English name: Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko (aka “Spotted Ground Gecko”)
Scientific name: Dixonius siamensis (Formerly Phyllodactylus siamensis)
Thai name: Ching-chok-din Lai Chu
Description: To 12 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 5.7 cm. A slender-bodied, long-legged gecko. Small tubercles are on each side of the body. Varies in color from lavender-brown to brown to grey, with pale yellow dots and irregular dark markings on the sides. Some individuals are patternless. Head often has dark markings. Toes are slender and lack the characteristic lamellae of house geckos underneath, instead having paired toepads at the end. Underbelly is white to dull yellow.
Similar Species: Sri Lankan House Gecko has spines on tail, characteristic lamellae under toes, and more regular dark markings on back.
Stump-toed Gecko has short, wide toes with lamellae underneath, lacks tubercles on sides, and has much softer skin.
Habitat: Usually found in forest, though can be found in yards and gardens in less-developed urban areas. More ground-dwelling than the other geckos listed in this guide. Hunts out in the open at night, and found under all kinds of cover during the day.
Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect, spider, and other arthropod populations. Provides food for snakes and some nocturnal birds.
Danger to humans: May bite when handled, but is not dangerous at all and not likely to even draw blood.
Conservation status and threats: Is common and widespread. No known conservation threats.
Interesting facts: While our other geckos are found above the ground in trees and buildings at night, the Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko will be found patrolling the forest floor for nocturnal arthropods. At times it may explore low tree trunks for food. Because of its more terrestrial habits, it lacks the lamellae (rows of narrow fleshy plates) under the toe pads that allow house geckos to cling to vertical surfaces. Instead, it has long narrow toes built for running. The “leaf-toed” part of the name comes from the paired toe pads on the end of each toe.
I know of no records of this gecko within or near Bangkok, but it is common in most of Thailand and some experts suspect that it can be found here as well.
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
Michael Cota, personal communication
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
The Lizards of Thailand
Herp Center Network: Lamellae