Rhacodactylus leachianus

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New Caledonian giant gecko
Rhacodactylus leachianus.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Diplodactylidae
Genus: Rhacodactylus
Species: R. leachianus
Binomial name
Rhacodactylus leachianus
Cuvier, 1829

The New Caledonian giant gecko or Leach's giant gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus), is a large species of gecko first described by Georges Cuvier in 1829. It is often commonly referred to as a Leachie gecko (plural Leachies). It is the largest gecko of the genus Rhacodactylus. At 14 inches (360 mm) total length, it is the largest extant gecko in the world[1] and is considered an example of island gigantism. R. leachianus is currently being evaluated for protected status by CITES. Historically, there have been three recognized subspecies of R. leachianus: R. l. aubrianus, R. l. henkeli (first described by Seipp and Obst in 1994), and R. l. leachianus; however, based on recent molecular data, no populations of R. leachianus are granted subspecies status at the present time.[2]

R. leachianus is a nocturnal arboreal species of gecko. It makes its home in the highest treetops on the island of New Caledonia. Its range includes all of the southern and eastern portions of the main island as well as several of the smaller islands in the group.

This is a heavy bodied gecko. Its skin appears too loose for its body and it has small, stumpy tail. Female R. leachianus lay two eggs, which hatch 60–90 days after they are laid.

R. leachianus feeds on insects and fruit. It will also occasionally consume smaller lizards and in captivity may eat newborn mice.

Many of the locals in New Caledonia call this gecko "the devil in the trees" because of the growling noises it makes.

In captivity[edit]

In captivity, males should be housed separately or as a part of a breeding pair or trio with females. Males housed together will often fight. Females are social and can be housed together. R. leachianus can live up to 20 years in captivity. This gecko requires a large, spacious enclosure and, as is the case with all arboreal species, the cage should be vertically oriented.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allison Ballance and Rod Morris, "Island Magic; wildlife of the south seas", David Bateman publishing, 2003
  2. ^ A.M. Bauer, T.R. Jackman, R.A Sadlier & A.H. Whitaker. 2012. Revision of the giant geckos of New Caledonia (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae: Rhacodactylus). Zootaxa. 3404. 1-52.

External links[edit]