Published October 17, 2023. Updated January 8, 2024. Open access.

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Collared Forest Gecko (Gonatodes concinnatus)

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Sphaerodactylidae | Gonatodes concinnatus

English common names: Collared Forest Gecko, O’Shaughnessy’s Gecko.

Spanish common name: Geco collarejo.

Recognition: ♂♂ 11.4 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=5.3 cm. ♀♀ 10.5 cmMaximum distance from the snout to the tip of the tail. Snout–vent length=4.9 cm..1 Geckos of the genus Gonatodes in Ecuador can be identified based on their diurnal habits, lack of moveable eyelids, undilated digits having exposed claws, and absence of a scaly supraciliary flap (present in Lepidoblepharis).2,3 Collared Forest Geckos differ from the two other Gonatodes occurring on the Ecuadorian Amazon by having a black-bordered white suprahumeral bar just above or slightly posterior to the arm.1 In G. humeralis, this bar is thin, yellowish, and anterior to the arm.4 Females of G. caudiscutatus lack the shoulder line, while males are recognizable by their striking head coloration, which features bright yellow to orange hues with contrasting dark brown to black reticulations.5,6 Males of G. concinnatus can be identified by their bright orange head, black tail, broad suprahumeral bar, and their ornate dorsum, which boasts black reticulations with yellow and red interspaces and cyan lower flanks (Fig. 1).4 In contrast, females and juveniles of this species have a more subdued appearance, with drab gray coloration and irregular crossbands. In some individuals, towards the tail’s tip, the gray coloration transitions into a distinct black and white banding with high contrast.4,6

Figure showing variation among individuals of Gonatodes concinnatus

Figure 1: Collared Forest Geckos (Gonatodes concinnatus) from Ecuador: Yuralpa, Napo province (); Suchipakari Lodge, Napo province (); Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve, Napo province (); Yasuní Scientific Station, Orellana province (). j=juvenile.

Natural history: Gonatodes concinnatus is a common diurnal gecko that inhabits primary and secondary rainforests, forest clearings, and rural gardens.4,7,8 In some areas, G. concinnatus occurs in sympatry with G. humeralis,7 but in Amazonian Ecuador, the former is predominantly found in pristine habitats.9,10 The Collared Forest Gecko is specially adapted for life on vertical surfaces, with a preference for microhabitats such as the base of tree trunks (below 1.5 m) that are greater than 15 cm in diameter, buttress roots, and aerial roots of stilt palms.4,7,8 They can also be found on walls, pillars, thatched ceilings, and fences.4,7,8 Typically, no more than two individuals occupy the same tree,8 and males tend to exclude other males from their territory.4,7 On bright cloudy days, these geckos can be seen active throughout the day. On sunny days, they retreat during the hot mid-day hours, with most activity occurring in shaded rather than sunny spots.4,6 At night, individuals sleep on leaf-litter, in crevices, or roost on leaves and stems adjacent to tree trunks 1–2 m above the ground.6,8 Their hunting strategy is to ambush mobile insects that pass nearby, including insect larvae, ants, leafhoppers, spiders, millipedes, grasshoppers, termites, and roaches.4,6 On occasion, the geckos also eat their own shed skin as well as eggs of their own species.4 Collared Forest Geckos are extremely wary and move quickly for short distances.4 When disturbed, they tend to move to the opposite side of the trunk, often running down to the leaf-litter or retreating into crevices.4 Individuals also lift and curl up their tails either as a decoy or to mimic a scorpion.7,8 If captured, they can readily shed the tail as well as portions of their skin.4 The breeding season appears to take place year-round.7,11 Females produce clutches of a single egg11,12 and lay them in communal nesting sites such as in crevices8 or under bark.4

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Conservation: Least Concern Believed to be safe from extinction given current circumstances..13 Gonatodes concinnatus is listed in this category given its wide distribution, presence in major protected areas, and lack of widespread threats.13 The most important threat for the long-term survival of some populations is large-scale deforestation for agriculture and cattle raising. Given their tree-trunk specialization, these geckos are unlikely to survive in regions largely devoid of trees. Unlike other congeneric geckos, G. concinnatus does not persist in urban parks or gardens of cities in the Amazon.

Distribution: Gonatodes concinnatus is native to the western Amazon basin in Colombia, Ecuador (Fig. 2), and Peru.

Distribution of Gonatodes concinnatus in Ecuador

Figure 2: Distribution of Gonatodes concinnatus in Ecuador. The star corresponds to the type locality: Canelos, Pastaza province. See Appendix 1 for a complete list of the presence localities included in the map.

Etymology: The generic name Gonatodes, which comes from the Greek words gonatos (=node) and odes (=resembling),14 probably refers to the form of the digits which are slender but in which the joints are prominent as swellings.15 The specific epithet concinnatus means “beautifully arranged” in Latin.14

See it in the wild: Collared Forest Geckos are virtually guaranteed sightings within their distribution range in Ecuador, especially in Yasuní National Park and Cuyabeno Reserve. These colorful geckos are more easily located by scanning the base of tree trunks along forest trails during cloudy mornings.

