Kotschy’s Gecko (Cyrtopodion kotschyi)


Description

Kotschy’s Gecko can reach a length of up to 10 cm, including its tail. It has typical gecko morphology, with the exception of the slender tail and limbs, giving it a lizard like appearance from a distance (1).  There are tubercles present on the dorsal surface (including tails which have not previously fallen off, and there are no adhesive pads on the toes (1). Sexual dimorphism is shown by the females being larger than the males.

The colour pattern can be variable.  They can be observed with grey to grey-brown colouring with dark cross bands.  A dark brown to black-red with a yellow or orange ventral surface can also be seen (1). This gecko species is a cryptic species, as it can use disruptive colouration to camouflage its body (2).

There are variations in colours, scaling, tubercles and number & size of belly scales. Due to these variations, there are at least 17 sub-species that are recognised, mostly distributed within the Aegean islands (1). This species is also known as Cyrtodactylus kotschyi and Tenuidactylus kotschyi (1) (2). It has a superficial appearance to other gecko’s and lizards, but for the most part this gecko is easily distinguished from other species.

Habitat

Usually Kotschy’s Gecko is found on the ground, in dry stony and rocky habitats, as well as in low-lying scrub, stone walls, cliffs and outside of buildings (1). It typically occurs at low altitudes, but can be found up to 1400 m above sea level (1). It is often encountered in habitats alongside wall lizards.

Life Cycle

Females generally lay clutches with an average of two eggs (2), which are placed under stones or within cracks (1). The eggs take around 11 to 18 weeks until they hatch (1). The hatchlings are usually two centimetres in length from snout to vent (2). Members of the opposite sex call to each other during mating season, with the call sounding like ‘chick’ being repeated (1).

Distribution

Cyrtopodion kotschyi is found throughout the east and south Balkans, east and south Bulgaria, Turkey, central and east Greece, as well as many of the Ionian and Aegean islands. It can also be found in south-east Italy and Cyprus (1).

Behaviour

Cyrtopodion kotschyi is a diurnal gecko species, which is mostly active during the early morning and evenings (2). In the north of its range it can be found within human habitation, but for the most part it avoids going into houses (1). Due to the lack of adhesive pads on their toes, C. kotschyi climbs less high than Moorish and Turkish Gecko’s but retains its agility (1). In areas where it occurs it is abundant.

Feeding

It feeds mainly on arthropods, with insects being the most common food source throughout the year. It is a sit and wait predator, which is shown by the fact that most of its prey items are mobile (2).

Conservation status

It is listed on the IUCN red list as having a status of Least Concern (3), also listed under Appendex III of BERN Convention (4).

References

Description written by Sheridan Willis (2009)

(1)   Arnold, E.N., 2004. A field guide to the reptiles and amphibians of Britain and Europe. 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers.

(2)   Valakos, E. and Vlachopanos, A. (1989). Note on the ecology of Cyrtodactylus kotschyi (Reptilia – Gekkonidae) in an insular ecosystem of the Aegean. Biologia Gallo-hellenica 15: p179 – 184

(3)   Cyrtopodion kotschyi in: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1 <www.iucnredlist.org> Downloaded on 01 July 2009

(4)   Europe, C.o., 2002. Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats: Bern Convention. [Online] Available at: http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/FR/Treaties/Html/104-3.htm [Accessed 23 July 2009]

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