b. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 9:107.

Nelson, D. H., and S. D. Carey. 1993. Range extension of the Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) along the northeastern Gulf Coast of the United States. Northeast Gulf Science 13:53-58.

Stejneger, L. 1922. Two geckos new to the fauna of the United States. Copeia 1922:56.

Townsend, J. H., and K. L. Krysko. 2003. The distribution of Hemidactylus (Sauria: Gekkonidae) in northern peninsular Florida. Florida Scientist 66:204-208.

Townsend, J. H., and A. T. Reppas. 2001. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 32:193.

Wise, M. 1993. Hemidactylus turcicus (Mediterranean gecko). Herpetological Review 24:109.

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