שממית החומות המצרית. מין פולש
The Egyptian gecko
Photo: Simon Jamison
Egyptian gecko

Egyptian gecko threatens Israel's Arava region ecosystem

Tel Aviv University professor says Egyptian gecko can eat anything it is able to overcome, and has the potential to cause severe damage to any ecosystem; Israel's Nature and Parks Authority seeks help of local Arava residents in locating the species

Ilana Curiel |
Published: 09.20.22, 18:00
Israel's Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday that it was seeking the assistance of local Arava residents in locating the Egyptian gecko (Tarentola annularis), they said had been invading Israel.
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  • Scientists and researchers warned that the invaders, threaten the local ecological balance.
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    שממית החומות המצרית. האם ראיתם אותה מחוץ לעין גדי?
    שממית החומות המצרית. האם ראיתם אותה מחוץ לעין גדי?
    Egyptian gecko
    (Photo: Simon Jamison)
    "The Egyptian gecko can eat anything it is able to overcome. In north Africa, it was recorded eating a gerbil. It also eats other geckos and arthropods and is a potential danger to anything that lives in its habitat and is smaller than it," Prof. Shai Meiri of Tel Aviv University said.
    The gecko was also documented eating small birds and is considered a very aggressive species. "They bite hard and breed in a quick phase fast," he said.
    Meiri and his students were first to identify the gecko on the walls of houses in Kibbutz Ein Gedi in 2012. He said that it was a very large species that could reach the weight of 75 grams (2.6 ounces.)
    After it was found near a nature reserve which was home to a local gecko species, Meiri said his assessment was that this Egyptian gecko "wiped out all the local geckos."
    "It has the potential to cause severe damage to any ecosystem," Prof. Meiri added.
    The species remained unknown until 2014 when a student named Simon Jamison managed to capture several of them. This month, two Egyptian geckos were spotted at kibbutz Elifaz in the southern Arava valley.
    2 View gallery
    שממית החומות המצרית. מין פולש
    שממית החומות המצרית. מין פולש
    The Egyptian gecko
    (Photo: Simon Jamison)
    The NPA could not determine how the species traveled all way to the Arava, and was now asking for the help of the local residents.
    "If you have areas with street lights or any other sort of light that attract insects, or areas where you might see an Egyptian gecko, please film it with your phone and share with us," the NPA said.

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