New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2007) 31(1): 111- 116

Detectability, movements and apparent lack of homing in Hoplodactylus maculatus (Reptilia: Diplodactylidae) following translocation

Short Communication
Marieke Lettink 1,2
  1. Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. Address for correspondence: 29 Coates Road, Birdlings Flat, RD 3, Little River 759, New Zealand

Translocation is an important tool in the conservation of New Zealand reptiles. Despite this, it is generally not known how Hoplodactylus geckos respond to being translocated, partly because they are difficult to monitor. In this opportunistic study, common geckos (H. maculatus) were captured from a site at Birdlings Flat (South Island, New Zealand) that was destined for destruction, and released in native coastal shrubland km away. Geckos were sampled monthly using pitfall traps and artificial retreats, with only the latter method yielding captures. Ten out of translocated geckos remained at the release site, and translocated animals moved equivalent distances to resident geckos (n = 3) over a -year period following translocation. Although studies spanning multiple decades may be needed to determine whether translocations of Hoplodactylus geckos are ultimately successful given their life-history traits, the development of an effective detection method is nonetheless a useful contribution.