Nonnatives - Ocellated Gecko

Ocellated Gecko - Sphaerodactylus argus argus


Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1944

Extirpated year:

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

Estimated Florida range: 1 county  At least 10 years

Statewide trend: Declining

Ocellated Gecko
Photograph by Bill Love/Blue Chameleon Ventures © 2003

Threats to natives: None known.

Species Account: This species is native to Jamaica and the south coast of Cuba (Conanat and Collins 1991). It was probably accidentally introduced in commerce in Florida, and was always apparently restricted to Key West and possibly Stock Island (Wilson and Porras 1983; however, see Krysko and King 2002). This small gecko (6 cm or 2.5 in) can climb but prefers terrestrial situations, where it hides among leaf litter and under ground debris. It has several pairs of light, eyelike spots with dark edges on the nape and shoulder; these spots may be fused into longitudinal stripes on the brown or olive-brown body. The tail is brown or reddish. According to Bartlett and Bartlett (1999), only 1 or 2 specimens per decade have been observed recently, and its status is presently questionable (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Duellman and Schwartz (1958) thought that the Key West colony was extinct, but specimens were found on the western end of the island near the aquarium in 1964 (King and Krakauer 1966), and 1 specimen was found in 1978 (Love 1978). Krysko and King (2002) concluded that this species has been extirpated from Florida, but 2 specimens were found in 2004 (K. L. Krysko, FLMNH, Gainesville, personal communication).

Habitats: Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns, Rockland Hammock

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes


At least 10 years Key West (Savage 1954); no verified specimens had been collected since 1978 (Krysko and King 2002) until 2 were collected in 2004 by K. L. Krysko (personal communication).


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

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

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

Krysko, K. L., and F. W. King. 2003. The ocellated gecko, Sphaerodactylus argus argus, in the Florida Keys: an apparent case of an extirpated non-native species. Caribbean Journal of Science 38:139-140.

Savage, J. M. 1954. Notulae herpetologicae 1-7. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 57:326-334.

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