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    Default Revision of Rhacodactylus Genus


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    Bauer, A.M., Jackman, T.A., Sadlier, R.A., Whitaker, A.H. (2012) "Revision of the giant geckos of New Caledonia (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae: Rhacodactylus)". Zootaxa 3404: 1 - 52.
    www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2012/f/z03404p052f.pdf

    This study proposes the following:

    1) To split the Rhacodactylus genus into Rhacodactylus, Correlophus, and Mniarogekko;
    2) Rhacodactylus ciliatus and R. sarasinorum would become Correlophus ciliatus and C. sarasinorum;
    3) Correlophus ciliatus would be split into C. ciliatus and C. belepensis;
    4) The species R. chahoua would be split into Mniarogekko chahoua and M. jalu.
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    Finally!!!
    It's an interesting read!
    Last edited by Graham_s; 08-03-2012 at 08:50 AM.

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    Not the full article but this one has pictures...
    Revision of the giant geckos of New Caledonia (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae: Rhacodactylus) « www.herpsociety.org

    While this is interesting, I'm not sure how much it applies to us who keep them as captives. I think the geckos we have are such mutts of whatever species they are now differentiating between that we might as well keep calling them what we have always called them. More like a breed name than anything. I can't be confident in calling my cresties either Correlopis ciliatus or belepensis, or my chahoua Mniarogekko chahoua or Mniarogekko jalu because there is a good chance they are mixes of both species from years of misidentification and captive breeding.

    Just me two cents. Great article though! ... Or at least start to it haha
    -Justin Morash

    Specializing in Aeluroscalabotes, Goniurosaurus, Pachydactylus and a variety of geckos from Madagascar, New Caledonian and Australia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMorash View Post
    I can't be confident in calling my cresties either Correlopis ciliatus or belepensis, or my chahoua Mniarogekko chahoua or Mniarogekko jalu because there is a good chance they are mixes of both species
    You don't even have to call it something, there are no captive Correlophus belepensis because they were just recently discovered as a population on Belep islands, north of Grand Terre. All Crested geckos that are in the trade should have their origins in Correlophus ciliatus from the south or Ile de Pines.

    With chahoua, it is a bit more difficult since there were animals from GT and from IP that were crossed. If you can trace your animals roots a bit, it should be no problem to see if they are mutts or at least are descendants from the same island.

    Same thing with trachyrhynchus and leachianus, if they were kept locality pure, there is no problem. And even though they SAY leachianus leachianus and leachianus henkeli are the same, i would not recommend to breed them

    Edit: Hannibal, could you send me the full article via email? I can't find the full abstract and your link does not work.
    Last edited by Koghis; 08-03-2012 at 11:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal View Post
    Thank you!

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    Just some food for thought:
    We should keep in mind that part of the reason that a rift (or, rather virtually no collaboration between both parties) exists between scientists and hobbyists is simply due to not respecting and acknowledging each other’s side. I suppose that if I were a scientist and the National Science Foundation grant committee found it appealing to fund my research (perhaps supplying more than $1,000,000 in research grant money) – than I must know what I’m doing in order to gain the investment from a massive organization that gets piles and piles of grant proposals every year. So here I am as a hobbyist, setting in the central part of the USA, with my field guides, online resources, opinions from others in my similar position, and come to some hypothetical reasons why I do not believe that this article should be 100% accepted/true. That is the most profoundly pompous and misplaced/unqualified opinion I can imagine in this case. The authors of this article are qualified and experienced to measures that even myself cannot comprehend. The most rudimentary measure of respect that I can put forth is to follow these ideas, revisions (and subsequently new and current names) and continue to embrace and follow along with the evolution and progress of science that pertains to the animals we all keep, breed and research (in our own ways). Alternatively, I could put forth a better scientific (qualified, experienced, funded and reviewed) reason as to why their work is erroneous. I know that will not be happening with any online gecko forum participant any time soon

    <<<Originally Posted by JMorash
    I can't be confident in calling my cresties either Correlopis ciliatus or belepensis, or my chahoua Mniarogekko chahoua or Mniarogekko jalu because there is a good chance they are mixes of both species>>>

    What you can be confident in calling your "cresties" is Correlophis sp. (although you certainly have C. ciliatus) and your chahoua is Mniarogekko sp. until you determine which species you have.

    BTW: my “two cent ideas” are numerically inferior to those who have published $1,000,000 backed ideas.

