December 12, 2016
Memphis alien invaders! In the past year there have been reports of a new alien species to the Memphis area, the Mediterranean House Gecko. This species is not native to Tennessee or even the United States (often referred to as alien, introduced, or exotic species) but it is starting to show up all across the southeastern United States including here in Memphis. This is an example of an introduced species that is thriving and spreading without the typical population control (predators, disease, competition, etc.) it would face in its native region. As its name suggests, this species is native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa. It first showed up in Florida in 1915 and was thought to be a stowaway on a ship from the Mediterranean region, since then it has probably been repeatedly introduced through agricultural trade, released pets, and wild breeding. In the southern United States it is almost exclusively found in urban areas in association with people. Look for one on display this spring in the Backyard Wildlife Center! Our new resident will be used at our Urban Habitat Detectives Station and to educate the public about introduced species.