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Target Species: New Caledonian giant geckoes, Rhacodactylus species
Location: New Caledonia
Director: Julian Dismore


Location: New Caledonia is located 900 miles east of Australia.

Mission Statement:

New Caledonia is located 950 miles east of Australia and it possesses a very different and unique fauna from that of its huge continental neighbour. Amongst the herpetofauna (reptile fauna) of these remote islands are a group of six species of giant geckoes, the largest living geckoes in the world. Mark joins Prof Aaron Bauer, a world authority on geckoes with 16 previous visits to New Cal. under his broad belt, in search of the giant geckoes on a group of isolated islands off the south coast. They aim to compare the DNA from these specimens with DNA from their closest mainland New Cal. relatives in order to determine whether they are actually separate species. If they are, it will help the authorities legislate to protect the island populations from over-collection and habitat destruction. The largest of the giant geckoes is Leach’s giant gecko, Rhacodactylus leachianus, which is reputedly the only gecko in the world that growls ! This strange nocturnal call may be one of the reasons why some locals consider the giant geckoes to be ‘devils in the trees’.


The flabby-skinned Leach’s giant gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus) is the largest living gecko in the world, and the only one said to ‘growl’.

Species recorded during 'Devil In The Trees'

Species Common Name
HYLIDAE TREEFROGS
Litoria aurea Green and golden bell frog
DIPLODACTYLIDAE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC GECKOES
Bavayia cyclura Forest bavayia
Bavayia geitaina Gracile bavayia
Bavayia montana Montane bavayia
Bavayia sauvegii Sauvege's bavayia
Bavayia septuiclavis Pale-striped bavayia
Rhacodactylus leachianus leachianus Leach's giant gecko
Rhacodactylus leachianus henkeli Henkel's giant gecko
Rhacodactylus trachyrhynchus trachyrhynchus Rough-snouted giant gecko
Rhacodactylus trachyrhynchus trachycephalus Lesser rough-snouted giant gecko
GEKKONIDAE GECKOES
Hemidactylus frenatus Common house gecko
SCINCIDAE SKINKS
Caledoniscincus atropunctatus Speckled litter skink
Caledoniscincus austrocaledonicus Common litter skink
Caledoniscincus festivus Festive litter skink
Cryptoblepharus novocaledonicus New Caledonian snake-eyed skink
Lioscincus nigrofasciolatum Green-bellied tree skink
Marmorosphax tricolor Marble-throated skink
Nannoscincus mariei Earless dwarf skink
Sigaloseps deplanchei Deplanche's shiny skink
ELAPIDAE COBRAS & THEIR KIN
Laticauda laticaudata Blue-banded sea krait
Laticauda sp.nov New Caledonian sea krait


Location: New Caledonia comprises Grande Terre, Ile des Pins, Loyalty Is. & smaller islands.

 


Aaron Bauer, the internationally recognised expert on the geckoes of the world.

 

 


Mark O’Shea examines his first live giant gecko on an island off New Caledonia.

 

 


Rough-snouted giant gecko gecko (Rhacodactylus trachyrhynchus trachyrhynchus)

 

 


Lesser rough-snouted giant gecko (Rhacodactylus trachyrhynchus trachycephalus)

 

 


O’Shea caught 75 sea kraits (Laticauda) of two species in two days. This species is awaiting description.

 


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