    Jon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koghis View Post
    You don't even have to call it something, there are no captive Correlophus belepensis because they were just recently discovered as a population on Belep islands, north of Grand Terre. All Crested geckos that are in the trade should have their origins in Correlophus ciliatus from the south or Ile de Pines.
    I'm not disputing the existence of these separate species, I'm just not confident that the animals that exist in captivity are completely pure C. ciliatus. I do refer to these animals now as there proper names, but I was trying to make a point that there is little assurance that they were all collected from those areas. I did import and export for years, a lot of the animals I received from fishermen (mainly did fish) were not what they were labelled or caught from where they said they were. So I understand that while most exporters say they this animal from this place, this is not always the case unfortunately.

    C. belepensis is not newly discovered, just newly named by science. The gecko has existed on those islands for the long time, and there is good chance that it has probably come in contact with humans on a regular basis. It's not far fetched to assume some C.belepensis (which just looks like a brown, not heavily fringed ciliatus), could have gotten mixed up in the exports from NC.

    So yes while I know the animals I have are Correlophus sp. I can't be completely confident they are absolutely pure ciliatus. However I'm not stupid, I understand that there is a good likelihood they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geitje View Post
    Just some food for thought:
    We should keep in mind that part of the reason that a rift (or, rather virtually no collaboration between both parties) exists between scientists and hobbyists is simply due to not respecting and acknowledging each other’s side. I suppose that if I were a scientist and the National Science Foundation grant committee found it appealing to fund my research (perhaps supplying more than $1,000,000 in research grant money) – than I must know what I’m doing in order to gain the investment from a massive organization that gets piles and piles of grant proposals every year. So here I am as a hobbyist, setting in the central part of the USA, with my field guides, online resources, opinions from others in my similar position, and come to some hypothetical reasons why I do not believe that this article should be 100% accepted/true. That is the most profoundly pompous and misplaced/unqualified opinion I can imagine in this case. The authors of this article are qualified and experienced to measures that even myself cannot comprehend. The most rudimentary measure of respect that I can put forth is to follow these ideas, revisions (and subsequently new and current names) and continue to embrace and follow along with the evolution and progress of science that pertains to the animals we all keep, breed and research (in our own ways). Alternatively, I could put forth a better scientific (qualified, experienced, funded and reviewed) reason as to why their work is erroneous. I know that will not be happening with any online gecko forum participant any time soon

    What you can be confident in calling your "cresties" is Correlophis sp. (although you certainly have C. ciliatus) and your chahoua is Mniarogekko sp. until you determine which species you have.

    BTW: my “two cent ideas” are numerically inferior to those who have published $1,000,000 backed ideas.

    Jon
    Jon, again, I apologize if you think I'm disputing the existence of the species in the wild, or arguing with the work of these very dedicated scientists. I am not. I'm simply throwing a wrench in the discussion, trying to stir up this discussion. Too many people read something at face value and just follow it as law. The wonderful thing about science is that it is always up for debate, otherwise it in itself is self defeating.

    For Correlophis ciliatus, I'm less wary, of course. Like I said above, while it isn't without possibility, it is most likely all ciliatus, are just that. However with M. chahoua and jalu debate, there is a long history of debate regarding the accuracy of the "mainland" - "Pine Island" chahoua.

    We already know people will sell nice ML, or MLXPI crosses as PI because they demand a higher price. A lot of people argue that every chahoua that exists is just a mutt of the two different forms, and there are no pure chahoua either way. Others argue that it is easy to trace these animals back. With respected parties arguing either way, and no one putting up real evidence it's hard to form a critical opinion.

    This exact same thing happened with the uroplatus complex. For a long time sikorae and samiti were imported as the same species, then subspecies, now it seems like they are completely separate species, many people think some U. giganteus got imported as fimbriatus, there are now several ebenaui and henkeli variations that may eventually become separate species. Paroedura bastardi complex had similar problems. It's a good chance that somewhere along the line sikorae and samiti got crossed and ended up in other collections as sikorae. Luckily we can still import wild uroplatus to make our collections more "pure". We don't have this luxury with New Caledonian geckos.

    Finally, by saying we might as well just call them Rhac. ciliatus, chahoua, whatever. I was simply stating that if we determine that we cannot confidently trace all animals on the market back to their wild origins, than we cannot be confident they are purely those species as now distinguished by science. If the animals aren't actually pure ciliatus or chahoua isn't there no harm in continuing to call them rhac. whatever as trade names, or at least as you suggested Correlophis sp. or Mniarogekko sp.

    However while we are on this topic, Mr. Boone, what is a "Boone line" chahoua? I purchased one from an order Neil brought in from you. I figured it was a mainland chahoua, but I'm not sure.

