Nonnatives - Tropical House Gecko

Tropical House Gecko - Hemidactylus mabouia

 

Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1990

Extirpated year:

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

Estimated Florida range: 3 counties  At least 10 years, 12 counties  Less than 10 years

Statewide trend: Expanding

Tropical House Gecko
Photograph by Kevin M. Enge © 2003

Threats to natives: May prey on hatchling anoles (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

Species Account: This robust gecko is native to tropical Africa south of the Sahara. It may reach 12.7 cm (5 in) in length. Its daytime color varies from tan to gray or olive-brown with several darker, backward pointing, chevron-shaped dorsal markings. On light surfaces at night, these geckos may appear an unpatterned, ghostly white. This species is wary and easily frightened but may be observed at night clinging (often head down) on walls or tree trunks. It is commonly found under the loose bark of Australian pines and even under debris lying in relatively barren areas. Communal nests can be found under bark and inside of dead trees and fallen logs. Captured or fighting geckos emit squeaks (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). This species was first documented Florida on Crawl Key in 1990 (Lawson et al. 1991), but it probably occurred in Florida before this and was introduced at multiple sites in Miami and the Keys via the agriculture and foliage trade from Brazil and Puerto Rico (Meshaka et al. 1994a). This species is a possible ecomorph of the Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) and has apparently displaced it from much of the Keys and the southern mainland (Meshaka et al. 1994). Of Florida's 4 house gecko species, this one seems to be the most likely to be found far from human habitations and to be the most predaceous, sometimes feeding on small anoles and geckos (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

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

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status   Notes
BREVARD 1998

 

Less than 10 years Titusville (Criscione et al. 1998)
BROWARD 1992

 

Less than 10 years Pompano Beach (Butterfield et al. 1993)
CHARLOTTE 2001

 

Less than 10 years Burnt Store Road (Klowden 2002)
COLLIER 2001

 

Less than 10 years Port of the Islands (Blihovde and Owen 2002)
DADE 1990

 

At least 10 years South Miami (Butterfield et al. 1993)
GLADES 1994

 

Less than 10 years Palmdale (Meshaka et al. 1994b)
HENDRY 2003

 

Less than 10 years (Krysko et al., in press)
INDIAN RIVER 2003

 

Less than 10 years (Van Dyke 2004)
LEE 2000

 

At least 10 years Gasparilla Island (Townsend et al. 2002); North Ft. Myers (Klowden 2002)
MARTIN 2002

 

Less than 10 years Tequesta (Krysko et al., in press)
MONROE 1990

 

At least 10 years First documented on Crawl Key (Lawson et al. 1991) but established throughout the Keys (Meshaka et al. 1994a) and the Dry Tortugas (Meshaka and Moody 1996)
OKEECHOBEE 2003

 

Less than 10 years K. L. Krysko, Fla. Mus. Nat. Hist., Gainesville, personal communication)
ORANGE 1999

 

Less than 10 years Wekiwa Springs State Park (Butterfield et al. 2000)
OSCEOLA 2003

 

Less than 10 years Canoe Creek Service Plaza, Florida Turnpike (Krysko et al., in press)
PALM BEACH 2001

 

Less than 10 years Jupiter (Krysko et al., in press)

References

Blihovde, W. B., and R. D. Owen. 2002. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus mabouia (Amerafrican house gecko). Herpetological Review 33:224.

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.

Butterfield, B. P., I. Fox, J. Garner, K. Carter, and J. B. Hauge. 2000. Hemidactylus mabouia (tropical gecko). Herpetological Review 31:53.

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

Klowden, G. S. 2002. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus mabouia (Amerafrican house gecko). Herpetological Review 33:224.

Krysko, K. L., K. M. Enge, J. H. Townsend, E. M. Langan, S. A. Johnson, and T. S. Campell. In Press. New county records of amphibians and reptiles from Florida. Herpetological Review.

Krysko, K. L., K. M. Enge, J. H. Townsend, E. M. Langan, S. A. Johnson, and T. S. Campell. In Press. New county records of amphibians and reptiles from Florida. Herpetological Review.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr., and B. A. Moody. 1996. The Old World tropical house gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia) on the Dry Tortugas. Florida Scientist 59:115-117.

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.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr., B. P. Butterfield, and B. Hauge. 1994b. Hemidactylus mabouia (tropical house gecko). Herpetological Review 25:165.

Van Dyke, J. U. 2004. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus mabouia (Amerafrican house gecko). Herpetological Review 35:82.

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Wild Herps photo from Coral Gable

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