- Taxon: Reptile
- Range: Monito Island, Puerto Rico
- Status: Listed as endangered on Oct. 15, 1982, proposed for delisting on Jan. 10, 2018.
The Monito gecko is the only species of the Sphaerodactylus genus found on Monito Island off the coast of Puerto Rico. It is a tiny reptile, usually measuring an inch and a half (3.5 centimeters) long. It has a gray body, a dark brown tail, and has two dark patches with a white dot on its neck.
Not much is known about the reproductive biology of this species, but it is believed their breeding season lasts from March through November. The population is currently estimated to have more than 7,000 individuals.
The gecko can be found on the ground, mostly hiding during the day within leaf litter and debris, and small crevasses and holes in the karst rock of Monito Island.
It is assumed the geckos feed on small invertebrates such as insects and spiders. However, there is no specific information regarding their feeding habits.
This gecko is only found in Monito Island. This island is part of the Mona and Monito Islands Nature Reserve of Puerto Rico managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (PRDNER). Monito Island is located about 50 miles (80 km) west of Puerto Rico’s mainland and 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Mona Island. Both islands are located between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The destruction and modification of habitat by humans, and the previous occurrence of introduced rats to Monito Island, represent the biggest threats to the species.
Due to controlled access to Monito Island and other protective measures set in place by the PRDNER, threats have been reduced. The PRDNER implemented a rat eradication program on Monito, and the island has been rat free since late 1999. Visitors are forbidden from visiting Monito Island without authorization, and it is given only to scientific research-related projects.
Subject matter experts
Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office
Address: PO Box 491, Boquerón, PR 00622
Telephone: 787-851-7297 / Fax: 787-851-7440
Designated critical habitat
Monito Island is designated as Critical Habitat for the Monito gecko.
Federal Register notices
The following Federal Register documents were automatically gathered by searching the Federal Register Official API with this species’ scientific name ordered by relevance. You can conduct your own search on the Federal Register website.
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