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Colombian Dwarf Gecko

Lepidoblepharis miyatai


Following its discovery in 1964, the Colombian dwarf gecko had not been seen again until a new population was recently discovered more than 100 km from the original location.

Despite this area being widely visited by herpetologists collecting geckos, this species had not been collected since its initial discovery, leading to fears that it may be extinct. However, recent research has led to the discovery of the Colombian dwarf gecko in a completely new location, more than 100 km inland from where it was originally discovered.

This gecko is incredibly small, reaching just over 2 cm excluding its tail, and is part of a genus of lizards (Lepidoblepharis) known as the scaly-eyed geckos. Species from this genus of dwarf geckos are distributed across Central and South America, and diverged from all other lizards more than 70 million years ago. That’s before the extinction of the dinosaurs, and around the same time humans and lemurs last shared a common ancestor!

Increasing levels of burning, livestock presence and deforestation threaten the gecko in both locations from which it is known. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, the area in which it was originally discovered, is particularly affected by tourists visiting the nearby beaches. Surveys are required to determine whether the species survives in the coastal location, and to identify any further locations where the species occurs.

  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Sphaerodactylidae
  • Population: Possibly extinct
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 23 mm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.78 (?)
ED Score: 19.23 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


The species is found in the Departments of Cesar and Magdalena, Colombia.

Habitat and Ecology

This species lives in the leaf litter of thorny scrub and semiarid coastal forest.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

Download the survival blueprint for this species below either in English or Spanish. These survival blueprints are compiled by an EDGE fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The survival blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here. 

Vision (30-50 years)

L. miyatai populations protected throughout the species distribution range, being supported by community monitoring programmes.

Goal (5-10 years)

Generate information on the population status, genetic structure and historical colonization processes of L. miyatai in order to establish priority-monitoring areas inside and outside the protected area involving the local communities in the process.


Determine genetic diversity, population structure, gene flow, and potential bottlenecks of L. miyatai Critical
Identify the historical processes that determined the contemporary distribution of L. miyatai from a phylogenetic and phylogeographic approach Critical
Evaluate the potential effects of land-use on the extent of suitable habitat of L. miyatai Critical
Generate a programme of environmental education at the communities surrounding the Tayrona NNP Critical
Implement a monitoring system through participatory action research approach (PAR) Critical
Create an environmental education program about tropical dry forest lizards of the Tayrona NNP with the staff of the protected area and tourist enterprises that work in the area High
Expand work networks in tropical dry forest that include other institutions such as: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH) High
Consolidate a working team composed of different experts for the creation of a National Program for Reptile Conservation Medium
Promote academic research to investigate ecological knowledge gaps of the species including: functional ecology, demography, interactions predator-prey, reproduction, changes in population structure due to seasons, and diet Medium
Generate an ex-situ reproduction program in conjunction with the Botanical and Zoological Foundation of Barranquilla, Colombia Low

Liliana Saboyá Acosta

  • Project name: The small world of Lepidoblepharis myatai: Taxonomic-ecological relationships as conservation tools
  • Project site: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia
  • Active: 2018 - 2021
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