|Western banded gecko|
The western banded gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) is a species of gecko found in the southwestern United States (southern California, southwest New Mexico, southern Arizona, Utah, Nevada) and northern Mexico (Sonora, northwest Baja California). Five subspecies are recognized.
Western banded geckos are terrestrial lizards, ranging in length from 4–6 inches (10–15 cm). Hatchlings measure 1 inch (2.5 cm). The body is sandy coloured with dark bands broken into patches. Juveniles start out with only bands, but as they mature, spots form. The tiny scales give its skin a silky texture. Unlike typical geckos, it has prominent eyes with movable lids.
Western banded geckos are found in a wide range of habitats, including creosote bush and sagebrush desert, pinyon-juniper woodland, and catclaw-cedar-grama grass associations in the eastern part of its range and chaparral areas in the west. They make their homes in many places: under rocks, wood, and animal burrows. Western banded geckos have also adapted to urban areas, and can be found under sprinkler covers, wood piles, and anything else that is dark and out of the sun. Their elevational range extends from below sea level to about 1,520 m (4,990 ft) asl.
The western banded gecko is secretive and nocturnal, foraging at night for small insects and spiders, and is one of the few reptiles that control scorpion populations by eating baby scorpions. When hunting, the sneak up to their prey until they are within one inch. When they are in range, they strike, capture the insect with their mouth, and consume it. If captured, they squeak and may discard their tail. After about 5-7 days the tail will start to grow back, and in about two weeks or so the tail will be fully grown. As a defense mechanism, they can also curl their tails over their bodies to mimic a scorpion. Females lay up to three clutches of one to two soft-shelled eggs in the spring and summer. Emerging on warm nights around 80 degrees F, they can be seen around porch lights looking for an easy meal, retreating if the temperature rises too high or drops too low. Eggs hatch after six weeks. Males will fight over territory, and females. The opposing males stand up as tall as they can get, and charge at each other. After a few seconds of squealing and rustling, the loser will scurry off. The winner will get the territory of females nearby.
- Hammerson, G.A., Frost, D.R. & Gadsden, H. (2007). "Coleonyx variegatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- Baird,S.F. 1859. Description of new genera and species of North American lizards in the museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 1858: 253-256
- Coleonyx variegatus at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database. Accessed 17 July 2014.
- "Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)". Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- Brennan, Thomas C. "Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)". Online Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Arizona. Retrieved 2009-06-25.