Saturday, April 24, 2010

Out on a Limb

Rhacodactylus ciliatus
RNA (A.K.A. Ribo)
Glendale, California
August 6th, 2007

I took this photograph of one of my male crested geckos a few years back. I own several crested geckos, as well as a pair of viper geckos, several bearded dragons, and an anerythristic corn snake. Of my collection of reptiles, I think the crested gecko has one of the most interesting natural histories. 

The crested gecko, Rhacodactylus ciliatus, is endemic to southern New Caledonia (Grand Terre and the Isle of Pines). It was first described by Alphone Guichenot, a French zoologist, in 1866. The gecko was thought to have been extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994. A few individuals were taken back to the United States and Europe were the gecko was found to be a prolific breeder, and easy to maintain. Today they are one of the most popular geckos to keep. 

Unfortunately, the in the wild, the crested gecko has not been so lucky. This species is threatened by human encroachment on its habitat, and by the introduced little fire ant. The little fire ant (Wassmannia auropunctata) was introduced to New Caledonia sometime between 1955 and 1972. It was most likely brought in with ornamental or agricultural plants. The ant competes with the gecko for food (insects and other small arthropods), and preying on the gecko itself. 

1 comment:

  1. Your picture has been stolen and posted on a website that makes no effort to prevent such infringements. Just thought you might want to know.