Taxonomy

endemique
protegee
UICN

Common name :

Gécko caméléon de Bauer Bauer’s Chameleon Gecko

Red List Status -

Near Threatened (NT) , assessed in 11/12/2017

Protected species -

in Southern Province , in Northern Province

Description

Description:

A small species of gecko growing to a body length of 55mm and tail 115% that of the body. It has moderately broad toes and large plate like scales on the head and neck, with a distinctive groove running from the corner of the mouth towards the ear, the skin of the groove being yellow in colour. The colour pattern on the body is typically pale with a mottling of darker markings sometimes forming a pattern of transverse bars across the body. White underneath.

 

Natural distribution:

Restricted to the far north of the island.

 

Distribution within Province Nord: Recorded from a number of locations on the north-west coast from Ouaco north to Poum on the Grande Terre, Mt Panié on the east coast, and on Ile Yandé and the Iles Belep.

 

Habitat:

Maquis shrubland; riverine gallery forest; sclerophyll forest; and humid forest (Mt Panié).

 

Threats:

  • high level of threat to closed forest/sclerophyll forest populations with high infestation levels of introduced fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata) potentially causing a significant decline in abundance.

  • high level of threat to populations in sclerophyll and low elevation closed forest on the west coast from clearing for ranching or agriculture leading to degradation, loss, and further fragmentation of habitat.

  • high but localised level of threat to isolated humid forest and gully forests on the north-west ultramafics through loss or degradation of habitat from activities associated with mining.

  • moderate to high level of threat to maquis shrubland through repeated firing leading to a decline in quality of habitat.

  • moderate to high level of threat to sclerophyll and low elevation closed forest edge on the west coast through repeated firing of adjacent savannah habitat leading to a decline in area, extent and quality of habitat.

  • potentially moderate level of threat to populations inhabiting maquis shrubland on ultramafic soils through activities associated with mining leading to a decline in area, extent and quality habitat.

  • potentially moderate level of threat from exotic pests such as rats and cats (predation of adults, young & eggs).

  • localised but potentially intensive threat by collection for illegal trade at readily accessible sites.

 

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

 

Eurydactylodes agricolae is recorded from two locations in the Iles Belep, Ile Yandé and six locations in the northwest of the island, and one (possibly three) locations on the northeast coast in closed forest habitat - indicating it occupies a relatively broad range of habitats. Maquis shrubland and gallery forest on the west and north coasts are fragmented, and each site record potentially represents an isolated sub-population.

 

The species overall distribution as it is known satisfies the criteria for a small distribution (area of occupancy 500-1000km2), but it is likely to be recorded from additional locations with further survey work. Threats leading to a continuing decline in maquis and forest habitat on the west and north coasts have been identified, in particular the threat posed by introduced fire ants on populations in dry closed forest habitats (gallery forest and sclerophyll forest) is significant. Also of particular concern is the affect of fire on maquis shrubland, (loss of diversity and domination by Acacia) leading to simplification of the habitat.

 

The species overall small distribution, much of which consists as small, fragmented isolates, in combination with a suite of threats which impact on the area, extent and/or quality of habitat indicates Eurydactylodes agricolae satisfies the criteria to be categorised as Vulnerable.

 

 

 Department of Herpetology, Australian Museum, 6 College Street, Sydney 2000, New South Wales, Australia


Although its distribution is below the threshold for extent of occurrence and area of occupancy for Vulnerable, it occurs at well over 10 locations. However, given the current rate of expansion of nickel mining, the status of this species needs to be monitored as it could change rapidly and require re-assignment to a higher threat level. Therefore, Eurydactylodes agricolae is listed as Near Threatened as it almost meets the requirements for listing under criterion B1ab(iii).

Geographical area


This species is endemic to Province Nord, New Caledonia. It occurs in Northern Grande Terre, from Tinip and Mt Taom on the west coast and the Panié massif on the east coast, northwards to the Poum massif. Also on the Iles Belep and Ile Yandé. It appears to be parapatric with Eurydactylodes vieillardi. It occurs at elevations of up to 1,000 m. The extent of occurrence is estimated at 4,737 km2, and the area of occupancy at 84 km2.

