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Rhacodactylus trachyrhynchus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA DIPLODACTYLIDAE

Scientific Name: Rhacodactylus trachyrhynchus
Species Authority: Bocage, 1873
Common Name(s):
English Rough-snouted Giant Gecko, Tough-snouted Giant Gecko
French Gecko géant à nez rugueux
Synonym(s):
Chameleonurus trachycephalus Boulenger, 1878
Platydactylus duvaucelli Bavay, 1869
Taxonomic Notes: Recent genetic data shows that the subspecies R. trachyrhynchus trachycephalus (Seipp and Henkel 2000) should be regarded as a full species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-07-01
Assessor(s): Whitaker, A.H., Sadlier, R.A. & Bauer, A.M.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B., Ram, M., Cox, N.A. & Tognelli, M.
Justification:
R. trachyrhynchus has been assessed as Endangered because its area of occupancy is less than 150 km², its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, extent and quality of its habitat, and probably in the number of mature individuals due to the effects of invasive species and harvesting for the pet trade. All known populations are disjunct and several are small and highly impacted. Threats in the south are primarily from habitat clearance for agriculture and development, fire ants and wildfires; in the north, threats are past clearing at Pindaï and fire ants. Impacts from invasive mammals affect all populations. The population at Pindaï and those in the extreme southeast of Grande Terre are particularly at risk of extinction.
History:
2010 Endangered
2009 Endangered (IUCN 2010.4)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: R. trachyrhynchus is endemic to New Caledonia. It is restricted to the southern half of Grande Terre. It is known from five or six widely scattered and isolated populations between Presqu'ile de Pindaï and Mt Aoupinié in the north and the Goro district in the south. This species also inhabits the Isle of Pines and the surrounding islets. Occurs from 5 up to 500 m asl.

The extent of occurrence is estimated at approximately 9,000 km²  and the area of occupancy at <150 km².

[Extent of occurrence was based on a crude measure of overall length times width of the most distant known locations (a rough measure of the line around the points), except for very widespread species where the published areas of the islands were taken. Area of occupancy is a contraction of that rough estimate for extent of occurrence based on where habitat remains.]
Countries:
Native:
New Caledonia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is described as "not locally abundant" on Grande Terre by Bauer and Sadlier (2000). There are no quantitative data on population size or trends. It is assumed to have suffered a substantial reduction in population size and extent in the past through habitat loss associated with clearance of the west coast sclerophyll forests for agriculture, and clearance of low and mid-elevation humid forests for logging and agriculture.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is a forest specialist. At most locations, this species inhabits humid forests but it is also known from a sclerophyll forest site. It shelters by day in crevices and holes in trees and forages at night in the canopy. On a general note, Rhacodactylus are not found in disturbed environments (Bauer and Sadlier 2001).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is collected for pet trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main risk to R. trachyrhynchus is further loss of habitat through clearance, logging or wildfires. Additional threats are habitat degradation caused by introduced ungulates (deer and pigs), predation by introduced mammals (rodents and cats), and the detrimental effects of the introduced ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Jourdan et al. 2000, 2001). Illegal collection and trafficking of R. trachyrhynchus may be a problem at accessible locations. The ovoviviparous reproduction in this species (resulting in a lower annual reproductive output than other Rhacodactylus species) exacerbates the vulnerability of this taxon.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Protected in Province Nord under Code de l'environnement de la Province Nord (Délibération No. 306-2008/APN, 24 October 2008) and in Province Sud under Code de l'environnement de la Province Sud (Délibération No. 25-2009/APS, 20 March 2009). Not listed on CITES. Present in Réserve de Nature Sauvage du Massif de l’Aoupinié but not recorded at any other protected location. No active conservation management is currently being undertaken.

Citation: Whitaker, A.H., Sadlier, R.A. & Bauer, A.M. 2013. Rhacodactylus trachyrhynchus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 November 2014.
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