Special thanks to Matthew Haupt for symbolically adopting the Collared Forest Gecko and helping bring the Reptiles of Ecuador book project to life.

Click here to adopt a species.

Author: Alejandro ArteagaaAffiliation: Khamai Foundation, Quito, Ecuador.

Photographers: Jose VieirabAffiliation: Tropical Herping (TH), Quito, Ecuador.,cAffiliation: ExSitu, Quito, Ecuador. and Sebastián Di DoménicodAffiliation: Keeping Nature, Bogotá, Colombia.

How to cite? Arteaga A (2023) Collared Forest Gecko (Gonatodes concinnatus). In: Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J (Eds) Reptiles of Ecuador: Life in the middle of the world. Available from: DOI: 10.47051/NJXM6104

Literature cited:

  1. Sturaro MJ, Avila-Pires TCS (2011) Taxonomic revision of the geckos of the Gonatodes concinnatus complex (Squamata: Sphaerodactylidae), with description of two new species. Zootaxa 2869: 1–36. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.2869.1.1
  2. Vanzolini PE (1968) Geography of the South American Gekkonidae. Arquivos de Zoologia 17: 85–112.
  3. Duellman WE (2005) Cusco amazónico: the lives of amphibians and reptiles in an Amazonian rainforest. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 433 pp.
  4. Vitt LJ, De la Torre S (1996) A research guide to the lizards of Cuyabeno. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, 165 pp.
  5. Arteaga A, Bustamante L, Vieira J, Tapia W, Guayasamin JM (2019) Reptiles of the Galápagos: life on the Enchanted Islands. Tropical Herping, Quito, 208 pp. DOI: 10.47051/AQJU7348
  6. Duellman WE (1978) The biology of an equatorial herpetofauna in Amazonian Ecuador. Publications of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 65: 1–352.
  7. Dixon JR, Soini P (1986) The reptiles of the upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos region, Peru. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, 154 pp.
  8. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  9. Vitt LJ, Zani PA, Monteiro de Barros AA (1997) Ecological variation among populations of the gekkonid lizard Gonatodes humeralis in the Amazon Basin. Copeia 1997: 32–43. DOI: 10.2307/1447837
  10. Vitt LJ, Zani PA (1996) Organization of a taxonomically diverse lizard assemblage in Amazonian Ecuador. Canadian Journal of Zoology 74: 1313–1335.
  11. Fitch H (1970) Reproductive cycles in lizards and snakes. Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, 247 pp.
  12. Meiri S, Avila L, Bauer AM, Chapple DG, Das I, Doan TM, Doughty P, Ellis R, Grismer L, Kraus F, Morando M, Oliver P, Pincheira-Donoso D, Ribeiro-Junior MA, Shea G, Torres-Carvajal O, Slavenko A, Roll U (2020) The global diversity and distribution of lizard clutch sizes. Global Ecology and Biogeography 29: 1515–1530. DOI:
  13. Aparicio J, Avila-Pires TCS, Moravec J, Perez P (2016) Gonatodes concinnatus. The IUCN Red List of threatened species. Available from: DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T44579268A44579277.en
  14. Brown RW (1956) Composition of scientific words. Smithsonian Books, Washington D.C., 882 pp.
  15. Russell AP, Baskerville J, Gamble T, Higham TE (2015) The evolution of digit form in Gonatodes (Gekkota: Sphaerodactylidae) and its bearing on the transition from frictional to adhesive contact in Gekkotans. Journal of Morphology 276: 1311–1132. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20420

Appendix 1: Locality data used to create the distribution map of Gonatodes concinnatus in Ecuador (Fig. 2). Go to the section on symbols and abbreviations for a list of acronyms used. Asterisk (*) indicates type locality.

