Gekko gecko (Linnaeus, 1758)

Kaiser, Hinrich, Carvalho, Venancio Lopes, Ceballos, Jester, Freed, Paul, Heacox, Scott, Lester, Barbara, Richards, Stephen J., Trainor, Colin R., Sanchez, Caitlin & O'Shea, Mark, 2011, The herpetofauna of Timor-Leste: a first report, ZooKeys 109, pp. 19-86 : 34-36

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scientific name

Gekko gecko (Linnaeus, 1758)


Gekko gecko (Linnaeus, 1758) Fig. 11 View Figure 11

Common names.

(E) Tokay Gecko. (T) Toke.

The Tetun common names for geckos, teki (smaller geckos) and toke (the large tokay) are also used as slang meaning to identify young single women or men, respectively.


Tokay geckos are easily identified by their striking orange dorsal patterning ( Fig. 11 View Figure 11 ), as well as by their aggressive open-mouth display when encountering a threat. They also have a distinctive vocalization ( “to-keh”) that gave them their common name. The dark-light banding pattern on the tail of hatchling Gekko gecko may at first glance be confused with a similar pattern on the tails of some bent-toed geckos (genus Cyrtodactylus ). Based on overall habitat needs, if a gecko with a banded tail is encountered on the walls of human habitations in Timor-Leste, it is most likely Gekko gecko . Geckos of the genus Cyrtodactylus lack the dilated scansors necessary for climbing walls and are generally not associated with man-made structures.

Collection and natural history.

We found tokay geckos inhabiting nearly all of the hotels and guest houses in which we stayed, in addition to many other buildings and structures, as well as wooded regions in Lautém District (e.g., Loré 1 village). Tokay geckos were not present at the higher altitude localities we searched (above 1000 m). We collected one adult ( Fig. 11 View Figure 11 upper) and three juveniles (e.g., Fig. 11 View Figure 11 lower) to secure vouchers and then discontinued the collection of this species. Individuals were observed preying on insects attracted by artificial light sources as well as on smaller geckos (e.g., Hemidactylus frenatus ). One particularly aggressive individual even attacked a smaller gecko that we had stunned using a blowgun and placed into a plastic bag for safekeeping, and pulled it behind a bamboo wall inside one of our sleeping cabins. Eggs of what we presumed to be Gekko gecko from their size, and by the presence of adult tokays in the immediate vicinity of the clutches, were discovered in communal groups in rotting logs, on the walls of huts, and in tree holes. Based on their pattern of distribution and habits, it is possible that tokay geckos were introduced to Timor via inter-island trading or during colonization.