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Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Southern New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996), southwestern Texas (Dixon 2000), and adjacent northern Mexico, where it is widely distributed south to northeastern Durango and and southern Coahuila (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999, Stebbins 2003).

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Range Description

Southern New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996), southwestern Texas (Dixon 2000), and adjacent northern Mexico, where it is widely distributed south to northeastern Durango and southern Coahuila (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999, Stebbins 2003).
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Geographic Range

Texas banded geckos are found in Texas and from parts of Southern New Mexico, USA to Northeastern Mexico. In Texas, they are found mainly in the Trans-Pecos region in the southwest and also in western parts of the South Texas thorn scrub.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Continent: Middle-America North-America
Distribution: USA (W Texas, SE New Mexico),  Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Durango, Tamaulipas)  
Type locality: Helotes, Bexar County, Texas.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Adults on average are 10.16-12.07 cm with a snout-vent length of 53.8 mm (Dial & Fitzpatrick 1981). Coleonyx brevis displays sexual dimorphism: females are larger than males. This gecko has a slender body with a tail of equal length. Its head is large and it has large eyes with vertical pupils and moveable eyelids. The toes are very slender and there are no pads. The dorsal side of C. brevis is covered with granular scales. The ventral side is slightly translucent. They are brownish in color and have alternating cross bands of brown and pale yellow. They can be recognized by the dark and light colored blotches and spots on their bodies, which become more prevalent with age (University of Texas 1998).

Range mass: 1.9 to 3.3 g.

Average mass: 2.60 g.

Range length: 10.1 to 12.1 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger

  • Dial, B., L. Fitzpatrick. 1981. The Energetic Costs of Tail Autotomy to Reproduction in the Lizard Coleonyx brevis. Oecologia, 51: 310-317.
  • University of Texas College of Natural Sciences and the Texas Memorial Museum, 1998. "Herps of Texas-Lizards" (On-line). Accessed March 19, 2001 at http://www.zo.utexas.edu/research/txherps/lizards/coleonyx.brevis.html.
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Size

Length: 12 cm

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Type Information

Paralectotype for Coleonyx brevis
Catalog Number: USNM 50041
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1883
Locality: Helotes, Bexar, Texas, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1945. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10 (11): 185.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 163.
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Paralectotype for Coleonyx brevis
Catalog Number: USNM 50040
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1883
Locality: Helotes, Bexar, Texas, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1945. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10 (11): 185.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 163.
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Paralectotype for Coleonyx brevis
Catalog Number: USNM 42473
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1883
Locality: Helotes, Bexar, Texas, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1945. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10 (11): 185.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 163.
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Paralectotype for Coleonyx brevis
Catalog Number: USNM 42472
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1883
Locality: Helotes, Bexar, Texas, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1945. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10 (11): 185.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 163.
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Paralectotype for Coleonyx brevis
Catalog Number: USNM 42471
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1883
Locality: Helotes, Bexar, Texas, United States, North America
  • Paralectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1945. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10 (11): 185.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 163.
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Lectotype; Syntype for Coleonyx brevis
Catalog Number: USNM 13627
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1883
Locality: Helotes, Bexar, Texas, United States, North America
  • Lectotype: Klauber, L. M. 1945. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10 (11): 185.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 163.; Syntype: Klauber, L. M. 1945. Trans. San Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 10 (11): 185.; Stejneger, L. 1893. North American Fauna. 7: 163.
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Ecology

Habitat

Chihuahuan Desert Habitat

This taxon is found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which is one of the most biologically diverse arid regions on Earth. This ecoregion extends from within the United States south into Mexico. This desert is sheltered from the influence of other arid regions such as the Sonoran Desert by the large mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres. This isolation has allowed the evolution of many endemic species; most notable is the high number of endemic plants; in fact, there are a total of 653 vertebrate taxa recorded in the Chihuahuan Desert.  Moreover, this ecoregion also sustains some of the last extant populations of Mexican Prairie Dog, wild American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope.

The dominant plant species throughout the Chihuahuan Desert is Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata). Depending on diverse factors such as type of soil, altitude, and degree of slope, L. tridentata can occur in association with other species. More generally, an association between L. tridentata, American Tarbush (Flourensia cernua) and Viscid Acacia (Acacia neovernicosa) dominates the northernmost portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. The meridional portion is abundant in Yucca and Opuntia, and the southernmost portion is inhabited by Mexican Fire-barrel Cactus (Ferocactus pilosus) and Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus polyacanthus). Herbaceous elements such as Gypsum Grama (Chondrosum ramosa), Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Hairy Grama (Chondrosum hirsuta), among others, become dominant near the Sierra Madre Occidental. In western Coahuila State, Lecheguilla Agave (Agave lechuguilla), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Purple Prickly-pear (Opuntia macrocentra) and Rainbow Cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus) are the dominant vascular plants.

