- reptile and amphibian classifieds, breeders, forums, photos, videos and more

return to main index

  mobile - desktop
follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on YouTube link to us on LinkedIn
Zoo Med Repti Therm_UTH  
click here for Rodent Pro
This Space Available
3 months for $50.00
Locate a business by name: click to list your business
search the classifieds. buy an account
events by zip code list an event
Search the forums             Search in:
News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Corn Snake . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Timor Python . . . . . . . . . .  Bay Area Herpetological Society Meeting - Dec. 02, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  All Maryland Reptile Show - Dec. 09, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  York County Reptile Show - Dec. 10, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  Northern Virginia Reptile Show - Dec. 16, 2023 . . . . . . . . . .  Calusa Herp Society Meeting - Jan 04, 2024 . . . . . . . . . .  DFW Herp Society Meeting - Jan 20, 2024 . . . . . . . . . .  Bay Area Herpetological Society Meeting - Jan 26, 2024 . . . . . . . . . .  Calusa Herp Society Meeting - Feb 01, 2024 . . . . . . . . . .  DFW Herp Society Meeting - Feb 17, 2024 . . . . . . . . . .  Bay Area Herpetological Society Meeting - Feb 23, 2024 . . . . . . . . . . 

Taxonomy of Hemidactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae)

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Taxonomy Forum ]

Posted by Richard Wells on March 17, 2002 at 20:20:14:

Hello all,
For those interested in the Family Gekkonidae I offer you my considerations regarding the genus Hemidactylus in Australia which were recently published in the AUSTRALIAN BIODIVERSITY RECORD, 2002 (No 6): 1-8 (March, 2002)
A copy of this article is attached below,

Kind Regards from

Richard Wells

2002 (No 6) ISSN 1325-2992 March, 2002

Notes on the Genus Hemidactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) in Australia.


Richard W. Wells
“Shiralee”, Major West Road, Cowra, New South Wales, Australia

In 1985 Wells and Wellington resurrected from the synonymy of Hemidactylus the Genus Pnoepus of Fitzinger, 1843. As then, I still believe that Hemidactylus is a polyphyletic group [Type Species: Gecko tuberculosus Daudin, 1802 = Hemidactylus mabouia Moreau de Jonnes, 1818] and that all Asiatic members of the frenatus group should be placed in the genus Pnoepus. Additionally, a number of synonyms of frenatus were resurrected by Wells and Wellington (1985) in the belief that frenatus was a species complex in need of major revision. Although it would appear that no one has supported these opinions to date, I still hold the above views so consequently maintain my use of the genus Pnoepus for the populations present in Australia.

Genus Pnoepus Fitzinger, 1843

Asian House Gecko
Pnoepus frenatus (Dumeril and Bibron, 1836)

