Significance to humans

Large geckos, such as the voracious gecko (Gehyra vorax) of Fiji, once were hunted for food, but most modern human consumption of geckos is for medicinal purposes. Tokay geckos and other species are sold dried or pickled in wine or spirits to increase vitality and cure kidney ailments in China and parts of Southeast Asia. In much of the tropics house geckos are welcome as predators on insect pests, and in Europe and North America geckos are favorites of herpetocul-turalists. All geckos are harmless, but their mysterious nocturnal habits, large eyes, and climbing abilities have been interpreted as signs of evil; in some cultures they are regarded incorrectly as venomous to the touch.

1. Burton's snake lizard (Lialis burtonis); 2. Western banded gecko (Coleonyx variegatus); 3. House gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus); 4. Yellow-headed gecko (Gonatodes albogularis); 5. New Caledonian giant gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus); 6. Common plate-tailed gecko (Teratoscincus scincus); 7. Madagascar day gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis); 8. Web-footed gecko (Palmatogecko rangei); 9. Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko). (Illustration by Patricia Ferrer)

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