Persian leaf-toed gecko (Hemidactylus persicus)

Also known as: Persian gecko
Synonyms: Hemidactylus bornmuelleri
GenusHemidactylus (1)
SizeSnout-vent length: up to 9 cm (2)

This species has not yet been classified by the IUCN.

The Persian leaf-toed gecko is a member of a species-rich group of reptiles possessing unique, leaf-like adhesive pads that do not reach to the toe-tips, a feature alluded to by the name Hemidactylus, which means ‘half-finger’ in Latin (3). This relatively large gecko has a pointed snout, curved forehead and a cylindrical, tapering tail. The upper-body surface is covered in small, irregular, flat scales mixed with rather large, triangular, ridged tubercles, which are loosely arranged into 16 lines running along the length of the body. The snout is covered in large, curved scales, with the largest scales sitting between the eyes and the nostrils (4). The pale yellowish-brown skin of the Persian leaf-toed gecko is very fragile and breaks easily, forming conspicuous scars (2). Several faint brownish bands traverse the upperside of the body, with the tubercles being almost black, and the lips are whitish (4).      

The Persian leaf-toed gecko is known from arid regions in the Middle East and South Asia, ranging from northern Oman and the United Arab Emirates through the Arabian Peninsula to southern Iran, Pakistan and northern India (5).

The Persian leaf-toed gecko inhabits rocky areas in arid regions, including those in limestone outcrops were it clings to cliffs, boulders and bushes (2).

While very little is known about the biology of the Persian leaf-toad gecko, most geckos are active at night and feed on a variety of insects. Many use their specially adapted feet to climb vertical surfaces while foraging. They are also well-known for their well-developed larynx and vocal cords, which allows them to produce a diversity of vocalisations, and these sounds, along with visual and chemical signals, are highly important during courtship. Most geckos lay two eggs with a hard, calcareous shell (6). 

It is not known if there are any major threats to the Persian leaf-toed gecko.

The Persian leaf-toed gecko has not been the target of any known conservation measures; however, the species inhabits some rocky outcrops in the United Arab Emirates which are protected as part of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Part of this reserve, though, is unfenced and heavily disturbed and, therefore, may require additional protection (2).

To find out more about the conservation of reptiles, see:

For further information on conservation in the United Arab Emirates, see:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life (September, 2010)
  2. Gardner, A.S. (2009) Two new gecko species records for the United Arab Emirates: Pristurus carteri (Gray, 1863) and Hemidactylus persicus Anderson, 1872. Tribulus, 18: 18-23.
  3. Firouz, E. (2005) The Complete Fauna of Iran. I. B. Tauris Publishers, London.
  4. Boulenger, G.A. (2001) Catalogue of the Lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume 1. Adamant Media Corporation, Boston.
  5. The Reptile Database (September, 2010)
  6. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.