Diagnosis: This is a small slender-bodied gecko with a long, depressed tail with a distinct lateral flange of spinose scales on each side. Body scales small smooth and homogenous; tail scales heterogenous, with numerous smaller scales interspersed with enlarged tubercles or small spines; first supralabial (usually) and rostral contact nostril; rostral rounded with an incomplete median groove; 2 supranasals (anterior the larger); postnasal usually much larger than posterior supranasal; labials larger than surrounding scales; internasal usually present (range 0-2); supralabials 8-11; digits moderately long and depressed and greatly expanded at the distal end to form a large pad; the digits lay flat when viewed laterally; claws free and present on all digits; claws arising from the upper surface of the digit well within the border of the expanded pad; apical subdigital lamellae not enlarged but continuous with a series of narrow transverse lamellae that extend right across the pad; subdigital lamellae 7-10 under fourth toe (entire); distal lamellae imbricate, large and divided, and proximal lamellae small and entire; and, preanal pores present in males. Attains a maximum total length of about 120 mm., with a maximum snout-vent length of 60 mm.
Notes: The principal base colour varies from creamish-grey, through to brownish usually with a pattern of black or dark brown flecks lines, striations and small variegations along the body. The ventral colour is whitish. As herein defined, this species is found throughout the tropics of South East Asia, and is widespread and well-known on many islands of Indo-Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Oceania. It is believed to have been accidentally introduced to Australia. In Australia, this species has been recorded from both Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Island. On the mainland, it has been noted at several locations - mostly associated with human settlements - in the far north of the Northern Territory and on Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. It may also inhabit a variety of disturbed forest and woodland habitats but usually lives in close association with human habitations. This is an arboreal, highly active species that prefers humid areas - hence its association with houses. The Asian House Gecko is mainly a nocturnal species, but it can be active during rainy days when its presence can easily be detected by its distinctive vocalisations. Calls occur anytime of the day or night and are often made when the humidity levels are suitable for activity, or in response to territorial disputes between this and other species of geckos. In Darwin I have observed this species effectively driving out of houses the much larger native Gehyra australis. Similarly, in riparian savanna woodland along the Adelaide River Pnoepus frenatus apparently displaces the Northern Zig-Zag Gecko Amalosia rhombifer from the trees in which it lives. Asian House Geckoes feeds on small invertebrates - in particular moths. Of course it is oviparous, producing only 2 eggs in a clutch, but sometimes numerous individuals will lay their eggs communally at a suitable site. Although an introduced species, technically this species is at least partially protected under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act (1998) and the Qld Nature Conservation Act (1992). It is regarded as common, but I noticed a decline in some parts of Darwin over the years which I suspect is attributable to home insecticide use. Etymology: The name 'frenatus' means 'bridled', and refers to the colour pattern of the species.

My observations on this species in Australia were been greatly assisted by Graeme Gow, then of the Northern Territory Museum in Darwin. When I lived in Darwin, a number of herpetologists assisted with field work and information on this species, in particular Dean Metcalfe, Grant Husband, Ross Pengilley and members of the Northern Territory Field Naturalists Club in Darwin.

Andrews, C.W. 1900 A Monograph on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean). British Museum of Natural History, London

Bauer, A.M. 1990 Phylogenetic systematics and biogeography of the Carphodactylini (Reptilia: Gekkonidae). Bonner Zoologische Monographien, No 30: 1-218

Bellairs, A.d'A. 1957 Reptiles. Hutchinson's University Library, London [Pp. 1-195]

Boulenger, G.A. 1887 Reptiles. In: Gunther, A. (Editor): Report on a Zoological Collection made by the officers of HMS Flying Fish at Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1887: 516-517

Boulenger, G.A. 1889 On the reptiles of Christmas Island. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1888: 534-536

Borner, A.-R. and Schuttler, B. 1982 Notes on the Australian lizard genera Gehyra, Hemidactylus and Heteronotia (Geckonidae). Miscellaneous Articles in Saurology, 10: 1-17, plus another 8 unnumbered pages of Tables and Figures

Brongersma, L.D. 1931 Reptilia. Resultats scientifiques du voyage aux Indes Orientales Neerlandaises de LL. AA. RR. le Prince et la Princesse Leopold de Belgique. Mem. Mus. Roy. Hist. Nat. Belgique, hors serie 5 (2): 1-39, plus map and 4 Plates

Bustard, H.R. 1970 Activity cycle of the tropical House Gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus. Copeia, 1970 (1): 173-176

Chou, L.M. 1974 Diet of the common Singapore House Gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus. Journal of the National Academy of Science, Singapore, 4 (1): 11-13

Chou, L.M. 1975 Systematic account of the Singapore house geckos. Journal of the National Academy of Science, Singapore, 4 (3): 130-138

Church, G. 1962 The reproductive cycles of the Javanese house geckos, Cosymbotus platyurus, Hemidactylus frenatus and Peropus mutilatus. Copeia, 1962 (2): 262-269

Cogger, H.G. 1972 Australian Reptiles in Colour. Reed, Sydney ['Revised' Edition; Pp. 1-112]

Cogger, H.G. 1975 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [1st Edition]

Cogger, H.G. 1979 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [2nd Edition]

Cogger, H.G. 1983 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [3rd Edition]

Cogger, H.G. 1986 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [4th Edition; Pp. 1-688]

Cogger, H.G. 1988 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [A reprinting, but due to changes, should be regarded as a 5th Edition]