Population


The combined effects of clearance for agriculture and wildfires have resulted in the loss of most lowland maquis, sclerophyll forest and closed forests across the entire range of Eurydactylodes agricolae, and at higher elevations past mining activities and wildfires have similarly reduced habitat extent. As a consequence the remaining populations are fragmented and patchy in occurrence. The current expansion of nickel mines on Poum, Dôme de Tiébaghi, Kaala and Taom is further reducing the area of occupied habitat. There are no quantitative data on population size or trends but at many localities Eurydactylodes agricolae is still abundant and the most common gecko species present.

Habitat


This species inhabits a very wide range of wooded habitats including maquis shrublands, sclerophyll forest, gallery forest, closed humid forest and montane forest. It is arboreal; at least partly, possibly primarily diurnal. It appears to remain on twigs and foliage all the time rather than seeking cover during periods of inactivity.

Threats


The major threat to Eurydactylodes agricolae is the current expansion of the nickel mines on Poum, Dôme de Tiébaghi, Kaala and Taom as these are removing the maquis habitat of the highest density populations. Wildfires are a recurrent threat in maquis and dry forest habitats the western part of this species' range and on the islands. Habitat degradation from introduced ungulates (deer and pigs, Jourdan 2014) occurs throughout, plus there are local impacts from livestock (e.g. cattle at Rivière Nehoué). Rodents and feral cats occur throughout the range of Eurydactylodes agricolae—and are abundant at many sites—and they are expected to exert a predation pressure (Palmas 2017). The invasive ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, occurs at most low-elevation sclerophyll and closed forest sites inhabited by E. agricolae and is expanding into maquis habitats as well. The impact of these ants on E. agricolae is not known but it is expected to be detrimental (Jourdan et al. 2000, 2001). The distinctive chameleon-like appearance of this species and its diurnal activity make it a potential target for illegal collection and trafficking.

Conservation


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 the Réserve du Mont Panié but no conservation management is currently being undertaken.

Bibliography


Bauer, A.M., Jackman, T., Sadlier, R.A., Whitaker, A.H. 2009. Review and phylogeny of the New Caledonian diplodactylid gekkotan genus Eurydactylodes Wermuth, 1965, with the description of a new species. Zoologia Neocaledonica 7, Mémoires du Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle(198) , p.13–36.

Jourdan, H., Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2000. Premières observations sur les conséquences de l’invasion de Wasmannia auropunctata 1863 (Roger) sur les prédateurs supérieurs dans les écosystèmes Néo-calédoniens. Actes des collectes insectes sociaux(13) , p.121-126.

IUCN 2021. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2021-2.

Jourdan, H., Sadlier, R.A. and Bauer, A.M. 2001. Little Fire Ant Invasion (Wasmannia auropunctata) as a threat to New Caledonian lizards: Evidences from a sclerophyll forest (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology(38) , p.283-301.

Jourdan, H., Brescia, F. and Vidal, E. 2014. Programme R_Mines.Impact des espèces invasives sur les communautés de reptiles des massifs miniers.

Uetz, P. (ed.) 2017. The Reptile Database.

Henkel, F.W., Böhme, W. 2001. A new carphodactyline gecko of the New Caledonian genus Eurydactylodes (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Salamandra(37) , p.149–150.

Palmas, P., Jourdan, H., Rigault, F., Debar, L., De Meringo, H., Bourguet, E., Mathivet, M., Lee, M., Adjouhgniope, R., Papillon, Y. and Bonnaud, E. 2017. Feral cats threaten the outstanding endemic fauna of the New Caledonia biodiversity hotspot. Biological Conservation(214) , p.250-259.

Experts


Assessor(s): Sadlier, R., Bauer, A., Jourdan, H., Astrongatt, S., Deuss, M., Duval, T., Bourguet, E., McCoy, S., Bouteiller, A., Lagrange, A.

Reviewer(s): Cox, N.

Contributor(s): Whitaker, A.

Facilitator(s): Tanguy, V., Lietar, J., Warimavute, G.


Geographical distribution