Aristelliger hechti 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Sphaerodactylidae

Scientific Name: Aristelliger hechti Schwartz & Crombie, 1975
Common Name(s):
English Caicos Gecko, Hecht's Caribbean Gecko
Taxonomic Notes: Populations in northern Hispaniola long attributed to Aristelliger lar have recently been found to represent either Aristelliger hechti or an undescribed taxon close to A. hechti (S.B. Hedges, in prep.).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-07-23
Assessor(s): Reynolds, R. & Hedges, B.
Reviewer(s): Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): Hanson, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Brooks, T. & NatureServe
The species is endemic to six islands and cays on the Caicos Bank, and so has a very small range, with an extent of occurrence meeting the threshold for an Endangered listing under B1. The population is however not known to be severely fragmented and presumably does not undergo extreme fluctuations. Invasive predators have been present for several centuries but any continuing impact is not well understood, and potential competition from the invasive gecko Hemidactylus mabouia is not yet documented. However, it is considered to be very restricted, occurring in just six locations (because the threat from invasive species is assumed to operate independently between its subpopulations) and competition from Hemidactylus mabouia is considered to be a highly plausible future threat which could lead to its rapid exclusion from or declines in the largely anthropogenic habitats where it survives, potentially at a rate that would lead to it becoming Critically Endangered or Extinct in a short timeframe. As such the species is listed as Vulnerable applying Criterion D2.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to two large islands (North Caicos and East Caicos) and four cays (Big and Little Ambergris Cays, French Cay, and Six Hills Cays), in the Turks and Caicos Islands (Henderson and Powell 2009). Powell and Parmerlee (1992) speculated that the species may have been introduced into northern Hispaniola.
Countries occurrence:
Turks and Caicos Islands
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:6Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is very common on Big Ambergris Cay, and in Wades Green Plantation on North Caicos (R.G. Reynolds pers. comm. 2015). Its absence from Middle Caicos despite several intensive surveys is puzzling and may suggest that the species has been extirpated there (R.G. Reynolds pers. comm. 2015).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:6Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This shy species occurs in xeric habitats, found under plant debris and rocks, and also in ruined buildings (Henderson and Powell 2009). This large gecko appears naturally to be arboreal, however no large trees or extensive areas of forest remain within its range (S.B. Hedges pers. comm. 2016). As a result it may now be partially or wholly dependent analogous structures such as wooden buildings (S.B. Hedges pers. comm. 2016).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is no known use of or trade in this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Possible threats to the species include predation by rats and cats, and possible competition with the invasive Hemidactylus mabouia (Reynolds 2011). This latter species is known to aggressively outcompete ecologically similar geckos in anthropogenic areas on other islands (Hughes et al. 2015). As a large, arboreal gecko on islands with little or no suitable remaining natural habitat, A. hechti may be especially sensitive to the impacts of this exotic competitor, especially as its area of occupancy is likely to be considerably more restricted than presently recognized following historical land clearance (R.G. Reynolds and S.B. Hedges pers. comm. 2016).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in protected areas on French Cay, Little Ambergris Cay, Six Hills Cay, and North Caicos (R.G. Reynolds pers. comm. 2012). Population research would be valuable for the species (R.G. Reynolds pers. comm. 2012).

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Citation: Reynolds, R. & Hedges, B. 2016. Aristelliger hechti (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T203169A115347895. . Downloaded on 19 March 2018.
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