BioGecko Issue 1 (July 2012)

Welcome to our inaugural issue, released on the 25th of July 2012.

There is one open access article (look for the link below).


BELL, TRENT. Editorial.



Evaluation of endemic frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri) habitat through a spatial decision support system.

Abstract: Although several Leiopelma hochstetteri population studies have provided information about the habitat-use of the species, little effort has been made to convert much of this knowledge into a model of spatial habitat value useful for planning. This work proposes a method for translating L. hochstetteri habitat-use information into geographic digital data, which is processed with a spatial decision support system to calculate habitat suitability scores for specific areas within a particular region. This approach has the potential to calculate Hochstetter’s frog habitat suitability scores for different locations and scenarios within a particular area and is useful to produce habitat suitability maps. Moreover, the flexibility of this method offers the possibility of producing models for the evaluation of habitat quality for different species around the world.

Najera-Hillman 2012 - Hochstetter's frog.



Determining a conservation threat classification for the Nevis skink, Oligosoma toka.

Abstract: A survey was undertaken during October 2011 to obtain information which would allow the data deficient Nevis skink (Oligosoma toka) to be assigned a conservation threat classification. We recommend that this species be assigned the new threat category of ‘Naturally Uncommon (One Location)’, since this rank appears to be the best fit for this species, in accordance to currently available information on range and abundance. The qualifier ‘One Location’ is based on the following considerations: (a) the Nevis skink appears to be unique to the Nevis Valley—a geographically distinct intermontaine basin, (b) the entire skink population should be considered as one large meta-population, and (c) the range of the Nevis skink is no more than 8,900 hectares in extent. In this scenario, a single event (such as a predator irruption or further habitat loss) could affect all individuals in the meta-population. We have crudely estimated the population to be around 20,000 individuals; this figure is a starting point for more accurate estimation in the future.

Bell et al 2012 - Nevis skinks.




Rediscovery of the spotted skink Oligosoma aff. lineoocellatum ‘Central Canterbury’ in lowland South Canterbury, New Zealand.

Abstract: Although subfossil and historical records indicate that the spotted skink Oligosoma aff. lineoocellatum ‘Central Canterbury’ was once widely distributed through the lowlands of South Canterbury, a 2008 survey of potential lizard habitats, and of limestone outcrops in particular, did not detect this species. In 2012 a small, isolated population was found in stone deposits, interspersed with shrubs and exotic grasses, on pastoral land in northern South Canterbury. The size and characteristics of the habitat are described.

Frank 2012 - Central Canterbury spotted skink.



Observations from a goldstripe gecko, Woodworthia chrysosireticus, population in suburban New Plymouth

Abstract: An observational study with a mark-recapture component on goldstripe geckos (Woodworthia chrysosireticus) was conducted from December 1979 - March 1981 (15 months) in suburban New Plymouth. Although the data from the mark-recapture study has since been lost, recollections of observations are recounted here. This is the earliest known observation of diurnal activity of goldstripe geckos, an observation subsequently confirmed by later studies. Male-male conflict was a regularly observed phenomenon, and males appeared to patrol the wider area, while females seem to be recaptured more often in the same site. Amateur research has the potential to advance natural history knowledge, which may ultimately benefit species conservation. This should be encouraged and supported by authorities.

Melgren 2012 - goldstripe geckos.



--NELSON-TUNLEY, MONIQUA & BLAYNEY, ANDREW. Small-scaled skink society: an interesting research topic?

--BYTHELL, JESSE. Range extension of the Eyre Mountains skink (Oligosoma repens) into Fiordland National Park

--WAITE, JENNIFER & COLLIER, KATHLEEN. Range extension of the black-eyed gecko (Mokopirirakau kahutarae) in Kahurangi National Park.


Photo Galleries

--BLAYNEY, ANDREW & BELL, TRENT. The Strange Case of the Macabre Geckos of Central Otago, And, Other Stories.

--STEPHENSON, BRENT. Suter’s skink (Oligosoma suteri) scavenging from a dolphin carcass.

--STEPHENSON, BRENT. Moko skinks (Oligosoma moco) feeding from flowers of the coastal ngaio (Myoporum laetum).

--KELLY, JAN. A cautionary tale—Discarded bottle entraps skinks to their demise.