Invasive mosquito predators: the distribution of house geckos

House gecko are common predators of dengue vectors that can be found in many houses in the tropics. Several species occur in Thai homes of which the most common species are the Asian house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) and the flat-tailed house gecko (H. platyurus). Hemidactylus species can be found in many parts of the world. During the last few centuries global trade has facilitated their spread, and now they have invaded many parts of the world where they are considered invasive species. In these new regions they often have negative  effects on the local herpetofauna through competition and the spread of parasites and diseases.

In context of mosquito control it may be very useful to understand the distribution of these species and the regions to which they can potentially expand their range. Therefore, we collected secondary species occurrence data from various sources and mapped the current and potential range of five of the most common invasive Hemidactylus species. We found that the Asian house gecko is very common outside its native range, especially in Central America and Australia. The Brook’s house gecko is even more commonly found outside its native range and is very likely to even further expand its range in the future. How this will affect ‘natural’ mosquito control remains unclear. Therefore, investigating the role of these invasive species in the control of mosquitoes will be an important aspect of our future work.

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