everyone thinks about is that there are two kinds - the native house
and the introduced Asian
by codiferous via Flickr.com
Some of the most amazing geckos are leaf tailed geckoes. They are
of camouflage on tree barks, and they are some of the few kinds that
live in rainforest. In north Queensland, we have at least four - Phyllurus isis,Phyllurus ossa,Phyllurus nepthys;
and Saltuarius cornutus
by Arthur Chapman via Flickr.com
geckos also look great with their patterns, and they live in dry forest
and woodland. We have Oedura
of Cape York to Mareeba), Oedura coggeri
(Palmer River, Lockhart River), and Oedura rhombifer
(Mount Cook in
the north to Mackay in the south).
by ntenny via Flickr.com
Mourning gecko lizards can be similar to house geckoes but they have a
distinctive w-shaped pattern with darker flecks on their cream body.
They live in open woodland, mangrove
swamps, and also urban areas, from Torres Strait Islands
in the north to Bowen and Heron Island in the south.
By _Nathan_Johnson via Flickr.com
pretty one is
Bynoe's Gecko, with a brown to grey body and pale and dark flecks, in a
broken band pattern. It lives in open forest and tropical woodland, and
in Queensland it is found from Cooktown
in the north to Mackay in the south, and it is also found in other
states in Australia.
by berniedup via Flickr.com
Ring tailed gecko lizards belong to Cyrtodactylus
family and they have beautiful dark bands all across their pale body
and long, slender tail. They live in rainforest and open forest, and
they are found in north Queensland, from McIlwraith Ranges in the north
to Mount Molloy in the
gecko lizards live in tropical northern Australia.
live in northern
Australia then the word 'gecko' immediately brings to mind the species you can see at home,
even though there are many other species of geckos in Australia.
House geckos are cute to
but they can also become annoyingly numerous and are often regarded as
However, there is one species whose damage goes beyond households, and unfortunately
very common one. There are
at least 60
geckos in Australia.
live in people's houses, and only one is introduced - all the rest are
What Are House Geckoes?
house geckos have cleverly adapted
the life in people's houses,
where they have some great advantages for survival.
Obviously, human dwellings provide them some pretty good shelter
which makes it
easier to hide from predators than by just laying under a log.
The main food of geckos
Particular favourites are moths, mosquitoes and cockroaches but they
eat any insects and spiders that they can get.
People's houses attract
and provide great opportunities to catch them.
As soon as you turn on a ceiling light, there will be insects attracted
and there will be geckos catching the insects in your
The most common one you
unfortunately the only introduced
species - Asian
It was accidentally
from Asia, and it has been so successful that it has taken over the
niche from native house
There are a few different native ones, the one that we have in Cape
York and Queensland is dubious
a few different native house geckos in Australia.
also at least
one in the Kimberleys, but the one we have in north eastern Australia
and Cape York peninsula, is the Eastern or dubious
It's a beautiful little gecko that is seen less and less since the
infamous Asian species is increasingly moving into its niche.
It has made the native geckos move out of the houses and back into trees. The
native ones are more brownish
while the introduced species is rather pink,
but there are several other clues to distinguish the two.
Queensland's native species, Dubious
dtella (Gehyra dubia),
without tail is about 6cm, and with the tail about 14cm.
On its brownish grey surface it has a darker mottling pattern with lighter
sometimes form lines
back or between the eyes and the neck of the animal.
Like other geckos, it has eyes with vertical pupils and no eye-lids.
Like many other geckos, it also has the ability to drop its tail when
As opposed to the Asian
that has spines along the tail, the native one has a smooth skin with no spines.
Another difference is that it has no
claws on inner toes while the Asian species has claws on
Behaviour of the Native House
native house gecko changes
its colour a bit and tends
to be lighter and lose its pattern when foraging.
But there is an unmistakeable difference - the loudchuck-chuck-chuck
call of the Asian
Asian relatives, the native ones are agile
geckos, quick to move, and they eat insects of all kinds that they can
catch and swallow.
They breed and lay their eggs during the Wet Season.
native species, Dubious dtella (Gehyra
dubia), By Arthur Chapman via Flickr.com.
Habitat and Range
They are found in north
Australia in almost all of Queensland (throughout the
Barrier Reef, Cape York and Torres
Strait), and in northern New South Wales. They are also found
Papua New Guinea.
They do live in houses
can, but as the Asian House Gecko is overtaking their niche, they are
often found outside, in forests, woodlands and rocky outcrops.
They live in shrubs and trees, and hide under loose bark. They prefer dry habitat.
house gecko is now a common gecko in our homes.
know them if you
ever lived or stayed for long enough in northern Australia.
Their chuck-chuck-chuck call
is so familiar, you can hear it inside houses, and it's loud enough
that you can also hear it outside, in people's yards, in trees,
They are cute
and they are fun to watch
as they chase insects
on your balcony.
However, there is one
thing - they
don't belong here.
As their name says, they are not from Australia, and there are native
house geckoes that they compete with about the niche.
As most introduced animals, they are doing a good job - it's the Asian
species you see most often, not the native
Appearance of the Asian House
or Common House Gecko,
is about 10cm long, and has a grey to pale pink body, with some mottled
darker patterning on the upper side, and a paler underbelly.
It can change its colour to a certain extent, and tends to be darker
during the day and paler during the night.
Unlike the native house gecko it
spines along the tail and lower back.
It also has claws on all
of its toes
while the native Dtella does not have any on the inner toes.
Behaviour and Habitat
But the most obvious difference is its chuck-chuck-chuck call, which is
It is seen in and around buildings
and homes, where it is chasing insects which is its main
It also eats spiders and even other, small lizards, but it does go eating scraps
too if you
have an open bin or forget something on the kitchen table!
They live about five years.
Distribution in Australia
name says, the gecko
is native to Asia, and has been accidentally introduced to tropical and subtropical areas of
it was first seen
in Darwin in the 1960s, and then in far north Queensland in the 1970s
and Brisbane in the 1980s. It has now also spread to New South Wales
and Western Australia.
Impact of the Asian House Gecko
species, it has been very
- it is the most
introduced reptile in Australia.
It is spreading south and also from urban (where it was most common for
starters) to rural areas.
It is competing about
food and habitat
with the native house gecko, which it has already widely outcompeted
from its habitat.
Being so successful and efficient predators, they are also known to
kill baby huntsman spiders, thereby also affecting the populations of
the natural predators of huntsmans, and the whole food chain.
Like always with introduced species, accidentally or not, they put the
ecosystem out of balance. Like with many other introduced species
including cane toads, getting rid of them is impossible.
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