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Mediterranean house gecko.JPG
Mediterranean house gecko, (Hemidactylus turcicus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae
Subfamily: Gekkoninae
Genus: Hemidactylus
Oken, 1817[1]
Type species
Gecko tuberculosus
Raddi, 1823
168 species, and see text

In alphabetical order:


Hemidactylus is a genus of the common gecko family, Gekkonidae. It has 168 described species, newfound ones being described every few years. These geckos are found in all the tropical regions of the world, extending into the subtropical parts of Africa and Europe. They excel in colonizing oceanic islands by rafting on flotsam, and are for example found across most of Polynesia. In some archipelagoes, cryptic species complexes are found.[2] Geckos like to live in and out of houses. They have been introduced to Australia.[citation needed]

The species are typically known as house geckos, due to their readiness to adapt to and coexist with humans, and can be easily encountered in human habitations. This genus was originally established by Lorenz Oken in 1817 for the species at that time known as Hemidactylus tuberculosus, and now described as the tropical house gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia).[2]

This species is closely related to the genus Gehyra, which belongs to the same Gekkonidae family.


The origin of the genus Hemidactylus is still unclear as the higher level phylogeny is not well resolved. Moreover, much of the diversity in this group still remains to be discovered.


A house gecko will usually confine its excretions to one area of a house. This is sometimes considered a nuisance by home owners, and may stain certain surfaces.[3] The feces are approximately five (5) millimeters in length, two (2) millimeters wide, and dark brown (almost black) in color.


Foot upperside (left) and underside of the Oriental leaf-toed gecko (H. bowringii).

The dorsal lepidosis is either uniform or heterogeneous. The pupil of the eye is vertical. Males have pre-anal or femoral pores. Each finger or toe has a slender distal clawed joint, angularly bent and rising from within the extremity of the dilated portion.[4]

The fingers and toes are free, or more or less webbed, and dilated; underneath they bear two[citation needed] rows of lamellae in a pattern resembling a paripinnate compound leaf.[4] This leads to their other and more ambiguous common name, "leaf-toed geckos", used mainly for species from South Asia and its surroundings to prevent confusion with the many "leaf-toed" Gekkota not in Hemidactylus.

Underside of a leaf-toed Gecko.

Some members of the genus, such as H. platyurus, are able to run quadrupedally across water by a partially surface tension-dependent mechanism distinct from the bipedal gait of basilisks.[5]


Like many gecko species, Hemidactylus are able to communicate with distinct vocalizations. Depending on the species, their vocalization range from quiet clicks to short squeaks and chirps. The Asian common house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) is notable for its characteristic loud chirps.


Juvenile common house gecko (H. frenatus).
Juvenile Mediterranean house gecko (H. turcicus).
Unidentified Hemidactylus adult from Dindigul (Tamil Nadu, India).
Common lizard in Chennai, India.


The following phylogeny is from Pyron, et al. (2013),[10] and includes 47 Hemidactylus species. Hemidactylus is a sister group of Cyrtodactylus.[10]


Hemidactylus bowringii

Hemidactylus garnotii

Hemidactylus karenorum

Hemidactylus platyurus

Hemidactylus fasciatus

Hemidactylus aaronbaueri

Hemidactylus giganteus

Hemidactylus depressus

Hemidactylus triedrus

Hemidactylus prashadi

Hemidactylus maculatus

Hemidactylus leschenaultii

Hemidactylus flaviviridis

Hemidactylus frenatus

Hemidactylus brookii

Hemidactylus sataraensis

Hemidactylus imbricatus

Hemidactylus albofasciatus

Hemidactylus reticulatus

Hemidactylus gracilis

Hemidactylus angulatus

Hemidactylus haitianus

Hemidactylus mabouia

Hemidactylus mercatorius

Hemidactylus longicephalus

Hemidactylus platycephalus

Hemidactylus greeffii

Hemidactylus brasilianus

Hemidactylus bouvieri

Hemidactylus palaichthus

Hemidactylus agrius

Hemidactylus modestus

Hemidactylus citernii

Hemidactylus foudaii

Hemidactylus pumilio

Hemidactylus dracaenacolus

Hemidactylus granti

Hemidactylus persicus

Hemidactylus yerburii

Hemidactylus robustus

Hemidactylus turcicus

Hemidactylus lemurinus

Hemidactylus mindiae

Hemidactylus macropholis

Hemidactylus oxyrhinus

Hemidactylus forbesii

Hemidactylus homoeolepis

Similar species[edit]


  1. ^ Dahms Tierleben. www.dahmstierleben.de
  2. ^ a b c Lizards of the World (2004): Hemidactylus. Version of 2004-FEB-08. Retrieved 2009-APR-04.
  3. ^ "House Geckos".
  4. ^ a b Boulenger, G.A. (1890). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Genus Hemidactylus, p. 82). Fulltext at the Internet Archive
  5. ^ Nirody, J. A.; Jinn, J.; Libby, T.; Lee, T. J.; Jusufi, A.; Hu, D. L.; Full, R. J. (2018). "Geckos Race Across the Water's Surface Using Multiple Mechanisms". Current Biology. 28 (24): 4046–4051.e2. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.10.064. PMID 30528580.
  6. ^ Angarwal I, Giri VB, Bauer AM (2011). "A new cryptic rock-dwelling Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from south India". Zootaxa 2765: 21-37. (Hemidactylus graniticolus, new species).
  7. ^ a b 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. (Hemidactylus greeffii, p. 107; Cyrtodactylus malcolmsmithi, p. 247).
  8. ^ "Hemidactylus greeffii ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  9. ^ Henle K, and Böhme W (2003). "A new species of Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from West Africa, and comments on species hitherto confused with H. muriceus ". African Journal of Herpetology 52 (1) 23-38. (Hemidactylus pseudomuriceus, new species).
  10. ^ a b 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

External links[edit]