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Temporal range: Eocene - Recent
Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Superfamily: Gekkonoidea
Family: Gekkonidae
Gray, 1825

Gekkonidae (the common geckos) is the largest family of geckos, containing over 950 described species in 62 genera.[1][2][3][4][5][6] The Gekkonidae contain many of the most widespread gecko species, including house geckos (Hemidactylus), the tokay gecko (Gekko), day geckos (Phelsuma), the mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus), and dtellas (Gehyra). Gekkonid geckos occur globally and are particularly diverse in tropical areas. Many species of these geckos exhibit an adhering ability to surfaces through Van der Waals forces utilizing intermolecular forces between molecules of their setae (foot hair) and molecules of the surface they are on.

The genus Hemidactylus is one of the most species-rich and widely distributed of all reptile genera.[7]


The family Gekkonidae is a member of the infraorder Gekkota, which seems to have first emerged during the Jurassic period (201-145 million years ago). Eichstaettisaurus schroederi is recognized as one of the earliest examples of an ancestral gecko species. Members of the genus Eichstaettisaurus display morphological adaptations associated with climbing. Eichstaettisaurus has been ranked as a stem gekkotan, but its true taxonomic rank is unclear.[8]

The species Hoburogekko suchanovi and Gobekko cretacicus, dated to the Albian-Aptian ages (121-100 million years ago) ages of the Cretaceous period, are unquestionably members of Gekkota. They are thought to be members of the Gekkonidae, as well, but their taxonomic rank is uncertain due to the incompleteness of the fossil remains.[9]

Yantarogekko balticus is the earliest known gekkonid gecko. Y. balticus was discovered in Baltic amber dated to the Eocene epoch (56-33.9 million years ago).[9] This species was small, measuring only 20–22 mm from snout to vent. Y. balticus has enlarged, undivided scansorial pads and a reduced but strongly clawed first digit, and lacks movable eyelids. Together, these morphological traits are distinctive of the family Gekkonidae, and also indicate that Y. balticus may have had adhesive abilities similar to modern geckos.


Species within the Gekkonidae inhabit every warm region. Furthermore, many genera are capable of widespread geographical habitation, and can be considered invasive in some areas; the genus Hemidactylus can be identified in all subtropical areas of the world.[10][7][11] However, many genera in the family Gekkonidae are endemic. For example, genera Afroedura and Afrogecko are found only in Africa.[12][13] The range of genus Lepidodactylus stretches from South Asia to Oceania; this genus also accounts for several island species.[14] The genera listed here do not account for all Gekkonidae subspecies and are used only as examples of distribution. For a full list, see section 'Genera'.[15][16][17]


Gekkonidae contains these genera:

Possibly belonging to the family:

Yantarogekko (fossil)


Pyron, et al. (2013)[18] presents the following classification of Gekkonidae genera, based on molecular phylogenetics.