Cogger, H.G. 1992 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [6th Edition]

Cogger, H.G. 1993 General description and definition of the Order Squamata. [Pp. 157-171]. In: Glasby, C.J., Ross, G.J.B. and Beesley, P.L. (Editors): Fauna of Australia. Volume 2A. Amphibia and Reptilia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra

Cogger, H.G. 1994 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [7th Edition - another substantially altered edition that included an updated Appendix of recently described taxa]

Cogger, H.G. 1996 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed, Sydney [8th Edition]

Cogger, H.G. 2000 Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. New Holland, Sydney [9th Edition]

Cogger, H.G. and Heatwole, H.F. 1981 The Australian reptiles: Origins, biogeography, distribution patterns and island evolution. [Pp. 1331-1373] In: Keast, A. (Editor): Ecological Biogeography of Australia. Junk, The Hague [Monographiae Biologicae, Volume 41]

Cogger, H.G., Cameron, E.E. and Cogger, H.M. 1983 Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 1. Amphibia and Reptilia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra [Pp. i-vi, 1-313]

Cogger, H.G., Cameron, E.E., Sadlier, R.A. and Eggler, P. 1993 The Action Plan for Australian Reptiles. Australian Nature Conservation Agency [Canberra], Endangered Species Program, Project No 124 [Pp. 1-254]

Cook, R.A. 1990 Range extension of the Darwin House Gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus. Herpetofauna, 20 (1): 23-27

Covacevich, J. 1983 The Cocos Islands. Wildlife in Australia, 20 (1): 6-9

Covacevich, J.A. 1987 Reptiles of far northern Cape York Peninsula. Queensland Naturalist, 28 (1-4): 22-30

Covacevich, J.A. and Couper, P.J. 1991 Atlas of Queensland's frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals. Part 1.2 The reptile records. [Pp. 45-140]. In: Ingram, G.J. and Raven, R.J. (Editors): Atlas of Queensland's frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals. Queensland Museum, Brisbane

Covacevich, J.A., Buffett, A.F., Couper, P.J. and Amey, A.P. 2001 Herpetological ‘foreigners’ on Norfolk Island, an External Territory of Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 46 (2): 408

Daniels, C.B., Flaherty, S.P. and Simbotwe, M.P. 1986 Tail size and effectiveness of autotomy in a lizard. Journal of Herpetology, 20 (1): 93-96

Darevsky, I.S., Kupriyanova, L.A. and Roshchin, V.V. 1984 A new all-female triploid species of gecko and karyological data on the bisexual Hemidactylus frenatus from Vietnam. Journal of Herpetology, 18 (3): 277-284

Davis, W.B. 1974 The Mediterranean Gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, in Texas. Journal of Herpetology, 8: 77-80

Dickerson, R.E. 1928 Distribution of Life in the Philippines. Philippine Bureau of Science [Manila], Monograph No 21: 1-322 + 37 plates + 4 maps [Bureau of Printing, Manila; Note: Also issued as a facsimile reprint in 1975 by Bookmark Inc., Manila]

Dumeril, A.M.C. and Bibron, G. 1836 Erpetologie Generale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Roret, Paris [Volume 3; pp. i-iv, 1-517]

Dunn, E.R. 1931 The herpetological fauna of the Americas. Copeia, 1931 (3): 106-119

Dunson, W.A. 1982 Low water vapour conductance of hard-shelled eggs of the gecko lizards Hemidactylus and Lepidodactylus. Journal of Experimental Zoology, 219: 377-379

Edgren, R.A. 1950 Notes on the neotropical population of Hemidactylus frenatus Schlegel. Natural History Miscellany, (55): 1-3

Ehmann, H.F.W. 1992 Encyclopaedia of Australian Wildlife. Reptiles. Australian Museum, Sydney [Pp. 1-495]

Fowler, H.W. 1914 Note on Hawaiian geckos. Copeia, 6: [4]

Frankenberg, E. 1984 Interactions between two species of colonizing house geckos, Hemidactylus turcicus and Hemidactylus garnotii. Journal of Herpetology, 18 (1): 1-7

