Natural history, distribution, and conservation status of the Barbados leaf-toed gecko, Phyllodactylus pulcher Gray, 1828 (Squamata, Gekkonidae)

Robert Williams, Julia Horrocks, Angelo Pernetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Barbados leaf-toed gecko (Phyllodactylus pulcher) is a medium sized (to 67mm snout-vent-length: SVL), nocturnal lizard endemic to the island of Barbados (431 km²), West Indies. Due to historical difficulty in finding the gecko, the conservation status of the species has never been ascertained, and until recently the continued existence of the species was in question. The main goal of this article is to provide the first information on natural history, geographic range and distribution, morphology, population size, and conservation status for the species. Data were collected during night time surveys undertaken on the south, east, and northern coast of Barbados in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Population size was estimated using capture-mark-recapture methods within a 25 m2quadrat, over ten capture sessions in April-May 2014, with extrapolation of total population size to the extent of available habitat on Barbados. The gecko was found to be predominantly scansorial, inhabiting rocky cliff habitat within natural vegetation zones.Phyllodactylus pulcherlays a single egg in narrow rock crevices and deep impressions of coral rock, with evidence for communal use of egg deposition sites. Gravid females and neonates have so far only been found in March-June. A high incidence of tail loss occurs in individuals (94%), indicating a potentially high level of pressure from introduced predators. Global population size ofP. pulcheris estimated at 12,411 geckos, and with such a small extent of occurrence (0.3 km2), a conservation status of Critically Endangered (CR) is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalHerpetology Notes
Volume8
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2015

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