Rhacodactylus ciliatus - Crested Gecko
A app. 2 inch long newly hatched Crested Gecko
The New Caledonian Crested Gecko, Guichenot's Giant Gecko or Eyelash Gecko, Rhacodactylus ciliatus, is a species of gecko native to southern New Caledonia. This species was thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994. Along with several other Rhacodactylus species, it is being considered for protected status by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and
The species was first described in 1866 as Correlophus ciliatus by the French zoologist Alphone Guichenot in an article entitled "Notice sur un nouveau genre de sauriens de la famille des geckotiens du Muséum de Paris" ("Notes on a new species of lizard in the gecko family") in the Mémoires de la Société Scientifique Naturelle de Chérbourg. It has since been renamed Rhacodactylus ciliatus.
The generic name Rhacodactylus is Greek in origin: Rhakos, meaning "spine" and Dactylus meaning "finger". The specific name, ciliatus, is Latin: Cilia means "fringe" or "eyelash" and refers to the crest of skin over the animal's eyes that resembles an eyelash.
The New Caledonian Crested Gecko has hair-like projections found above the eyes, resembling eyelashes. It has a wedge shaped head and the males with a crest that runs from each eye to the tail. The toes and the tip of the tail are covered in small hairs called setae. Each seta is divided into hundreds of smaller (approximately 200 nanometres in diameter) hairs called spatulae. It is believed these structures exploit the weak van der Waals force to help the gecko climb on most solid surfaces. The toes have small claws which aid in climbing surfaces to which their toes cannot cling.
The New Caledonian Crested Gecko has many naturally occurring color groups, some of which include: gray, brown, red, orange and yellow of various shades. They have variable markings, which include: spots, straight stripes and tiger-like stripes. The markings and coloration are not geographic indicators; offspring of the same clutch may display differing coloration and markings. The colors are brighter and more prominent at night.
The New Caledonian Crested Gecko has distinct structural morphs in head size and crest abundancy. Geckos with a head length less than 1.3 times its width are considered "crowned" Crested Geckos. They can vary in the amount and size of the crests; some have crests that extend to the base of the tail and some lack crests on one side of their
The Crested Gecko is endemic to South Province, New Caledonia. There are three disjunct populations, one found on the Isle of Pines and surrounding islets, and there are two populations found on the main island of Grande Terre. One population is around the Blue River, which is a protected provincial park, and the other is further north, just south of Mount Dzumac