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Rhacodactylus sarasinorum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA SQUAMATA DIPLODACTYLIDAE

Scientific Name: Rhacodactylus sarasinorum
Species Authority: Roux, 1913
Common Name/s:
English Sarasin's Giant Gecko
Taxonomic Notes: Genetic substructuring has been detected between the population at Mt Koghis and those in the Prony district but this does not warrant specific distinction.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(i,ii,iii) 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.
Justification:
Although Rhacodactylus sarasinorum occurs in several protected areas, its overall distribution is restricted and severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, mainly from wildfires, mining activities and introduced ungulates. Hence it is listed as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Province Sud, New Caledonia. It is known only from a number of isolated populations across the far south of Grande Terre (south of Mt Koghis). Known populations are widely scattered and often in small, isolated closed forest remnants. It occurs at elevations between 20 m to 600 m. The extent of occurrence is approximately 900 km², and the area of occupancy is estimated to be < 100 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 presumed to have suffered a substantial reduction in population size and area of occupancy in the past due to the logging and wildfires that have decimated closed forests and left them severely fragmented. Although logging has now stopped, the expanding nickel industry in the south of Grande Terre is resulting in further habitat loss and fragmentation.  Rhacodactylus sarasinorum is still relatively common at some locations but there are no quantitative data on population size or trends.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species primarily occurs in closed humid forests but has been documented in adjoining tall maquis shrublands (maquis paraforestier) and coastal forests. It is nocturnal and arboreal. It shelters by day in tree crevices and holes and forages at night on trunks and branches. Found in almost all forest patches with suitably sized trees. Probably highly dependent on hollows in trees.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threat to this species is the further loss or degradation of habitat, particularly from mining in the southern part of its range, but also including peripheral damage to forest remnants from wildfires in maquis shrublands and damage from introduced ungulates (deer and pigs). Other threats include predation by introduced mammals (rodents and cats) and the introduced ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, which is expected to have a detrimental impact (Jourdan et al. 2000, 2001).  Rhacodactylus sarasinorum is also vulnerable to illegal collection and trafficking at accessible locations.

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 Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue and a number of other reserves in the south including Mt Koghis, Forêt Cachée, Pic du Pin, Pic du Grand Kaori and Forêt Nord. No active conservation management is currently being undertaken for this species.
Citation: Whitaker, A.H. & Sadlier, R.A. 2011. Rhacodactylus sarasinorum. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.
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