Nonnatives - Indo-Pacific Gecko

Indo-Pacific Gecko - Hemidactylus garnotii

 

Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1963

Extirpated year:

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

Estimated Florida range: 30 counties  At least 10 years, 7 counties  Less than 10 years

Statewide trend: Unknown status

Indo-Pacific Gecko
Photograph by Kevin M. Enge © 2003

Threats to natives: None known.

Species Account: This gecko is native to southeastern Asia, the East Indies, and many South Sea Islands (Conant and Collins 1991). It is widely distributed in many urban and suburban areas of Florida, and it can even be found in natural habitats, such as mangrove forests (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999), sand pine scrub, and pine rocklands (K. M. Enge, FFWCC, Quincy, personal observation). It is often found on buildings, trees, fences, wooden and cement power poles, and bridge abutments. Of the 7 introduced gecko species in Florida, this one has the widest distribution in Florida (Conant and Collins 1991). This species is expanding its range rapidly and has apparently replaced the long-established Mediterranean gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) in much of southern Florida (Meshaka 1995, Butterfield et al. 1997). A major cause of its rapid geographic expansion is thought to be parthenogenesis, which means it is an all-female species (Kluge and Eckardt 1969, Wilson and Porras 1983). However, the tropical house gecko (H. mabouia), a more recent arrival, is apparently out competing the Indo-Pacific gecko on buildings in some areas (Meshaka 2000). This gecko may be dispersed in shipments of cultivated palm trees (Meshaka 1996). Adults attain a total length of 13 cm (5 in). Although the population consists entirely of females, courtship is indulged in and may be necessary to stimulate egg development. The ground color is a dark grayish-brown during the day and a translucent flesh-white at night. Darker or lighter spots may be present, especially on the tail, which appears vaguely flanged The belly is yellowish, and the underside of the tail is orange, which differentiates it from other geckos in Florida. This species emits faint squeaking sounds (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

Habitats: Central or core urban area, Coastal upland, Estuarine community, Exotic plant community, Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns, Rockland Hammock, Pine Rockland, Flatwoods, Xeric Uplands

Region First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes 
SOUTHWEST 1972?

 

At least 10 years (McCoy 1972)
SOUTH 1963

 

At least 10 years (King and Krakauer 1966)

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status     Notes
ALACHUA 1993

 

At least 10 years Gainesville (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
BAKER 1994

 

Less than 10 years Maclenny (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
BRADFORD 2001

 

Less than 10 years Hampton (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
BREVARD 1978

 

At least 10 years Floridana Beach (Myers 1979)
CHARLOTTE 2000

 

Less than 10 years Gasparilla Island (Townsend et al. 2002)
CITRUS 1991

 

At least 10 years Near Inverness (Stevenson and Crowe 1992)
COLLIER 1980

 

At least 10 years Naples (Mitchell and Hadley 1980)
DADE 1963

 

At least 10 years Miami (King and Krakauer 1966)
FLAGLER 2001

 

Less than 10 years The Whitney Laboratory (Lindsay and Townsend 2001)
HARDEE 1998

 

Less than 10 years (Christman et al. 2000)
HERNANDO 1995

 

Less than 10 years Hernando Beach (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
HIGHLANDS 1981

 

At least 10 years Lake Placid (Meshaka 1995)
INDIAN RIVER 1976

 

At least 10 years Wabasso Beach (Myers 1978c)
LEE 1972

 

At least 10 years Sanibel Island (McCoy 1972)
LEVY 1993

 

At least 10 years Cedar Key (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
MARTIN 1977

 

At least 10 years Hobe Sound (Myers 1978c)
MONROE 1981

 

At least 10 years Dry Tortugas (Steiner and McLamb 1982)
ORANGE 1983

 

At least 10 years Union Park (Smith 1983)
PINELLAS 1993

 

Less than 10 years Largo (Crawford and Somma 1993a)
PUTNAM 1991

 

At least 10 years Palatka (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
SAINT JOHNS 1988

 

At least 10 years Anastasia Island (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
SARASOTA 1983

 

Not reported breeding Anastasia Island (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
SEMINOLE 1980

 

At least 10 years WDW Environmental Protection Lab (Townsend and Krysko 2003)
VOLUSIA 1998

 

Less than 10 years South Daytona (Reppas 1999)
SUWANNEE 2004

 

Less than 10 years Live Oak (Townsend and Lindsay 2004)
MARION 2003

 

Less than 10 years Ocala (Johnston and Johnston 2004)

References

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

Butterfield, B. P., W. E. Meshaka, Jr., and C. Guyer. 1997. Nonindigenous amphibians and reptiles. Pages 123-138 in D. Simberloff, D. C. Schmitz, and T. C. Brown, editors. Strangers in paradise. Impact and management of nonindigenous species in Florida. Island Press, Covelo, California.

Christman, S. P., C. A. Young, S. Gonzalez, K. Hill, G. Navratil, and P. Delis. 2000. New records of amphibians and reptiles from Hardee County, Florida. Herpetological Review 31:116-117.

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.

Crawford, D. M., and L. A. Somma. 1993a. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus garnotii (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 24:108-109.

Johnston, G. R., and J. C. Johnston. 2004. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus garnotii (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 35:187.

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

Kluge, A. G., and M. J. Eckardt. 1969. Hemidactylus garnotii Dumeril and Bibron, a triploid all-female species of geckonid lizard. Copeia 1969:651-664.

Lindsay, C. R., and J. H. Townsend. 2001. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus garnotii (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 32:193.

McCoy, C. J. 1972. Hemidactylus garnotii. Herpetological Review 4:23.

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

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. 1996. Vagility and the Florida distribution of the Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis). Herpetological Review 27:37-40.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr. 2000. Colonization dynamics of two exotic geckos (Hemidactylus garnotii and H. mabouia) in Everglades National Park. Journal of Herpetology 34:163-168.

Mitchell, J. C., and W. B. Hadley. 1980. Hemidactylus garnoti (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 11:80.

Myers, S. 1978c. Hemidactylus garnoti (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 9:107.

Myers, S. 1979. Hemidactylus garnoti (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 10:102-103.

Reppas, A. T. 1999. Hemidactylus garnotii (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 30:110.

Smith, R. E. 1983. Hemidactylus garnoti (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 14:84.

Steiner, T. M., and L. T. McLamb. 1982. Hemidactylus garnoti (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 13:25.

Stevenson, D., and D. Crowe. 1992. Hemidactylus garnoti (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 23:90.

Townsend, J. H., and C. R. Lindsay. 2004. Geographic distribution: Hemidactylus garnotii (Indo-Pacific gecko). Herpetological Review 35:287.

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.

Links to more information

Wild herps photo from Key Biscayne

Back to Nonnative Reptiles



FWC Facts:
It is against the law to damage seagrass beds in some areas within state waters. Fines are based on the economic & environmental importance & costs of assessing, repairing damage.

Learn More at AskFWC