Because of its recent origin, few warm-blooded vertebrates are restricted to the Chihuahuan Desert scrub. However, the Chihuahuan Desert supports a large number of wide-ranging mammals, such as the Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana), Robust Cottontail (Sylvilagus robustus EN); Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Grey Fox (Unocyon cineroargentinus), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Collared Peccary or Javelina (Pecari tajacu), Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus auduboni), Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys sp.), pocket mice (Perognathus spp.), Woodrats (Neotoma spp.) and Deer Mice (Peromyscus spp). With only 24 individuals recorded in the state of Chihuahua Antilocapra americana is one of the most highly endangered taxa that inhabits this desert. The ecoregion also contains a small wild population of the highly endangered American Bison (Bison bison) and scattered populations of the highly endangered Mexican Prairie Dog (Cynomys mexicanus), as well as the Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

The Chihuahuan Desert herpetofauna typifies this ecoregion.Several lizard species are centered in the Chihuahuan Desert, and include the Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum); Texas Banded Gecko (Coleonyx brevis), often found under rocks in limestone foothills; Reticulate Gecko (C. reticulatus); Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus); several species of spiny lizards (Scelopoprus spp.); and the Western Marbled Whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris marmoratus). Two other whiptails, the New Mexico Whiptail (C. neomexicanus) and the Common Checkered Whiptail (C. tesselatus) occur as all-female parthenogenic clone populations in select disturbed habitats.

Representative snakes include the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake (Bogertophis subocularis), Texas Blackhead Snake (Tantilla atriceps), and Sr (Masticophis taeniatus) and Neotropical Whipsnake (M. flagellum lineatus). Endemic turtles include the Bolsón Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus), Coahuilan Box Turtle (Terrapene coahuila) and several species of softshell turtles. Some reptiles and amphibians restricted to the Madrean sky island habitats include the Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi), Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (C. pricei), Northern Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira septentrionalis), Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), and Canyon Spotted Whiptail (Cnemidophorus burti).

There are thirty anuran species occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert: Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chircahuaensis); Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans); Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides); Cliff Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus marnockii); Spotted Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus guttilatus); Tarahumara Barking Frog (Craugastor tarahumaraensis); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Montezuma Leopard Frog (Lithobates montezumae); Brown's Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti); Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); New Mexico Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata); Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons); Pine Toad (Incilius occidentalis); Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii); Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii); Plateau Toad (Anaxyrus compactilis); Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus); Dwarf Toad (Incilius canaliferus); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis); Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps); and Longfoot Chirping Toad (Eleutherodactylus longipes VU). The sole salamander occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert is the Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

Common bird species include the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and the rare Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus). Geococcyx californianus), Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostra), Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), Scott’s Oriole (Icterus parisorum), Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata), Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens), Worthen’s Sparrow (Spizella wortheni), and Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). In addition, numerous raptors inhabit the Chihuahuan Desert and include the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi).

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Comments: Habitats include rocky limestone foothills with desert scrub vegetation such as creosotebush, acacia, and juniper (Degenhardt et al. 1996); canyons, creviced escarpments, and low earthen hills. The species is particularly common in areas of flat rock and succulent vegetative debris. When inactive, individuals hide under rocks, debris, or in crevices (Smith 1946, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999), and they may be found under debris near human habitations (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Eggs are laid probably underground or under rocks.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Habitats include rocky limestone foothills with desert scrub vegetation such as creosote bush, acacia, and juniper (Degenhardt et al. 1996); canyons, creviced escarpments, and low earthen hills. The species is particularly common in areas of flat rock and succulent vegetative debris. When inactive, individuals hide under rocks, debris, or in crevices (Smith 1946, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999), and they may be found under debris near human habitations (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Eggs are laid probably underground or under rocks. The species also occurs on sand dunes.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Coleonyx brevis is found in dry, rocky areas. It inhabits burrows or dens, usually beneath flat rocks or in crevices. When active, C. brevis usually remains on the substrate, rarely climbing on rocks or branches.

Habitat Regions: temperate

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats insects and spiders (Conant 1975).

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Food Habits

Coleonyx brevis is mainly insectivorous and has a very wide variety of prey. It is nocturnal, so has a relatively short foraging time. They begin feeding at sundown and end about 3-4 hours later, when temperatures become too low for foraging. For this reason, C. brevis does not have a very specialized diet. It tends to eat most prey encountered in order to get enough to survive. The main prey of C. brevis is termites and cicadellids, while they also feed on spiders, solpugids, crickets, and moths. The type of prey suggests that this species is an active forager. They search for prey in several microhabitats and also dig or turn items in order to find food.

When foraging, the body is in an elevated position and the tail is raised to the height of the body and is laterally curved. There are also frequent tongue flicks to the substrate and surrounding objects. When prey is detected, either from motion or chemoreception, C. brevis approaches it with a series of short runs. It then arks its head over the prey and strikes downward. After biting the prey, the gecko usually shakes it vigorously 3-4 times.

Animal Foods: insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore , Eats non-insect arthropods)

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Texas banded geckos eat many invertebrates, and are prey to many vertebrates.

