Nonnatives - Yellowhead Gecko

Yellowhead Gecko - Gonatodes albogularis fuscus


Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1939

Extirpated year:

Established status: Species have populations whose status is unknown.

Estimated Florida range: 2 counties  At least 10 years, 1 county  Not reported breeding

Statewide trend: Declining

Threats to natives: None known.

Species Account: This native of the West Indies and Latin America was introduced in the Miami area and on the Keys, but it has become increasingly uncommon. A large population in Coconut Grove, Dade County, appears to have been extirpated, and populations on Key West and Stock Island appear to be smaller (Bartlett and Bartlett 1994). According to Wilson and Porras (1983), populations were once abundant on Key West but none had been reported since 1971. However, specimens were found on a large, vacant lot along U.S. Highway 1 as late as 1990 (Lawson et al. 1991). Recent searches at this locality and others on Key West have not found any individuals of this species (K. L. Krysko, Fla. Mus. Nat. History, Gainesville, personal communication). Adults are only ca. 8 cm (3.25 in) total length. Males are dark-bodied with a yellow head, whereas the smaller females are grayish with a lighter collar. Males have a dark shoulder spot and sometimes have a yellow tail with a white tip, if unregenerated. This species has round pupils and no toepads. These extremely wary lizards are often seen hanging from the underside of low, large, rough-barked limbs or are found in rock and rubble piles and behind exfoliating tree bark (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

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

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes 
DADE 1965 ? At least 10 years Coconut Grove (King and Krakauer 1966), but the population has apparently been extirpated (Bartlett and Bartlett 1994)
MONROE 1939 ? At least 10 years Reported from Stock Island and Key West (Carr 1939), but populations may have been extirpated
SAINT LUCIE ? ? Not reported breeding FMNH specimen


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

Carr, A. F., Jr. 1939. A geckonid lizard new to the fauna of the United States. Copeia 1939:232.

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

Lawson, R., P. G. Frank, and D. L. Martin. 1991. A gecko new to the United States herpetofauna, with notes on geckoes of the Florida Keys. Herpetological Review 22:11-12.

Wilson, L. D., and L. Porras. 1983. The ecological impact of man on the south Florida herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Special Publication No. 9. 89pp.

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