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Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Lizards Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)

General Description: Western Banded Geckos (Coleonyx variegatus) are small, banded lizards with very fine scales and short, fat tails. In the eyes, the pupils are vertical and the eyelids are movable. Geckos come out at night.

Taxonomy: Eyelidded Gecko Family (Eublepharidae). Formerly Ground Gecko Family (Gekkonidae).

Technical Description: Geckos are recognized by soft, pliable skin, fine scales, large eyes, and vertical pupils. This species is a medium-sized (total length 3 to 5 in.) lizard with protruding eyes, elliptical pupils, and movable eyelids. The dorsal coloration is cream or pinkish with brown cross-bands. The skin on the ventral surface is translucent, and some internal organs may be visible. The scales are uniformly granular and smooth. The toes are slender with nails, but they do not have the toe pads seen in other species of gecko. Unbroken tails are banded, sometimes swollen (fat storage), and easily broken. Broken tails tend to be unmarked.

Diet: Feeds at night, mainly insects and spiders.

Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)

Habitat: This species is generally found in the Mojave Desert Scrub (Upper Sonoran Life Zone) where common plant species include Blackbrush, Honey Mesquite, and Catclaw Acacia. Less commonly, they are found in desert riparian areas and in areas up to about 5,000 ft in elevation in Pinyon-Juniper Woodland (Upper Sonoran Life Zone) with sagebrush. Rocks, crevices, fallen logs, limbs, and rubbish piles provide shelter.

Range: This species is found throughout the southwestern deserts from southern Nevada southward to western Mexico. Two subspecies are recognized in Clark County, but the taxonomy is being revised. Under to original system, Desert Banded Geckos (C. v. variegatus) occur in western and southern Clark County, while Utah Banded Geckos (C. v. utahensis) occur in northeastern Clark County. In Desert Banded Geckos, the dark bands are equal to or narrower than the light bands, while in the Utah Banded Gecko, the dark bands are wider than the light bands, but this might just be regional variation in a single subspecies and there are intergrades.

Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Vertical pupil

Breeding: 1 to 3 clutches of 2 eggs each laid during spring through late summer.

Similar Species: Banded Geckos are the only species of gecko native to Nevada; an introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactlyus turcicus), is common around homes and yards in the Las Vegas Valley and can be recognized by the presence of white tubercles (warts) on the back.

Comments: Primarily nocturnal. May vocalize by squeaking or barking when caught.

Note: These four images are the same individual that was found at Rhyolite, Nye County, Nevada.

Western (Utah) Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus utahensis)
Dark and light bands; regrown tail (not banded)
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
The swollen tail is a fat-storage organ
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Wide dark bands: typical Utah Banded Gecko (but from California)
Western (Utah) Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus utahensis)
Narrow dark bands: typical Desert Banded Gecko
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Regenerated tail lacks bands
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Regenerated tail lacks bands
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Movable eyelids - open
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Movable eyelids - closed
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Narrow dark bands: typical Desert Banded Gecko
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Narrow dark bands: typical Desert Banded Gecko
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Narrow dark bands: typical Desert Banded Gecko
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Narrow dark bands: typical Desert Banded Gecko
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko hiding under my collar
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko
Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
Western Banded Gecko: finally getting away

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170901

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