Pure zoological inspiration in gecko form.

As a passionate zoologist from before I even knew the term existed, I’ve always felt that the greatest fulfillment of my desires were to be found in the tropics. And largely that’s true. I’m basically a biodiversity junkie, the more the better and places like Dominica, PNG, Borneo, Peninsula Malaysia, Central and Eastern Africa and South America have only confirmed those feelings. Sights like spotting a displaying Draco cornutus (flying lizard) on the tree in front of me whilst also watching an orang utan leave its overnight nest are hard to beat.

Draco cornutus flying lizard

Draco cornutus, one of Borneos flying lizards, displays with dewlap to a neighbouring male, Sabah.

How often are you so delighted by the diversity in front of you that you don’t know which one to stare at? As a herpetologist, the Draco won out, but not before I grabbed a few grainy snaps of my cousin, the orang utan quietly breathing in the early morning air and moving off in search of fruit.

orang utan at dawn

Pongo pygmaeus, orang utan female taking her breakfast in the steamy forests of the Danum Valley, Sabah.

I’ll certainly take that morning to the grave with me. So how come I find myself based at the bottom end of New Zealand, arguably about the most bio-depauparate area imaginable considering it’s latitude and mass. Well it’s got something to do with the society. In New Zealand there is a chance to make a real and sustainable difference to the future security of biodiversity through good conservation science and practice, and have a hope that those achievements can be sustained. My time in the tropics has taught me that achievements there are both political and unfortunately all too often fleeting. I don’t want to give up too easily and I intend to continue to work with and support conservation in the developing world whilst being based down here in NZ.

But there are treats here too! I’ve got the pleasure and privilege of working to expand the recovery of southern NZ dotterel Charadrius obscurus obscurus, through the development of a sustainable and broad spectrum pest management programme on the Tin Range. I’ll post more details later but in setting up the research necessary to underpin this management I occasionally get to rest my eyes on Tukutuku rakiurae, the harlequin gecko. Unfortunately not too much can be said about these truly magnificent geckos because not only do introduced pest species threaten their security but so does the international illegal trade in exotic pets. But what I can tell you is that they probably have a reproductive cycle that makes kakapo look positively rabbit-like. One thing’s for sure, most of the harlequin geckos I’ve seen are probably older than me. For now I’ll leave you with an image of one of these utterly stunning geckos, and a sense that I don’t have to be in the tropics to be struck speechless by nature. I’ll post more on these amazing geckos and the need for their conservation management in coming weeks.

Harlequin gecko Tukutuku rakiurae

A bit of a teaser, the harliquin gecko (Tukutuku rakiurae) is a zoological wonder to behold, in more ways than one, but stunningly beautiful is certainly it’s most obvious and arresting feature.

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~ by motolorax on November 11, 2012.

3 Responses to “Pure zoological inspiration in gecko form.”

  1. Tukutuku rakiurae, what a gem!

  2. Says she with an Anolis carolinensis on her foot! How are you?? Great to hear from you. lets mail/skype/smoke-signal soon. Struggling under some crazy work demands at moment so a bit slow at these things, hugs, j

  3. Love the Harle images James, just beautiful!

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