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United States Association of Reptile Keepers, Florida

FWC Final Ruling on the Reef Gecko

Tuesday, May 21, 2024 3:00 PM | USARK FL (Administrator)

FWC Commissioners have voted to make the Reef Gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus notatus) a Candidate Species for state listing. This was a final rule vote that was not preceeded by a draft rule vote and period for public input. As of the May 1 vote, legal wild collection was immediately ended with no due process or assessment of economic impact by FWC. FWC did not reach out to USARK FL to assess the impact that listing or making this a candidate species for listing would have on industry. 

In 2019, Stephanie Clements and Christopher Searcy of University of Miami requested a biological status review by FWC to consider the Reef gecko for state listing. "New scientific evidence indicates that this species may in fact be declining across South Florida, and faces threats from habitat loss and climate change," said Clement and Searcy.

Unfortunately, no protection of habitat is inherent to protections for state listed species, as evidenced by the rampant destruction of State Threatened Florida pine snake habitat. As with most state listed species, there is no prescribed survey requirement or relocation procedure.

Based on previous precedent, state listing would likely result in banning keeping and breeding of this species. As with other listed herp species, state listing of the Reef Gecko is unlikely to lead to significant habitat protections. 

The account on the Reef Gecko in the book "Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida," co-authored by Dr. Kenney Krysko, retired FWC herp biologist Paul Moler, and current FWC herp biologist Kevin Enge, considers this species to be nonnative in Florida. State listing of a nonnative species as "Threatened" would be an unprecedented step for FWC.

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