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the urgent call to conserve endemic geckos

The Urgent Call To Conserve Galápagos’ Endemic Geckos

Introduced gecko species, and changes to their ecosystem, threaten the endemic Galapagos geckos. Phyllodactylus is a group of 11 endemic species that live in Galapagos. Six of these are found on inhabited islands. However, there has been surprisingly little research on the natural history, ecology and conservation of this group.



Three species of Phyllodactylus Geckos — P. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for 2022, three species of Phyllodactylus geckos — P. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022, P. darwini, P. galapagensis and P. This worrying status highlights the need for more data. The IUCN does not have a status for Phyllodactylus simpsoni or P. P. Data Deficient is the classification for baurii due to the limited amount of information available on its population.

Galapagos Conservancy, in response to this, funded a 2022 study led by Dr. Diego F. Cisneros Heredia, a researcher and professor at the University of San Francisco de Quito. The primary objective of the study was to shed more light on Galapagos’ endemic geckos by combining observations from the field with morphological and physiological analyses as well as genetic analyses. It also investigated the behavior of the locals towards these reptiles. The integration of data is crucial for understanding the impact that climate change will have on these species.

The Study

The study included 548 geckos of which 364 are endemic, and 184 are introduced. One notable observation was that native species are more likely to be found in natural ecosystems while introduced species prefer human settlements. The study revealed that endemic gecko prefer warm microhabitats whereas introduced gecko are more flexible in their movement. The study concludes that endemic species are threatened by introduced species, habitat changes and competition. This highlights the importance of effective conservation and education strategies in order to protect the enigmatic creatures.

Washington Tapia Dr., our General Director, stressed the importance of these findings. “This information will guide us in all that we do.” We not only promote our research but also any study that can provide useful data to protect the iconic Galapagos species.

We are committed to this cause at Galapagos Conservancy. We continue to work with institutions like USFQ and Galapagos National Park Directorate to collect vital information and implement specific measures that will ensure the long-term preservation of Galapagos biodiversity.



the urgent call to conserve endemic geckos
The gecko Phyllodactylus reissii is an introduced species that lives on walls and seeks refuge from predators in dry spaces or among wooden furniture. ©Juan Gallardo / Galápagos Conservancy


the urgent call to conserve endemic geckos
It’s common to find geckos inside homes. However, they feed on processed
products and unwanted insects in the household. ©Juan Gallardo / Galápagos Conservancy