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Variegated (Brilliant South American) gecko (Gonatodes ceciliae) male.jpg
Male variegated, or Brilliant South American, gecko Gonatodes ceciliae, Trinidad
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Sphaerodactylidae
Genus: Gonatodes
Fitzinger, 1843[1][2]

31 officially described as of October 2014, see text

Gonatodes is a genus of New World dwarf geckos of the family Sphaerodactylidae.[3][4]


The majority of the species in the genus Gonatodes are diurnally active, scansorial, and sexually dichromatic, with adult body size (snout-vent length) ranging from 28 to 65 mm (1.1 to 2.6 in) for known species.


The diets of the various species of Gonatodes are composed mainly of very small arthropods.


Clutch size is one, with most species producing several clutches per year, and some utilizing communal egg-laying sites.


Most species are humid tropical forest dwelling (some in warm lowlands, and others in somewhat cooler montane regions), with relatively fewer species utilizing more open, drier habitats at forest edge, tropical dry seasonal forest and scrub forest. Some species (usually those that use drier natural habitats) are able to utilize even more open human modified environments; in some cases including highly urbanized areas. Gonatodes usually spend most of their active hours perched anywhere from ground level to about 0.6 metres above ground (sometimes up to 2 or 3 metres) on vertical or near vertical surfaces of tree trunks, tree stumps, logs and sometimes rocks (as well as on walls and house-posts for those that are able to use human altered environments). They seldom sit exposed to direct strong sunlight (they do not appear to bask), and most seem to prefer shade or less exposure to direct sun light.

Geographic range[edit]

Species of Gonatodes are found in Central America including southern Mexico, a few Caribbean Islands (including Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Union Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and the northern part of South America, including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, parts of Brazil, Venezuela, the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and some of the small islands just off the cost of northern South America.

Introduced species[edit]

Human mediated introductions have occurred with one species in the Galapagos Islands and another in Florida. In addition, some species have been transplanted by human activity to various regions within the general range of the genus where the particular species did not previously exist.


The following 31 species are recognized as being valid.[2] Some subspecies are also listed.

Nota bene: A binomial authority or trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species or subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Gonatodes.


  1. ^ "Gonatodes ". ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). www.itis.gov.
  2. ^ a b "Gonatodes ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ Gamble T, Simons AM, Colli GR, Vitt LJ (2008). "Tertiary climate change and the diversification of the Amazonian gecko genus Gonatodes (Sphaerodactylidae, Squamata)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 46: 269–277.
  4. ^ Gamble T, Bauer AM, Greenbaum E, Jackman TR (2008). "Evidence for Gondwanan vicariance in an ancient clade of gecko lizards". Journal of Biogeography 35: 88–104.
  5. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Daudin, J.", p. 66).
  6. ^ Kok PJR (2011). "A new species of the genus Gonatodes Fitzinger, 1843 (Reptilia: Sphaerodactylidae) from central Guyana, northern South America". Zootaxa 3018: 1-12. (Gonatodes timidus, new species).

Further reading[edit]

  • Fitzinger L (1843). Systema Reptilium, Fasciculus Primus, Amblyglossae. Vienna: Braumüller & Seidel. 106 pp. + indices. (Gonatodes, new genus, pp. 18, 90-91). (in Latin).