An adult Mediterranean House Gecko from Harvey County, Kansas. © Travis W. Taggart.
An adult Mediterranean House Gecko fro Harvey County, Kansas. Image © Travis Taggart.
An adult Mediterranean House Gecko from the Emporia, KS Wal-Mart. Image © Kyra Yeet Hailey.
A juvenile Mediterranean House Gecko from Sedgwick County. © Tyler Seneff.
An adult from Johnson County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
An adult from Johnson County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A juvenile Mediterranean House Gecko from Saline County. © Diane Mehler.
An adult Mediterranean House Gecko observed outside a private residence in Dodge City, Ford, County. Image © Walt Ginn.
A juvenile Mediterranean House Gecko from Nemaha County, Kansas. Image © Natasha Meyer.
A juvenile Mediterranean House Gecko from Wyandotte County. © Jason Kintner.
An adult from Johnson County. Image © Andrew Hare
REPTILIA (Reptiles) SQUAMATA (PART) (Other Lizards) GEKKONIDAE (Geckos)

Mediterranean House Gecko
Hemidactylus turcicus (Linnaeus 1758)
hĭm-ē-dăk-tĭl-ŭs —tŭr-sĭ-kŭs


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: SNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None
Diagnosis:
Unlike our native Kansas lizards, Mediterranean House Geckos have sticky toe pads, vertical pupils, and lack eyelids. Their ground color is light gray to tan and their skin is bumpy. Their head, back, and legs are irregularly covered with small cream to dark brown spots. The spots may form bands across the back. The tail has several dark brown bands that become more distinct toward the tip. The belly is translucent and unmarked.
Adults normally 75-110 mm (4-4¾ inches) in total length. The largest specimen from Kansas is a female (FHSM 12335) from Johnson County with a snout-vent length of 56 mm and a total length of 115 mm (4­9⁄16 inches) collected by Travis W. Taggart, Dan Murrow, and Chad Whitney on 16 June 2006. The maximum length throughout the range is 127 mm (5 inches) (Powell et al., 2016).

Distribution:
In Kansas, this lizard is known from urban areas in Johnson, Lyon, Harvey, Saline, Douglas, and Sedgwick counties. They have been collected during warm weather around warehouses and hotels. They are likely undetected from many additional localities.
As its name implies, the Mediterranean House Gecko is an old-world species, found in southern Europe and northern Africa. It has been introduced in many areas worldwide and has spread throughout most of the southeastern United States. In almost all areas (except west Texas), this species is associated with human development, and it is seldom found far from buildings.
A single specimen was found in a load of materials delivered to Wyandotte County on 7 May 2020 (Jason Kintner, pers. comm.).
(,   Museum Voucher) (,   Observation) (,   Literature Record) (,   iNat Record), (  Fossil)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details.
Full range depicted by light shaded red area. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 60
    Records 
  • 47
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 13
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Butler (1); Crawford (2); Douglas (1); Ford (1); Harvey (8); Johnson (28); Lyon (3); Nemaha (1); Reno (2); Saline (2); Sedgwick (7); Shawnee (1); Sumner (2); Wyandotte (1);

Natural History:
Almost completely nocturnal. Their toe pads allow them to climb walls, where they often perch around outside lights. There they wait to grab small invertebrates. They hide in crevices or behind shutters, moldings, and lights during the day. Females lay several clutches of two white spherical eggs throughout the summer. Currently known only from commercial buildings (most often hotels and distributors) in El Dorado, Emporia, Lenexa, Wichita, Salina, and Newton in Kansas, but they are undoubtedly more widespread.
Female Mediterranean House Geckos lay several clutches of two eggs throughout the summer. Instances of communal nesting have been reported, with several females laying their eggs together under bark, in crevices, or in moist soil.
Females are easily identified in spring and summer by white eggs that can be seen through the translucent skin of the abdomen.