    Thanks,

    JMorash
    -Justin Morash

    Specializing in Aeluroscalabotes, Goniurosaurus, Pachydactylus and a variety of geckos from Madagascar, New Caledonian and Australia.

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    My message above was only to bring in some food for thought. Nothing more, and not directed at you or anyone, but more generally towards the collective community. Anyone and everyone can and will call their animals exactly what they want to call them. I’m not here to gain any support, for Rhacodactylus systematics is not my work. I’m only trying to shine more light on something that is already illuminated.

    As for what is pure M. chahoua and M. jalu in captivity – nobody can say with certainty – unless they can accurately (and honestly….) locate, count and identify the pre-cloacal pore rows in their animals. To establish the identity of their animals from the verbally communicated history of a given form/species/population is exactly that – someone’s word, or, in the case of Mniarogekko’s in captivity – the word on numerous keepers on both sides of this planet and their respective customer’s honesty/integrity for more than 30 years (back to when some of the earliest M. chahoua were collected and exported from New Caledonia).

    Up until today, I have seen tendencies for some Mniarogekko to look more like one form or another of the hobby-communicated forms of Pine Island and Mainland – but, I also see some that are located in-between. These morphological differences might not be anything more than simple physical differences that do not necessarily equate into being unique to M. chahoua or M. jalu. But, for current identification purposes, specimens that have 3 rows of pre-cloacal pores that number 54-91 would be M. jalu; whereas those with 4 rows and numbering around 120 pores would be M. chahoua.

    I have seen 1000’s of live Rhac’s in person in both the USA and Europe since 1981 and can say that I can and will see differences in between the animals in what can be described as “long-term dietary/husbandry techniques” between US and Euro animals that ultimately help shape the way one “form” looks when compared to the next. It’s really no different than if my neighbor was a health food fanatic and exercised daily and I sat around in my house all day on the internet while eating frozen pizza, beer and hotdogs. In time, perhaps 31 years (since 1981) me and my children will look a bit different than my neighbor’s family. Eventually, my neighbor is the lean, stronger and more vibrant form; whereas I’m the fat, pot-bellied, food-trough eating lazy butt form. In fact, our coloration might look different as well. To better explain this – from 1980-2005 most European keepers fed their animals diets (food and supplements) that were completely different than the biggest US-based Rhacodactylus breeders. I know, because I saw the biggest US-based collection numerous times in the 1980’s, and saw the care of the European animals too. I also had some of the very first M. chahoua in the USA, and did have what was probably the first R. auriculatus held by a hobbyist in the USA.

    Correlophis belepensis – the original captive stock of Correlophis ciliatus came from Pine Island which is located off of the south coast of New Caledonia. Belep Island is located on the opposite north end of the island and not likely a place to be confused. The physical differences visible in a photograph should be sufficient to help identify between C. ciliatus and C. belepensis.

    “Boone-line chahoua” – are M. chahoua that I brought back from Europe that were exchanged to me as “European-opinioned” Pine Island, and US-opinioned European mainland types. I plan to examine the pre-cloacal pore arrangements in the males I have from this source to determine if they are M. chahoua or M. jalu. For the moment, I will simply refer to them as European mainland M. cf. chahoua.

    There is no doubt that there are 2 basic Mniarogekko forms in captivity, along with some that show various %’s of similarity to one or the other. Whether or not our traditional P.I. and mainland forms can be called M. chahoua or M. jalu today is not possible. We can only say that our traditional Pine Island Rhacodactylus chahoua are today M. chahoua “Pine Island”. A lot of mainland chahoua will probably turn out to be M. chahoua “mainland”. In time, it might be possible that some traditionally held Rhacodactylus chahoua “mainland” will be M. jalu – that can be substantiated by what is currently known: the pore row configuration, not by where I think (or was told) they were collected in 1978.............

    Jon
    C. belepensis: note the absence of spines along the body and much smaller dorsal, mid-body scales. Also, note the white, "fleshy", knob-like scales along the mid-body, just about the hind legs.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Geitje; 08-06-2012 at 02:18 PM.
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    Jon - Thanks for some clarification on the "Boone line" Chahoua. Maybe when you find out more you can let us all know more on the forum.
    Also great picture of belepensis. The others I've seen just show it's head and shoulders.
    -Justin Morash

    Specializing in Aeluroscalabotes, Goniurosaurus, Pachydactylus and a variety of geckos from Madagascar, New Caledonian and Australia.

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