new caledonia gecko

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The Crested Gecko, Correlophus ciliatus

The crested gecko is native to New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific Ocean.  Long believed extinct, the species was rediscovered in 1994 after a tropical storm.  The biggest single threat to the wild population appears to be the introduction of the little fire ant (Wassmania auropunctata) to New Caledonia. The ants prey on the geckos, stinging and attacking in great numbers, and they also compete with the geckos for food by preying on arthropods.

Biologists exported several specimens for breeding and study.  (The export of wild crested geckos is now prohibited,)  From these specimens, different breeding lines were established both in Europe and the United States.  The crested gecko is now one of the most widely kept and bred species of gecko in the world.