Rhacodactylus leachianus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Diplodactylidae

Scientific Name: Rhacodactylus leachianus (Cuvier, 1829)
Common Name(s):
English New Caledonia Giant Gecko
Ascalabotes leachianus Cuvier, 1829
Gecko leachii Schinz, 1834
Taxonomic Notes: Three subspecies of Rhacodactylus leachianus have been described: R. l. leachianus (Cuvier, 1829) (Grande Terre); R. l. aubrianus Bocage, 1873; R. l. henkeli Seipp & Obst, 1994 (Ile des Pins and satellite islands); but these are unsupported by genetic data and no longer recognized as valid (Good et al. 1997).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-08-27
Assessor(s): Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A.
Reviewer(s): Tognelli, M. & Cox, N.A.
This species is listed as Least Concern given that is distributed throughout Grande Terre, it is found at many locations, and is present in a number of protected areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic of New Caledonia. It occurs in Grande Terre, and Ile des Pins and its satellite islands. It is known from widely scattered localities in the east and south of Grande Terre (northernmost site is Mt Mandjélia in the Panié massif); present on many islands and islets around Ile des Pins. It occurs at elevations between 500 m and 1,100 m. The extent of occurrence is approximately 10,000 km², and the area of occupancy is estimated to be approximately 1,000 km². However, area of occupancy is likely to be greater than the number of records indicate as many sites are in relatively extensive areas of potential habitat.

[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 occurrence:
New Caledonia
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1000
Lower elevation limit (metres):500
Upper elevation limit (metres):1100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no quantitative data on population size or trends for this species. It is presumed to have suffered a substantial reduction in population size and extent in the past through habitat loss associated with logging and the clearance of low and mid-elevation forests for agriculture. Relatively high density populations remain at some sites, particularly those on the islands and islets near Ile des Pins, but these represent an extremely small proportion of the species' overall distribution.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits coastal forests, closed humid forests and montane forests. It is nocturnal and arboreal. It shelters by day in tree crevices and holes, and forages at night in the canopy.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threats to this species are the further loss or degradation of habitat, predation by introduced mammals (rodents and cats), and at lower elevation site the impact of the introduced ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Jourdan et al. 2000, 2001). At all locations on Grande Terre, habitat degradation from introduced ungulates (deer and pigs) is a problem. Illegal collection and trafficking of Rhacodactylus leachianus is a particular threat at accessible locations, especially those on the small islands where the low stature of the vegetation makes them easier to capture. Because of its very large body size an unusual and localized risk factor for this species is electrocution from high-tension power lines passing through forested habitats.  Potentially severe localized threat from development/agriculture at low elevations. Complex biology could impact survival. The island populations are particularly susceptible to stochastic events that could lead to localized extinctions.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is 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). It is present in Réserve de Nature Sauvage du Mt Panié, Réserve de Nature Sauvage du Massif de l’Aoupinié, Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue and several other reserves including Nodela and Forêt Nord. No active conservation management is currently being undertaken for this species.

Citation: Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A. 2011. Rhacodactylus leachianus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T176166A7191028. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
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