Frankenberg, E. and Werner, Y.L. 1981 Adaptability of the daily activity pattern to changes in longitude in a colonizing lizard, Hemidactylus frenatus. Journal of Herpetology, 15 (3): 373-376

Fyfe, G. 1981 Range extension for Hemidactylus frenatus, the Asian House Gecko. Herpetofauna, 13 (1): 33

Gibbons, J.R.H. and Zug, G.R. 1987 Life History Notes. Gehyra, Hemidactylus and Nactus (Pacific Geckos). Eggs and Hatchlings. Herpetological Review, 18 (2): 35-36

Glasby, C.J., Ross, G.J.B. and Beesley, P.L. (Editors) 1993 Fauna of Australia. Volume 2A. Amphibia and Reptilia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra [Pp. 1-439]

Grant, C. 1957 The gecko Hemidactylus frenatus in Acapulco, Mexico. Herpetologica, 13 (2): 153

Gray, H.S. 1981 Christmas Island - Naturally. Author, Geraldton (Western Australia)

Gunther, A.C.L.G. (Editor) 1887 Report on a Zoological Collection made by the officers of HMS Flying Fish at Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, for 1887

Hoser, R.T. 1989 Australian Reptiles and Frogs. Pierson and Co., Mosman [Pp. 1-238]

Hunsaker, D. 1966 Notes on the population expansion of the House Gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus. Philippine Journal of Science, 95 (1): 121-122

Husband, G.A. 1980 A note on egglaying by Hemidactylus frenatus (House Gecko) in Darwin. Herpetofauna, 12 (1): 36

Ingram, G.J. and Raven, R.J. (Editors) 1991 An Atlas of Queensland's Frogs, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. Queensland Museum, Brisbane

Jones, F.W. 1909 Fauna of the Cocos-Keeling Atoll. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1909: 132-159

Kikkawa, J., Monteith, G.B. and Ingram, G.J. 1981 Cape York Peninsula: Major region of faunal interchange. [Pp. 1695-1742]. In: Keast, A. (Editor): Ecological Biogeography of Australia. Junk, The Hague [Monographiae Biologicae, Volume 41]

King, M. 1978 A new chromosome form of Hemidactylus frenatus (Dumeril and Bibron). Herpetologica, 34 (2): 216-218

King, M. and Horner, P. 1993 Family Gekkonidae. [Pp. 221-233]. In: Glasby, C.J., Ross, G.J.B. and Beesley, P.L. (Editors): Fauna of Australia. Volume 2A. Amphibia and Reptilia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra

Kinghorn, J.R. 1935 Reptiles and amphibians from Princess Charlotte Bay, north Queensland. Records of the South Australian Museum, 5 (3): 366

Kluge, A.G. 1987 Cladistic relationships in the Gekkonoidea (Squamata, Sauria). Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, 173: 1-54

Lister, J.J. 1888 On the natural history of Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1888: 512-531

Marcellini, D.L. 1971 Activity patterns of the gecko Hemidactylus frenatus. Copeia, 1971 (4): 631-635

Marcellini, D.L. 1971 Range extension of the gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus, in Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist, 15 (3): 397

Marcellini, D.L. 1974 Acoustic behaviour of the Gekkonid lizard, Hemidactylus frenatus. Herpetologica, 30 (1): 44-52

Marcellini, D.L. 1976 Some aspects of the thermal ecology of the gecko Hemidactylus frenatus. Herpetologica, 32 (3): 341-345

Marcellini, D.L. 1977 The function of a vocal display of the lizard Hemidactylus frenatus (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Animal Behaviour, 25 (2): 414-417

Marcellini, D.L. 1978 The acoustic behaviour of lizards. [Pp. 287-300] In: Greenberg, N. and MacLean, P.D. (Editors): Behavior and Neurology of Lizards. United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare [Washington], Publication (ADM) No 77-491

McCoy, C.J. and Busack, S.D. 1970 The lizards Hemidactylus frenatus and Leiolopisma metallica on the island of Hawaii. Herpetologica, 26 (3): 303

