Naultinus gemmeus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Diplodactylidae

Scientific Name: Naultinus gemmeus (McCann, 1955)
Common Name(s):
English Jewelled Gecko
Heteropholis gemmeus McCann, 1955
Naultinus elegans ssp. gemmeus (McCann, 1955)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Hare, K. & Hitchmough, R.
Reviewer(s): Böhm, M., Collen, B. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Naultinus gemmeus has been assessed as Near Threatened due to its small area of occupancy, severely fragmented distribution, and continuing declines in the quality of habitat as well as population numbers. The threats imposed by introduced predators and exploitation for trade on international markets, as well as habitat degradation are all having a detrimental effect on N. gemmeus. However, population declines in the last ten years alone are not high enough to warrant a threat category at this time. This species almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion B2.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the southeast of the South Island of New Zealand. Two main populations of this species exist, on the Otago Peninsula and Banks Peninsula, but specimens may also be found in the region linking these two areas (New Zealand Herpetological Society 2006). The extent of occurrence is over 50,000 km² but its distribution within this area is severely fragmented (R. Hitchmough pers. comm. 2010, Jewell and McQueen 2007) giving a much smaller inferred area of occupancy.
Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Declines in this species were noted from the subpopulation in a reserve on Otago Peninsula (R. Hitchmough pers. comm. 2010). The only strong holds are on the Otago and Canterbury peninsula's; the areas in between (on the mainland) have few existing populations at very low numbers (K. Hare pers. comm. 2010). The populations in beech forest near the Southern Alps, are considered safe from habitat destruction and poaching but not from the impacts of introduced mammalian predators, which have population irruptions in beechmast years (R. Hitchmough pers. comm. 2010).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Active during the day and on warm evenings in summer, this dryland gecko is found in a large variety of vegetation types, but usually prefers scrub-type bushes such as manuka, matagouri and mingi-mingi (New Zealand Herpetological Society 2006). The species has persisted in habitats which have rocky sites of refuge against fire (Jewell and McQueen 2007).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is likely this species is collected illegally from the wild; however it is possible that it is also bred in captivity.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat degradation of dry shrubland due to grazing, browsing, burning and herbicides is a major threat to this species.

Although all geckos in New Zealand are protected by law under New Zealand's Wildlife Act of 1953, they continue to be threatened by introduced predators including rats, weasels, stoats, ferrets, cats and possums, as well as by habitat destruction (New Zealand Department of Conservation 2006). More than two thirds of the native forest has been cleared since colonisation of the islands, though over the last century most habitat loss and degradation has been limited to localized land development, or the clearance of secondary habitat. The effects of introduced predators are likely to have become the dominant threat in many areas. Certainly, the threat is more pervasive.

New Zealand's endemic geckos are reported to be "appearing on the international market at numbers far exceeding the breeding capacity of the captive population" (CITES 2002). It is thought that these specimens, of unknown provenance, are evidence of an expanding illegal trade of wild specimens. Some individuals are obtaining very high market values, of up to US$15,000 per individual. It is known that this has been responsible for at least one population decline in this species. This has occurred in an Otago Peninsula reserve, where a predator fence excludes cats, mustelids and rodents (except for mice), but poaching is frequent.

Mouse irruptions have been known to have had severe impacts on lizard populations in parts of New Zealand and specimens of this species have been seen injured. Pindone baits laid for rabbit control are also thought to cause mortality in species of this genus; however, these threats are localized to a reserve on Otago Peninsula (R. Hitchmough pers. comm. 2010)

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The threat status of this species, as listed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (Hitchmough et al. 2005), is 'Gradual Decline', with a 'Human Induced' qualifier.

It is listed by the Government of New Zealand on CITES Appendix III. At the 12th Conference of Parties (CITES 2002), it was proposed that all endemic New Zealand geckos be listed on Appendix II.

Better management of protected reserves is needed to stop poaching of this species. Further research into the habitat status, threats and harvest levels of this species is needed, and population monitoring is recommended.

Citation: Hare, K. & Hitchmough, R. 2010. Naultinus gemmeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T177826A7465399. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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