Jamison, S., K. Tamar, A. Slavenko & S. Meiri

In Issues 2017

Tarentola annularis (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae): a new invasive species in Israel. pp. 299-303 plus Supplementary material.

Abstract. In recent years, unusually large geckos have been sighted in Kibbutz Ein Gedi in the Judean Desert, Israel. These geckos are morphologically different from the local, Sinai fan-fingered gecko (Ptyodactylus guttatus), one of the largest gecko species in Israel. In order to identify this population to species level and its origin, we examined specimens both morphologically and genetically. All specimens were identified as Tarentola annularis, which constitutes the first confirmed documentation of this taxon from Israel and Asia as a whole. Tarentola annularis is a robust gecko occurring throughout North Africa including Egypt, but the validity of its sightings in the Sinai and Arabian Peninsulas has been discounted. The absence of this species from Sinai and its popularity in the worldwide pet trade, including in Israel, suggest that Tarentola annularis is a new invasive species in Israel. This stout and aggressive species is a successful invader elsewhere and poses a great threat to native local reptiles, large arthropods, and small mammals. We therefore strongly recommend it be eradicated as long as this is still feasible.
Key words. Gekkota, Invasive species, Pet trade, Phyllodactylidae, Reptilia.

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