Prediction of present and future distribution of the Schlegel’s Japanese gecko (Gekko japonicus) using MaxEnt modeling

Dae-In KIM, Il-Kook PARK, So-Yeon BAE, Jonathan J. FONG, Yong-Pu ZHANG, Shu-ran LI, Hidetoshi OTA, Jong-Sun KIM, Daesik PARK

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the geographical distribution of a species is a key component of studying its ecology, evolution, and conservation. Although Schlegel’s Japanese gecko (Gekko japonicus) is widely distributed in Northeast Asia, its distribution has not been studied in detail. We predicted the present and future distribution of G. japonicus across China, Japan, and Korea based on 19 climatic and 5 environmental variables using the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) species distribution model.

Present time major suitable habitats for G. japonicus, having greater than 0.55 probability of presence (threshold based on the average predicted probability of the presence records), are located at coastal and inland cities of China; western, southern, and northern coasts of Kyushu and Honshu in Japan; and southern coastal cities of Korea. Japan contained 69.3% of the suitable habitats, followed by China (27.1%) and Korea (4.2%). Temperature seasonality (66.5% of permutation importance) was the most important predictor of the distribution. Future distributions according to two climate change scenarios predicted that by 2070, and overall suitable habitats would decrease compared to the present habitats by 18.4% (scenario RCP 4.5) and 10.4% (scenario RCP 8.5). In contrast to these overall trends, range expansions are expected in inland areas of China and southern parts of Korea.

Suitable habitats predicted for G. japonicus are currently located in coastal cities of Japan, China, and Korea, as well as in isolated patches of inland China. Due to climate change, suitable habitats are expected to shrink along coastlines, particularly at the coastal-edge of climate change zones. Overall, our results provide essential distribution range information for future ecological studies of G. japonicus across its distribution range.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalJournal of Ecology and Environment
Issue number5
Early online date28 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Supplementary information
Supplementary information accompanies this paper at

We thank Drs. Jong-Nam Lee, Il-Hun Kim, and Woo-Jin Choi and Hwan-Jin Jang for their help in field surveys and Alejandro Grajal-Puche for helpful comments on English usage and contents.

Authors’ contribution
DIK, IKP, SYB, and DP designed the study, performed the analysis, and wrote the manuscript. YPZ, SRL, and JSK gathered the data and reviewed the manuscript. JJF and HO conceived the study and reviewed the manuscript. DIK and IKP made equal contributions to this study. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (no. 2016R1D1A1B03931085) to D Park and Natural Sciences Foundation of China (no. 31971419) to YP Zhang.

Ethics approval and consent to participate
This research was conducted within the guidelines and approval of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Kangwon National University (KW-161128-2).


  • Climate change
  • Distribution range
  • Lizard
  • Temperature seasonality
  • Urban


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