Last updated 8 February 2008: updated entry for G. mutilata.

A look at the

Subfamily GEKKO - Typical Geckos



A genus of 34 species, located mainly in the Indo-Pacific and SE Asia regions, with several species found in Australia. They are found as far west as Madagascar and have been introduced into Mexico. Gehyra species have toepads and powerful claws. Like some other geckos they also have a tendency to drop strips of skin if handled carelessly, so physical contact should be kept to a bare minimum. Many seem to be at home amongst humans, rather like some Hemidactylus species and certain other geckos.

Cogger gives the following characteristics for the genus: rostral and mental shields rounded: labials much larger than adjacent scales: postmentals enlarged. Digits moderately long and depressed, and greatly expanded distally to form large subcircular pads: apical subdigital lamellae not enlarged but continuous with a series of single, notched or divided, long narrow transverse lamellae extending across the full width of the pad: digits lay flat on substrate when viewed laterally: all digits clawed except for innermost one on each foot, with the claws free and arising from the upper surface of the digit well within the border of the expanded pad. Preanal pores present.

Gehyra species have not found much of a following among keepers, at least in the UK. This is a pity as some of the species are very attractive, nor are they particularly delicate as long as they are not overly handled.

G. angusticaudata G. australis, Australian House Gecko/Northern Dtella G. baliola
G. barea G. borroloola G. brevipalmata
G. butleri G. catenata G. dubia, Dubious Dtella
G. fehlmanni G. fenestra G. intermedia
G. interstitialis G. kimberleyi G. lacerata
G. lampei G. leopoldi G. marginata
G. membranacruralis G. minuta G. montium
G. mutilata, Pacific Gecko G. nana G. occidentalis
G. oceanica G. pamela G. papuana
G. pilbara, Pilbara Dtella G. punctata, Spotted Dtella G. purpurescens
G. robusta G. variegata, Tree Dtella G. vorax, Voracious Gecko
G. xenopus    

Scientific Name Common Name Distribution Size Notes
G. angusticaudata   SE Thailand ?" No data currently available.
G. australis Australian House Gecko/Northern Dtella Australia (north of Northern Territories). 6" Care requirements similar to those of G. mutilata. Scalation details: anterior chin shields touch only 1st (not 2nd) infralabials: dorsally covered with small homogeneous scales: 9-12 undivided subdigital lamellae beneath 4th toes: sometimes light webbing found between 3rd & 4th toe.
G. baliola   New Guinea and Australia (restricted to eastern islands of Torres Strait). 6" Similar to G. australis but differs from latter in having divided distal subdigital lamellae and a distinct fold of skin along the hind edge of the hind limbs.
G. barea   Indonesia (Banda Islands) ?" No data currently available.
G. borroloola   Australia (Northern Territories. 6" ??.
G. brevipalmata   Indonesia (Palau Islands) ?" No data currently available.
G. butleri   W Malaysia ?" No data currently available.
G. catenata   Australia (interior of C/E & S Queensland) ?" Arboreal gecko found in tall open and savannah woodlands.
G. dubia Dubious Dtella E Australia (from Cape York peninsula south to C NSW) ?" Pale-brown/beige gecko with thin black latitudinal stripes, white undersurfaces and bronze-coloured eyes.
G. fehlmanni   Thailand, Vietnam, poss. Cambodia ?" No data currently available.
G. fenestra   W Australia ?" Not mentioned by Cogger. No data currently available.
G. intermedia   Japan (Ryukyu Islands) ?" No data currently available.
G. interstitialis   W Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya) ?" No data currently available.
G. kimberleyi   Australia (NW W Australia) ?" Not mentioned by Cogger: see EMBL database entry for details of the controversy. No other data currently available.
G. lacerata   Thailand ?" No data currently available.
G. lampei   Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya) ?" No data currently available.
G. leopoldi   New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya) ?" No data currently available.
G. marginata   Indonesia (inc. Moluccas) ?" No data currently available.
G. membranacruralis   Papua New Guinea ?" Validity questioned: see EMBL database entry. No other data currently available.
G. minuta   Australia (Northern Territories) 6" Restricted to SW edge of Barkly Tableland: a rock-dweller in red-soil country.
G. montium   Australia ?" ??.
G. mutilata