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Predation

Coleonyx brevis is preyed upon by many mammal and bird species, and also by many species of snakes that focus primarily on lizards, such as Hypsiglena torquata, Salvadora deserticola, and  Masticophis flagellum.

Known Predators:

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300

Comments: This species is represented by many occurrences; it is known from about 40 counties in Texas (virtually all of the counties within its range extent in Texas), at least two dozen collection sites in New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996), and additional sites in Mexico.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Coleonyx brevis emits a squeak in order to signal territory or breeding. During foraging and feeding, C. brevis relies on visual cues, which can be reinforced by chemical cues before an attack occurs. This strategy is imortant because it prevents the attack of harmful organisms and also helps in finding more prey in a short foraging time.

Communication Channels: acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Cycle

Development

When the eggs hatch, the young C. brevis look like small adults. Soon after they are born, the young reach sexual maturity.

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Reproduction

Lays clutches of 2 eggs, April to June.

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Texas banded geckos are oviparous, their reproductive season is from March-April. Average clutch size is two eggs, and approximately 2-3 clutches are produced each breeding season.

Fertilization is internal. Follicles appear as yellow masses in the oviducts, which change to white at ovulation. Yolk is deposited for 30-32 days after the initiation of vitellogenisis (the formation of the yolk of an egg). About ten days after the yolk is deposited, oviposition takes place. The female C. brevis lays her eggs in an underground burrow or den.

The eggs hatch about two months after being layed, and at this point the young C. brevis are similar in appearance to the adult C. brevis, only smaller in size. Soon after they are born, the young reach sexual maturity.

Breeding season: March-April

Average gestation period: 42 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous

Yolk is deposited for 30-32 days after the initiation of vitellogenisis (the formation of the yolk of an egg). About ten days after the yolk is deposited, oviposition takes place. The female C. brevis lays her eggs in an underground burrow or den.

During vitellogenisis, the female uses energy stored as lipids in carcass, fat body (corpora adiposa), and tail tissue. The utilization of lipid reserves allows the maximization of offspring size and quality by increasing mass and energy content of hatchlings. By the time oviposition takes place, all lipid reserves are depleted.

Parental Investment: pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female)

  • Dial, B., L. Fitzpatrick. 1981. The Energetic Costs of Tail Autotomy to Reproduction in the Lizard Coleonyx brevis. Oecologia, 51: 310-317.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2007

Assessor/s
Hammerson, G.A., Vazquez Díaz, J., Gadsden. H., Quintero Díaz, G.E., Ponce-Campos, P. & Lavin, P.

Reviewer/s
Cox, N., Chanson, J.S. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern due to its wide distribution. The extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and abundance appear to be relatively stable and because no major threats have been identified.
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US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance probably are relatively stable.

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

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Population

Population
Abundant where it occurs. This species is represented by many occurrences; it is known from about 40 counties in Texas (virtually all of the counties within its range extent in Texas), at least two dozen collection sites in New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996), and additional sites in Mexico. Its population size is unknown, but the species is common within its range in Texas (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999) and New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1999). The extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and abundance are probably relatively stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Degree of Threat: Low

Comments: No major threats have been identified.

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Major Threats
No major threats have been identified.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species currently is not in need of any major conservation measures.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Coleonyx brevis do not have any significant adverse affect on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Coleonyx brevis positively benifits humans by eating and controlling insect pests such as termites and cicadellids.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Coleonyx brevis

Coleonyx brevis, commonly known as the Texas Banded Gecko, is a species of small gecko native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Contents

Description

Texas Banded Geckos are small, terrestrial lizards, rarely exceeding 4 in (10 cm) in length. They have alternating bands of yellow and brown or pink colored banding down their body, generally with black accenting on the bands, and sometimes with varying degrees of black speckling.

Distribution

C. brevis is found in western Texas and in southeastern New Mexico in the United States, and in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Durango in Mexico. They prefer semi-arid habitats, and are often found around rock piles or canyon crevices.

Behavior

Primarily nocturnal and carnivorous, they will consume almost any kind of small arthropods. They are capable of vocalizing, and sometimes emit squeaking noises, most often when harassed or handled. Reproduction occurs in the late spring, and they lay one or two eggs, which are surprisingly large compared to the size of the gecko.

In captivity

Texas Banded Geckos are not frequently found in captivity, but due to their small size and docile nature, they can make good captives. They do not hold any particular conservation status.

References

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: For many years Coleonyx geckos were placed in the family Gekkonidae. In a cladistic analysis of the Gekkonoidea, Kluge (1987) placed the genus Coleonyx in the family Eublepharidae (subfamily Eublepharinae), recognized as distinct from the Gekkonidae. Bartlett and Bartlett (1999), Grismer (2002), and Stebbins (2003) likewise placed Coleonyx in the Eublepharidae, whereas Dixon (2000) retained Coleonyx in the Gekkonidae.

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