Monday, July 10, 2006

Gecko takes up Residence in Kansas

I think of geckos as being tropical sorts of creatures who have started working in the marketing department of a certain large insurance company. So I was caught of guard by this article in today's Lawrence Journal World. The Mediterranean Gecko, a non native lizard introduced to Florida has made it's way north to Kansas. One, caught in Johnson County, is on display at the Prairie Park Nature Center. So I will have to check this out. I also didn't realize that two alien lizards have made their way to Kansas.

The other lizard, the Italian Wall Lizard is even found in Lawrence and Topeka. Alien lizards of Topeka has great Italian Wall Lizard pictures. Googling this lizard shows that it has even made it to Long Island! I have seen these lizards around my home and thought they were some sort of I will have to watch more closely for them.

Image © 2001 Arie van der Meijden used with permission.

As an indication of how rapidly these lizards can spread, my 1958 edition of Peterson's A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians by Roger Conant shows theMediterraneann Gecko as being found in a few isolated Spots in the South and South West of the United States, and widespread in Cuba; the Italian Wall Lizard is not shown at all!

These lizards are just another example of the globalization of the planet's flora and fauna brought on by increased transportation, human disturbance of natural habitats and, perhaps global warming, allowing many of these exotic or tramp species to spread.

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