Ortenburger, A.I. 1923 Further notes on reptiles collected by the Whitney South Sea Expedition. Copeia, 117: 59-60

Petzold, H.-G. 1965 Uber die Widerstandsfahigkeit von Geckonen-Eiern und einige andere Beobachtungen an Hemidactylus frenatus Dum. and Bibr. 1836. Zoologische Garten, 31 (5): 262-265

Russell, A.P. 1977 The phalangeal formula of Hemidactylus Oken, 1817 (Reptilia, Gekkonidae): A correction and a functional explanation. Zentralblatt fur verterinarmedizin, (C) Anatomia Histologia Embryologia, 6: 332-338

Sahi, D. 1980 Some observations on the Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) of southern India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 76 (3): 521-523

Schmidt, K.P. 1928 Notes on the herpetology of Indo-China. Copeia, No 168: 77-80

Sevastopulo, D.G. 1936 The prey of house lizards (Hemidactylus sp.) in Calcutta. Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London, (A) 11 (6/12): 91-92

Snyder, G.K. and Weaters, W.W. 1976 Physiological responses to temperature in the tropical lizard, Hemidactylus frenatus (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Herpetologica, 32 (3): 252-256

Stevens, N.C. and Bailey, A. (Editors) 1980 Contemporary Cape York Peninsula. Royal Society of Queensland, Brisbane [Pp. 1-100]

Swanson, S. 1987 Lizards of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney

Tweedie, M.W.F. and Harrison, J.L. 1970 Malayan Animal Life. Longman Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur [3rd Edition; Pp. i-x, 1-237]

Tyler, M.J. 1961 On the diet and feeding habits of Hemidactylus frenatus (Dumeril and Bibron) (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) at Rangoon, Burma. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 84: 45-49

Underwood, G. 1953 On the classification and evolution of geckos. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, 124: 469-492

Webb, R.G. 1972 The Asiatic gecko Hemidactylus frenatus in Manzanillo, Mexico. British Journal of Herpetology, 4 (10): 267-268

Wells, R.W. and Wellington, C.R. 1984 Synopsis of the Class Reptilia in Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology, 1 (3-4): 63-129

Wells, R.W. and Wellington, C.R. 1985 A Classification of the Amphibia and Reptilia in Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology (Supplementary Series), No 1: 1-61

Wermuth, H. 1965 Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien. Gekkonidae, Pygopodidae, Xantusiidae. Das Tierreich, 80: i-xxii, 1-246

Wilson, S.K. 2000 Geckos: The eyes have it. Australian Geographic, 59: 72-89

Wilson, S.K. and Knowles, D.G. 1988 Australia's Reptiles - A photographic reference to the terrestrial reptiles of Australia. Collins, Melbourne [Pp. 1-447]

Worrell, E. 1963 Reptiles of Australia: Crocodiles - Turtles - Tortoises - Lizards - Snakes. Describing all Australian species, their appearance, their haunts, their habits, with over 330 illustrations, many in full colour. Angus and Robertson, Sydney [Pp. i-xv + 1-207]

Yashiro, H. 1931 Observation on Hemidactylus frenatus. Amoeba, 3 (3): 51-53 [In Japanese]

The Australian Biodiversity Record is published at no cost for permanent scientific record in accordance with the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature Rules (Code 4th Edition). Copies may be obtained by sending a written request to be placed on a mailing list. The address for submission of manuscripts, subscriptions and all other enquiries relating to this Journal is:
Australian Biodiversity Record
“Shiralee”, Major West Road,
Cowra, NSW Australia 2794
Note: Although the articles published by the Australian Biodiversity Record always remain the Intellectual Property of the authors concerned, it is an expressed condition of publication that articles may be freely copied by any person and distributed worldwide by any means whatsoever for the sole purpose of research or criticism. All articles so copied from the Australian Biodiversity Record must include full bibliographic data that identifies the author name/s, the journal name and number, and date of publication. Therefore, the Australian Biodiversity Record recommends that any article copied be a full and complete copy to ensure that due credit is given to authors and to also allow their information to be considered in accurate context.

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Taxonomy Forum ]