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Coleonyx variegatus, Western Banded Gecko
Dr. Jessie Maisano - The University of Texas at Austin
The Deep Scaly Project
Coleonyx variegatus
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Yale Peabody Museum (YPM 14383)

Image processing: Dr. Jessie Maisano
Publication Date: 06 May 2003


Coleonyx variegatus, the western banded gecko, ranges throughout the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, closely mirroring the combined Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. They inhabit desert and semi-arid environments in the northern part of this range, but extend into subtropical habitats in the south.

Coleonyx variegatus
Coleonyx variegatus distribution

There are as many as eight subspecies of Coleonyx variegatus, which appear to intergrade: the San Diego banded gecko (C. v. abbotti); the desert banded gecko (C. v. variegatus); the San Lucan banded gecko (C. v. peninsularis); the Utah banded gecko (C. v. utahensis); the Tucson banded gecko (C. v. bogerti); the Sonoran banded gecko (C. v. sonoriensis); the Santa Inez Island banded gecko (C. v. slevini); and the black-banded gecko (C. v. fasciatus). These subspecies are differentiated by a variety of features including scalation, preanal pore count, and color pattern.

Coleonyx variegatus is a eublepharid gecko. Eublepharids (see also Hemitheconyx caudicinctus, the African fat-tailed gecko) have a worldwide distribution including North and Central America, Asia (including Japan), and Africa. This clade, also known as the 'eyelid geckos', is characterized in part by the presence of eyelids, a supratemporal bone, and an angular bone, all features that can be seen in the animations above. Their combination of features indicate that eublepharids are the most basal lineage of gekkos.

About the Species

This frozen specimen originated in the pet trade, and no locality information is available. It was made available to the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Dr. Jessie Maisano of The University of Texas and Dr. Jacques Gauthier of Yale University. Funding for scanning was provided by an NSF grant (DEB-0132227) to Dr. Jack Sites of Brigham Young University. Funding for image processing was provided by a National Science Foundation Assembling the Tree of Life grant (EF-0334961), The Deep Scaly Project: Resolving Squamate Phylogeny using Genomic and Morphological Approaches, to Drs. Jacques Gauthier of Yale University, Maureen Kearney of the Field Museum, Jessie Maisano of The University of Texas at Austin, Tod Reeder of San Diego State University, Olivier Rieppel of the Field Museum, Jack Sites of Brigham Young University, and John Wiens of SUNY Stonybrook.

About this Specimen

The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 17 December 2002 along the coronal axis for a total of 576 slices. Each slice is 0.0324 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.0324 mm and a field of reconstruction of 10 mm.

About the


Bertoni, R.M. 1995. Banded geckos. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine 1995 (Mar./Apr.):60-67.

Dixon, J. R. 1970. Coleonyx variegatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 96:1-4.

Girard, F. 1994. Care and breeding of a North American gecko, Coleonyx variegatus, David 1859. Herptile: Journal of the International Herpetological Society 19:67-70.

Kluge, A. G. 1975. Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary trends in the Eublepharine lizard genus Coleonyx. Copeia 1975:24-35.

Parker, W. S. 1972. Aspects of the ecology of a Sonoran desert population of the western banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus (Sauria, Eublepharinae). American Midland Naturalist 88:209-224.

Parker, W. S., and E. R. Pianka. 1974. Further ecological observations on the western banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus. Copeia 1974:528-531.

Coleonyx variegatus page from the San Diego Natural History Museum Field Guide

Eublepharidae page from the Cyberlizard

& Links

Three-dimensional volumetric renderings of the skull with the scleral ossicles, hyoid and jaw removed, and of the isolated left mandible. All are less than 2mb.

Skull pitch movie

Skull roll movie

Mandible yaw movie

Mandible pitch movie

Mandible roll movie


To cite this page: Dr. Jessie Maisano, The Deep Scaly Project, 2003, "Coleonyx variegatus" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 22, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Coleonyx_variegatus/.

©2002-20019 - UTCT/DigiMorph Funding by NSF