Gehyra mutilata

Pacific Gecko (aka Four-Clawed Gecko, Sugar Lizard, Tender-Skinned House Gecko, Stump-Toed Gecko) Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indo China, many Pacific islands inc. Fiji (Vitu Levu, Ovalau and Rotuma): Madagascar, Cocos, Christmas Island, US, Mexico 5" A great traveller: original point seems to have been SE Asia and/or the Malayan archipelago. It has a similar range to Hemiphyllodactylus typus. It is a delicate-skinned gecko with a plump, pinkish-grey body and long tail. The gold spots of the juveniles gradually disappear with age. Like many geckos it is adaptable in its habitats (woodlands, rocky areas and human dwellings). In the Philippines it is found from sea level to about 500m altitude; in Fiji it is only found on, around or near man-made structures, including gardens. It is a nocturnal calling gecko: Coborn likens its chirp to that of a cricket. In addition to invertebrates it will take the juice of overripe fruit. Scalation details [Alcala]: dorsally covered with granular homogenous scales: 32-40 preanal and femoral pores in males: 7-10 narrow, strongly oblique scansors limited to the distal third or half of the 4th toe. Other: toes are webbed at base: toes clawed and rise free from the subdigital pad, except for claw of 1st toe which is short and often concealed: tail depressed and broad, with ventral row of enlarged scales from near vent to tip of tail: usually a low ridge of skin between fore and hind limbs and a fold of skin on hind margin of thigh. Coloration: dorsally light to dark brown, relatively uniform but roundish dark and white spots may be present on the back and head, especially in juveniles; posterior of hind limbs often have orange spots or bands; ventrally greyish-olive to lemon yellow; base of tail may be orange. Reproduction: in Fiji, lays 2 eggs in suitable crevices in buildings or on or under the leaves, bark or flower bracts of palms: the laying site is at least 1m above ground [SOURCES: Alcala, Cogger, Morrison].
G. nana   Australia (W Australia [N Kimberly region] and N Queensland) ?" Pale-brown/beige gecko with thin black latitudinal stripes, white undersurfaces and bronze-coloured eyes.
G. occidentalis   Australia (W Australia [N Kimberly region] and N Queensland) ?" No data currently available.
G. oceanica
Gehyra oceanica
Oceanic Gecko Oceania, Australia (Torres Strait) ?" Another successful coloniser, having settled in all the southern islands of the Pacific including N. Australia and New Zealand.
G. pamela        
G. papuana   Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya), poss. Marianas Islands and Belau ?" No data currently available.
G. pilbara Pilbara Dtella Australia (W Australia and Northern Territories) ?" Interesting gecko that seems to live only in association with the termite species Nasutitermes triodiea. It apparently emerges onto the surface of the termite mound at night and retires into the galleries at night, and lays its eggs within the nest (a reproductive behaviour not unknown in other lizards, eg varanids).
G. punctata Spotted Dtella Australia (W Australia) ?" ??.
G. purpurescens   Australia (W Australia, S Australia and Northern Territories) ?" Pale-brown/beige gecko with thin black latitudinal stripes, white undersurfaces and bronze-coloured eyes.
G. robusta   W Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (Irian Jaya) ?" No data currently available.
G. variegata
Gehyra variegata

Gehyra mutilata

Tree Dtella Indian Ocean (Madagascar, Mascarene Is, Seychelles), India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, S China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan (Okinawa), Philippines, Indonesia, Australia (Cook Island), Oceania and Micronesia: introduced into New Zealand, Hawaii and Mexico ?" One of the most, if not the most, widely distributed geckos in the world. Unusual in that it normally lays one egg instead of the usual two. Care requirements similar to those of G. mutilata.
G. vorax

Gehyra vorax

Voracious Gecko Indonesia (Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea and S Pacific islands, including Fiji (Vitu Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Ovalau, Gau and Koro), Tonga and Vanuata 5" The Voracious Gecko, G. vorax, was formerly known as G. oceanica and is still sometimes referred to as such. See also the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web and Bill Beckon's Terrestrial Vertebrates of Fiji.
G. xenopus   Australia (NW Kimberly region of W Australia) ?" ??.


Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna. Volume X, Amphibians and Reptiles, Prof. Angel C Alcala, Natural Resources Management Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources and University of the Philippines, 1986. Very useful field guide to the herps of this area, which is usually under-represented in literature. One slight drawback is that the photographs are black-and-white and the descriptions of colour for many species are drawn from preserved specimens: otherwise this book is to be recommended if you can obtain a copy.

A Field Guide to the Herpetofauna of Fiji, Clare Morrison, Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific, 2003. Useful guide to the herpetofauna of these islands.

Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Harold Cogger, 6th edition.

Echsen [Lizards] I, Rogner, Ulmer 1992. Especially good on the lesser-known genera and species.

Lizards of the World, Mattison

Keeping and Breeding Lizards, Mattison

Geckos: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity, Walls and Walls, TFH 1999.

Reptiles of the Townsville Region has a picture of Gehyra dubia.

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