ColombiaCaquetáCampamento El GuamoRuiz Valderrama 2021
ColombiaCaquetáFlorenciaCárdenas Hincapié & Lozano Bernal 2022
ColombiaCaquetáVereda el ParaisoCalderón et al. 2023
ColombiaCaquetáVereda SucreRuiz Valderrama 2021
ColombiaPutumayoLa MirandaiNaturalist; photo examined
ColombiaPutumayoPuerto Asis, 5 km NE ofCalderón et al. 2023
ColombiaPutumayoRío PepinoiNaturalist; photo examined
ColombiaPutumayoSan Miguel de MocoaCárdenas Hincapié & Lozano Bernal 2022
ColombiaPutumayoValle del GuamuézBorja-Acosta & Galeano Muñoz 2023
ColombiaPutumayoVereda Bajo AfániNaturalist; photo examined
ColombiaPutumayoVereda San PedroiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorMorona SantiagoCusuimeSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorMorona SantiagoMacumaiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorMorona SantiagoTaishaSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorMorona SantiagoWisuiBrito et al. 2011
EcuadorNapoCampamento Codo bajoCOCASINCLAIR 2013
EcuadorNapoChontapuntaCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorNapoGareno LodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorNapoHacienda George KiederleUSNM 166137; VertNet
EcuadorNapoHuaorani LodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorNapoJatun Sacha Biological ReserveSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorNapoLiana LodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorNapoLoreto–ConcepciónSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorNapoMisahuallí, 6.5 km ESE ofMCZ 171937; VertNet
EcuadorNapoPuerto NapoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorNapoPuerto Napo, 2 km W ofSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorNapoRío JatunyacuiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorNapoRío MisahuallíSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorNapoSinchi SachaPhoto by Ernesto Arbeláez
EcuadorNapoSuchipakari LodgeUSNM 166137; VertNet
EcuadorNapoYachana LodgeUSNM 166137; VertNet
EcuadorNapoYachana ReserveUSNM 166137; VertNet
EcuadorNapoYuralpaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorOrellanaBoca del Río CocaSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorOrellanaEl DescansoCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorOrellanaHacía el Río PuninoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorOrellanaLagarto CochaUSNM 234496; VertNet
EcuadorOrellanaLaguna TaracoaMCZ 154439; VertNet
EcuadorOrellanaLoretoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorOrellanaNuevo RocafuerteCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorOrellanaPozo CapirónCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorOrellanaRío Bigal Biological ReserveGarcía et al. 2021
EcuadorOrellanaRío NashiñoCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorOrellanaRío PayaminoUSNM 234493; VertNet
EcuadorOrellanaRío YasuníUF 43355; VertNet
EcuadorOrellanaRío Yasuní, near Lake JatuncochaReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorOrellanaSan José de PayaminoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorOrellanaSan José de SumacoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorOrellanaShiripuno LodgeiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorOrellanaTiputini Biodiversity StationDa Silva et al 1995
EcuadorOrellanaYarentaroiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorOrellanaYarina EcoLodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorOrellanaYasuní Scientific StationReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPastazaAchuar LodgeiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaAlrededores de Villano BSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorPastazaCanelos*O’Shaughnessy 1881
EcuadorPastazaChuintzaAlmendariz 1987
EcuadorPastazaConamboSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorPastazaCuraray MedioReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPastazaEstación Científica OglánOnline multimedia
EcuadorPastazaHeimatlos LodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPastazaHuella Verde LodgeReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorPastazaJuyuintzaOrtega-Andrade 2010
EcuadorPastazaKurintzaOrtega-Andrade 2010
EcuadorPastazaMontalvoAlmendariz 1987
EcuadorPastazaNuevo GolondrinaSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorPastazaPaloraiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaPista KapawiiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaPuyoiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorPastazaRío ArajunoCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorPastazaRío PindoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorPastazaRío VillanoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorPastazaSarayacuSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorPastazaTarangaroCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorPastazaTerritorio ShiwiarOrtega Andrade et al. 2010
EcuadorPastazaUNOCAL Base CampSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosBloque 15Izquierdo et al. 2000
EcuadorSucumbíosCEPEMCZ 163233; VertNet
EcuadorSucumbíosComunidad Orense, 7 km E ofiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosComunidad ZábaloCevallos Bustos 2010
EcuadorSucumbíosCuyabeno ReserveSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosEstación PUCE en CuyabenoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosLa Selva LodgeSunbird Tours
EcuadorSucumbíosLago AgrioSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosLimoncochaSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosLumbaqui, parroquia urbanaDueñas and Báez 2021
EcuadorSucumbíosMonte CarmeloiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosPerico 3iNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosPetroamazonas campReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorSucumbíosPlayas de CuyabenoCarvajal-Campos et al. 2019
EcuadorSucumbíosRecinto AmazonasiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosRío AguaricoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosRío CuyabenoiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosSacha LodgeiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosSani LodgeThomas et al. 2020
EcuadorSucumbíosSanta CeciliaSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosSanta ElenaiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosShushufindiSalguero 2012
EcuadorSucumbíosSingueiNaturalist; photo examined
EcuadorSucumbíosTarapoaSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
EcuadorSucumbíosZábalo, Familia CriolloReptiles of Ecuador book database
EcuadorTungurahuaEl TopoReptiles of Ecuador book database
PeruLoretoAguas NegrasYánez-Muñoz & Venegas 2008
PeruLoretoMoroponSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
PeruLoretoRedondocochaYánez-Muñoz & Venegas 2008
PeruLoretoSan JacintoSturaro & Avila-Pires 2011
PeruLoretoSanta MaríaUF 28017; VertNet
PeruLoretoZona Reservada GüeppíYánez-Muñóz & Vanegas 2008