Ascalabotes leachianus Cuvier, 1829, type locality unknown. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Leach's giant gecko; French: gecko géant de Leach, caméléon géant; German: Neukaledonischer Riesengecko.
I Coleonyx variegatus I Gonatodes albogularis
H Gekko gecko H Lialis burtonis H Rhacodactylus leachianus
The species grows to 10 in (255 mm) in snout-vent length and is considered the largest living gecko. It is heavy-bodied, with extensive skin folds on the flanks and legs and partially webbed digits. The head is elongate; the feet are large, with broad, undivided pads; and the tail is very short. These geckos are brownish, greenish, or gray with darker punctuations (speckles) or reticulations (net-like patterns) or with white or pinkish bars on the flanks.
The species is native to New Caledonia. HABITAT
These geckos inhabit humid forest.
The geckos are nocturnal, spending daylight hours motionless on tree trunks or branches. They make a variety of croaks, growls, and whistles.
The species is insectivorous (insect-eating) and frugivorous (fruit-eating). It may eat fruits exclusively at certain times of year and also prey on nestling birds and lizards.
Clutches of two large (up to 1.6 in, or 40 mm) leathery-shelled eggs are laid in shallow nests in the ground. Sex determination may be temperature-dependent.
Not threatened. The species is widespread on the mainland and offshore islands, but deforestation and illegal collecting for the pet trade are causes for concern.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
This is a highly desirable species in the herpetocultural trade. ♦
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