Occurrence Activity:
Number of Unique Obervations (=days): 28; Range: 06 Apr to 07 Dec
Remarks:
The Mediterranean Gecko was first observed in Kansas by Andrew and Brad Hare on 26 May 2006 (Hare 2006) in Johnson County.  The specimen (Sternberg Museum of Natural History [FHSM 12369]) collected by Hare (op. cit.) is the earliest existing from Kansas. The species was subsequently discovered in Douglas (2009), Harvey (2013), Butler (2014), Lyon (2014), Ford (2017), Reno (2017), Saline (2017), Sedgwick (2017), Sumner (2019), Crawford (2020), Nemaha (2020), and Wyandotte (2020) counties.
This species' adaptability has made it a very successful invader. They are transported as eggs or hatched individuals to new areas where they may become established. First reported from south Florida they are now extensively distributed from South Carolina through west Texas and south into Mexico. They are more localized to the north and west. Specimens have been reported as far north as Omaha (NE), Des Moines (IA), Chicago (IL), Toledo (OH), Pittsburg (PA), and Albany (NY).
Mediterranean Geckos are capable of losing their tails to a predator. A new tail will grow back but is discolored (may be darker or lighter), often lack tubercles, and may be appreciably shorter than the original.
Males were significantly larger in head size and weight at a given snout-vent-length.

Bibliography:
1928 Ortenburger, Arthur I. The whip snakes and racers: Genera Masticophis and Coluber. Memiors of the University of Michigan Museum (1):1-247
1970 McCoy, Clarence J., Jr. Hemidactylus turcicus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (87):1-2
1984 Secor, Stephen M. and Charles C. Carpenter. Distribution maps of Oklahoma reptiles. Oklahoma Herpetological Society Special Publication (3):1-57
1998 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians & Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 131pp.
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2006 Hare, Andrew. Exotic lizard discovered in Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (19):9
2007 Jadin, Robert C. and J. L. Coleman. New county records of the Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) in northeastern Texas, with comments on range expansion. Applied Herpetology 4():90-94
2007 Byers, Michael, Don S. Sias, and James N. Stuart. The introduced Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) in north-central New Mexico. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 42(2):18-19
2009 Kraus, Fred. Alien Reptiles and Amphibians: A Scientific Compendium and Analysis. SpringerVerlag, Heidelberg, Germany. 563pp.
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
Joseph T. Collins fourth Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1993)>
2010 Collins, Joseph T. and James E. Gubanyi. History and distribution of the Western Green Lacerta, Lacerta bilineta (Reptilia: Squamata: Lacertidae) in Topeka, Kansa. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (34):8-9
2012 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. Key to the Herpetofauna of the Continental United States and Canada: Second Edition, Revised and Updated. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 152pp.
2015 Taggart, Travis W. Summer Field Trip In The Harvey County Sandhills. Collinsorum 4(3):3
2015 White, Jared W. and Michael S. Husak. New county records and range expansion of the Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) in southwestern Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist 60(1):99-101
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2017 Crother, Brian I. (editor) Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding. Eighth edition. Herpetological Circulars (43):102
2019 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. Key to the Herpetofauna of the Continental United States and Canada. Third Edition. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 192pp.
2020 Daniel, Richard E. and Brian S. Edmond. Atlas of Missouri Amphibians and Reptiles for 2019. Privately printed, Columbia, Missouri. 86pp.
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Conservation conversations: The lost, misplaced, and the adventurous. Kansas Wildlife and Parks Magazine July-August():15
2021 Taggart, Jesse J. and Travis W. Taggart. Herp Count: Harvey County: KHS-2020-29. Collinsorum 9(3):16
2022 Meshaka, Walter E. Jr., R. Bruce Bury, Suzanne L. Collins, and Malcolm L. McCallum. Exotic Amphibians and Reptiles of the United States. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. 245pp.
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Travis W. Taggart © 1999-2024 — w/ Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University