Anole – Gecko Habitat Overlap

Although it may seem paradoxical given their natural history, I often see nocturnal geckos basking during the day. They usually occupy trunks between 1-3m, which is prime trunk-ground and trunk ecomorph territory. In Miami we have two of the former (A. sagrei and A. cristatellus), and one of the latter (A. distichus). Here is a photo fresh from today showing such overlap in habitat use. I have yet to see any interactions between anoles and geckos in Miami, has anyone else observed any here or elsewhere?

Brown anole Anolis sagrei and gecko (Hemidactylus sp., probably mabouia) sharing habitat space_caption

Cuban brown anole (Anolis sagrei – left) and gecko (Hemidactylus sp., most likely H. mabouia – right) sharing habitat space

Of note – this was taken 23rd Feb 2014 in south Miami (FL) at roughly 1:30pm. It’s hot and sunny.

16 thoughts on “Anole – Gecko Habitat Overlap

  1. 3 Non-Natives on 1 tree!
    Top to bottom;
    Mediterranean Gecko, (Hemidactylus turcicus)
    Jamaica Giant Anole, (Anolis garmani)
    Giant Day Gecko, (Phelsuma grandis)
    Dade Co. Florida, 09-16-2012

    1. Wow! That is awesome! Where in Dade county? (feel free to email me – jamesTstroud (at)

      I haven’t seen any Phelsuma around here yet!

      1. Yes they were breeding.
        & as for the location…..I’m sorry to inform everyone that this location is gone!
        It is now reduced to million dollar+ homes, most of which will undoubtedly be occupied by non-sympathetic humans .
        This was the friendliest population of A. garmani & P. grandis in Florida, & the most northern population of P. grandis in the state. It was a sad day when it happened.

  2. Hi mate, I’ve seen big male sagrei eating young Hemidactylus a few times on Marco Island (four occasions that I can clearly remember). All occasions were in the early morning, but unfortunately I’ve only ever observed it after the gecko had already been grabbed so can’t tell you the exact context. I’ve also seen Hemidactylus pop out of retreats in the daytime during apparent territorial disputes, so I imagine Anole predation could easily involve a vanquished gecko getting nailed as it tried to find somewhere to hide!

  3. It’s certainly possible to see interactions between anoles and native geckos, too. I’ve seen a situation similar to the posted photo involving Anolis brevirostris and Aristelliger expectatus on Hispaniola. Another situation arises at night when Anolis distichus gather around the same lights that attract the non-native Hemidactylus angulatus and the native Aristelliger lar.

    I’ve also noticed Hemidactylus mabouia is prone to basking. I wonder if some individuals choose retreats that overheat during the day. Is the animal in your photo in full sun or in the shade?

  4. In Chiayi County, southwestern Taiwan, the common house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) can often be seen during the day basking. They tend to do so on cloudy or cooler days. In my study area they are sympatric with an exotic invasive brown anole (Anolis sagrei) population. I rarely see the two species occupy the same perches. I have however recorded and reported on an instance of A. sagrei predation on a hatchling of H. frenatus (citation below). Last year I also found an A. sagrei male and a H. frenatus male sheltering inside an electricity distribution box (attached photo).

    Note: there is a strong likelihood that in Taiwan H. frenatus is also an exotic invasive species.

    Norval, G. 2007. A report on male Anolis sagrei saurophagy in Chiayi County, Taiwan. Herpetological Bulletin. 102: 34–37.

  5. I see brown anoles staying up “late” and encroaching on the territory of the geckos near my porch light in the early evening every once in a while. (North Coral Gables) The bug feast near my light must be hard to pass up :-)

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