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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Peninsular Banded Gecko - Coleonyx switaki switaki

(Murphy, 1974)
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Peninsular Banded Gecko California Range Map
Range in California: Red

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Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko
  Adult female, San Diego County  
Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko
Adult male, San Diego County Adult female, San Diego County Hatchling, San Diego County
© Jason Jones
Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko
Adult, San Diego County,
© Dick Bartlett
Adult, San Diego County,
© Dick Bartlett
Juvenile, San Diego County, © Anish Yelekar
Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko
Adult, San Diego County, © Chris Gruenwald Juvenile, San Diego County
© Kevin Law
Juvenile, San Diego County
© Kevin Law
Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko Peninsular Banded Gecko  
Sub-adult, San Diego County
© William Flaxington
Adult, San Diego County. © Bruce Edley  
Peninsular Banded Gecko Great Basin Collared Lizard    
Peninsular Banded Geckos, left,
have smooth skin with small granular scales interspersed with larger tubercles, which will help distinguish them from Desert Banded Geckos (C. v. variegatus) right, which have smooth skin with small granular scales but no tubercles.

   
Habitat
Peninsular Banded Gecko Habitat Peninsular Banded Gecko Habitat Peninsular Banded Gecko Habitat Peninsular Banded Gecko Habitat
Habitat, San Diego County Habitat, San Diego County Habitat, Imperial County Habitat, San Diego County
Peninsular Banded Gecko Habitat Peninsular Banded Gecko Habitat    
An isolated population of C. switaki occurs in the
Coyote Mountains of Imperial County, seen above.
   
Description

Size
2 - 3.5 Inches long (5.1 - 8.6 cm) from snout to vent. The largest native Gecko species in California.
Appearance
A small lizard with a triangular head, distinctly wider than the neck. Movable eyelids, vertical pupils. Skin is soft with fine granular scales and tubercles on the upper sides, back, neck, and the upper base of the tail. Toes are slender. Tail is constricted at the base, with light and dark rings.

Color pattern is variable, depending on habitat - from light gray, beige, yellowish, reddish brown to dark brown. Numerous round brown spots, and sometimes pale crossbands made up of round pale spots. During breeding season, males develop yellow coloring on body. Hatchlings are born with bright yellow or orange coloring and a distinctly black and white banded tail.
Behavior
The natural history of this gecko is not well-known. Secretive, noctural, hides by day in deep crevices. Active in fairly cool ambient temperatures during periods of increased humidity, typically spring through fall. Hibernates through the winter.
Curls the tail up and waves it back and forth off the ground when stalking prey.
When grasped, this gecko may emit a short squeak. When threatened, it may drop its tail to distract a predator. The tail will grow back.
Diet
Not well known. Small invertebrates probably make up the bulk of the diet.
Reproduction
Most likely, the breeding season lasts from Spring to Summer, May to July. Females lay one or two eggs, roughly three weeks after mating, and may lay eggs several times each season. Eggs hatch after around two months, in late summer to early fall.
Range
In California, inhabits the arid desert slopes of the eastern side of the Peninsular Ranges from near Borrego Springs south to the Baja California border. An isoloated population occurs in the Coyote Mountains of Imperial County. Ranges farther south in Baja California along the eastern edge of the mountains to near Santa Rosalia. From near sea level to over 2,000 ft. (700 m).
Habitat
Found in arid rocky areas on flatlands, canyons, thornscrub, especially where there are large boulders and rock outcrops, and where vegetation is sparse.
Taxonomic Notes
Described in 1973.
Conservation Issues  (Conservation Status)
Listed as Threatened under the California Endangered Species Act due to its limited range. Protected from collection and possession without a permit.

Taxonomy
Family Gekkonidae (Eublepharidae) Eyelid Geckos Boulenger, 1883
Genus Coleonyx Banded Geckos Gray, 1845
Species switaki Switak's Banded Gecko (Murphy, 1974)
Subspecies


switaki Peninsular Banded Gecko (Murphy, 1974)
Original Description
(Murphy, 1974) - Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, Vol. 40, No. 4, p. 87

from Original Description Citations for the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America © Ellin Beltz

Meaning of the Scientific Name
Coleonyx - Greek koleos sheath and onyx nail, talon or claw- refers to sheathed claws
switaki
- honors Switak, Karl H.

from Scientific and Common Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America - Explained © Ellin Beltz

Alternate Names
Coleonyx switaki - Barefoot Gecko
Barefoot Banded Gecko
Peninsular Barefoot Gecko

Related or Similar California Lizards
Desert Banded Gecko - C. v. variegatus

More Information and References
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Lemm, Jeffrey. Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of the San Diego Region (California Natural History Guides). University of California Press, 2006.

Stebbins, Robert C., and McGinnis, Samuel M.  Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of California: Revised Edition (California Natural History Guides) University of California Press, 2012.

Stebbins, Robert C. California Amphibians and Reptiles. The University of California Press, 1972.

Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003.

Behler, John L., and F. Wayne King. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Powell, Robert., Joseph T. Collins, and Errol D. Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. The University Press of Kansas, 1998.

Bartlett, R. D. & Patricia P. Bartlett. Guide and Reference to the Turtles and Lizards of Western North America (North of Mexico) and Hawaii. University Press of Florida, 2009.

Jones, Lawrence, Rob Lovich, editors. Lizards of the American Southwest: A Photographic Field Guide. Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2009.

Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Lizards, Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Cornell University Press, 1946.

Grismer, L. Lee. Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California, Including Its Pacific Islands and the Islands in the Sea of Cortés. The University of California Press, 2002.

McPeak, Ron H. Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California. Sea Challengers, 2000.

Thelander, Carl G., editor in chief. Life on the Edge - A Guide to California's Endangered Natural Resources - Wildlife. Berkeley: Bio Systems Books, 1994.



Conservation Status

The following status listings come from the Special Animals List and the Endangered and Threatened Animals List which are published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.



Organization
Status Listing
U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) None
California Endangered Species Act (CESA) ST - 10/2/80 Threatened
California Department of Fish and Wildlife None
Bureau of Land Management None
USDA Forest Service None


 

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