  1. ^ Gamble, Tony; Bauer, Aaron M.; Greenbaum, Eli; Jackman, Todd R. (21 August 2007). "Evidence for Gondwanan vicariance in an ancient clade of gecko lizards". Journal of Biogeography. 35: 070821084123003––. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01770.x. S2CID 29974883.
  2. ^ Gamble, T.; Bauer, A.M.; Greenbaum, E.; Jackman, T.R. (July 2008). "Out of the blue: A novel, trans-Atlantic clade of geckos (Gekkota, Squamata)". Zoologica Scripta. 37 (4): 355–366. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2008.00330.x. S2CID 83706826.
  3. ^ Gamble, T.; Bauer, A.M.; Colli, G.R.; Greenbaum, E.; Jackman, T.R.; Vitt, L.J.; Simons, A.M. (February 2011). "Coming to America: Multiple Origins of New World Geckos". Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 24 (2): 231–244. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02184.x. PMC 3075428. PMID 21126276.
  4. ^ Gamble, Tony; Greenbaum, Eli; Jackman, Todd R.; Russell, Anthony P.; Bauer, Aaron M. (June 27, 2012). "Repeated Origin and Loss of Adhesive Toepads in Geckos". PLOS ONE. 7 (6): e39429. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...739429G. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039429. PMC 3384654. PMID 22761794.
  5. ^ Han, D.; Zhou, K.; Bauer, A.M. (2004). "Phylogenetic relationships among gekkotan lizards inferred from c-mos nuclear DNA sequences and a new classification of the Gekkota". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 83 (3): 353–368. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2004.00393.x.
  6. ^ Gamble, T.; Greenbaum, E.; Jackman, T.R.; Bauer, A.M. (August 2015). "Into the light: Diurnality has evolved multiple times in geckos". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 115 (4): 896–910. doi:10.1111/bij.12536.
  7. ^ a b Carranza, S., and E. Arnold. "Systematics, Biogeography, and Evolution of Hemidactylus Geckos (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) Elucidated Using Mitochondrial DNA Sequences." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, vol. 38, no. 2, Elsevier Inc, 2006, pp. 531–45, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.012.
  8. ^ Simões, Tiago R.; Caldwell, Michael W.; Nydam, Randall L.; Jiménez-Huidobro, Paulina (September 2016). "Osteology, phylogeny, and functional morphology of two Jurassic lizard species and the early evolution of scansoriality in geckoes". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. doi:10.1111/zoj.12487.
  9. ^ a b Bauer, Aaron (28 Feb 2006). "An Early Eocene gecko from Baltic amber and its implications for the evolution of gecko adhesion". Journal of Zoology. 265 (4): 327–332. doi:10.1017/S0952836904006259. Retrieved 22 Jul 2022.
  10. ^ Rödder, Dennis; Lötters, Stefan (2009). "Niche shift versus niche conservatism? Climatic characteristics of the native and invasive ranges of the Mediterranean house gecko ( Hemidactylus turcicus )". Global Ecology and Biogeography. 18 (6): 674–687. Bibcode:2009GloEB..18..674R. doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2009.00477.x.
  11. ^ "Hemidactylus at The Reptile Database". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 21 Jul 2022.
  12. ^ Branch, William; Schmitz; Lobón-Rovira; Baptista; António; Conradie (12 January 2021). "Rock island melody: A revision of the Afroedura bogerti Loveridge, 1944 group, with descriptions of four new endemic species from Angola". Zoosystematics and Evolution. 97: 55–82. doi:10.3897/zse.97.57202. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  13. ^ "Afrogecko porphyreus (DAUDIN, 1802)". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 21 Jul 2022.
  14. ^ "Genus Lepidodactylus at The Reptile Database". The Reptile Database. 21 Jul 2022. Retrieved 21 Jul 2022.
  15. ^ Hosseinzadeh, Mahboubeh Sadat; Fois, Mauro; Zangi, Bahman; Kazemi, Seyed Mahdi (2020-12-01). "Predicting past, current and future habitat suitability and geographic distribution of the Iranian endemic species Microgecko latifi (Sauria: Gekkonidae)". Journal of Arid Environments. 183: 104283. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2020.104283. ISSN 0140-1963.
  16. ^ Davis, Hayden R.; Chan, Kin Onn; Das, Indraneil; Brennan, Ian G.; Karin, Benjamin R.; Jackman, Todd R.; Brown, Rafe M.; Iskandar, Djoko T.; Nashriq, Izneil; Grismer, L. Lee; Bauer, Aaron M. (2020-06-01). "Multilocus phylogeny of Bornean Bent-Toed geckos (Gekkonidae: Cyrtodactylus) reveals hidden diversity, taxonomic disarray, and novel biogeographic patterns". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 147: 106785. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106785. ISSN 1055-7903. PMID 32135306.
  17. ^ Nania, Dario; Flecks, Morris; Rödder, Dennis (2020-07-06). "Continuous expansion of the geographic range linked to realized niche expansion in the invasive Mourning gecko Lepidodactylus lugubris (Duméril & Bibron, 1836)". PLOS ONE. 15 (7): e0235060. Bibcode:2020PLoSO..1535060N. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0235060. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 7337341. PMID 32628687. S2CID 220386935.
  18. ^ Pyron, R Alexander, Frank T Burbrink and John J Wiens. 2013. A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013 13:93. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-93