Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica)

This is the first time I was able to see a gecko:
geckoAnd I think he has seen me too. 😉

Geckos are not endemic to Madeira Island. The only endemic reptile in Madeira is the common Lacerta dugesii (known locally as “lagartixa”) but it is not a gecko.

The gecko I found is Tarentola mauritanica, an introduced species. Tarentola mauritanica was first reported in Funchal more than 20 years ago. Now it is spread from Garajau (7km east of Funchal) to Camara de Lobos (west of Funchal). There is another gecko species, Hemidactylus mabouia, that was detected in 2001, in Funchal.

I saw two specimens of Tarentola mauritanica apart from each other about 1 km, close to Camara de Lobos. It was the first time I saw a gecko. I had never seen one in several years and now I was able to see two individuals in just a few days. Geckos are nocturnal but both specimens were seen in day light. One of them was even seen sunbathing side by side with the common “lagartixa” (see photos below).

The endemic species seem to accept quite well the introduced gecko. Lagartixas behaved as the gecko was one of its own, standing next to it and even walking on top of the gecko’s body. None of the species behaved as the other was a competitor (maybe because one is nocturnal and the other diurnal, or maybe the gecko was seen as one more “lagartixa”…).

The next photos show a “lagartixa” and the gecko side by side:
lagartixa-geckoThe geckos have more robust bodies, larger heads with triangular form, and bigger eyes.

The two species, gecko and lagartixas, sunbathing side by side:
gecko-lagartixa
gecko-lagartixa2
And a video that captured the moment when the gecko run away and hide below another rock:

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