Hemidactylus – Common geckos

They can gaze at the moon, cling to the walls, shed their skin, and sing their tunes

One of the most widespread and recognized groups of geckos that inhabit a diverse range of environments across the globe. These geckos have made themselves at home in virtually every tropical and subtropical region, often living in close quarters with humans. The house gecko, a familiar sight in many warm climates, is known for its propensity to inhabit human dwellings, offering an excellent example of wildlife adaptation to urban environments.

The adaptability and success of Hemidactylus geckos can be attributed to several distinctive biological characteristics. One of their most notable features is their large, sensitive eyes, which are well-adapted to low-light conditions. These eyes are crucial for their nocturnal lifestyle, allowing them to navigate and hunt effectively after dark when many prey insects are active.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating adaptations of these geckos is the specialized toe pads that enable them to cling to and easily climb smooth vertical surfaces. These toe pads are covered with tiny hair-like structures called setae, which increase the surface area and use van der Waals forces to stick to surfaces at a molecular level. This remarkable ability allows them to access food sources and evade predators in ways many other animals cannot.

Another survival trait is their capability for caudal autotomy, where they can self-amputate their tail in response to predation. The detached tail wriggles, distracting the predator and giving the gecko a chance to escape. Even more impressive is their ability to regenerate the lost tail, although the new one often differs in texture and coloration from the original.