Crested Gecko
Correlophus ciliatus
Population size
Life Span
15-20 years
g oz 
cm inch 

The Crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus) is a species of lizard native to southern New Caledonia. In 1866, it was described by a French zoologist named Alphonse Guichenot. This species was thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994 during an expedition led by Robert Seipp. Along with several other New Caledonian gecko species, it is being considered for protected status by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.


Among the most distinctive features of Crested geckos are the hair-like projections found above the eyes, which greatly resemble eyelashes. These projections continue as two rows of spines that run from the eyes to the sides of their wedge-shaped head and continue to the base of their tail. Crested geckos do not have eyelids. Instead, a transparent scale, or spectacle, keeps each eye moist, and the geckos use their tongues to clear away debris. Crested geckos possess a semi-prehensile tail which they use to assist in climbing. The tail can be dropped (via caudal autotomy) to distract predators. They do not regenerate their tails once lost; most adults in the wild lack tails. The toes and the tip of the semi-prehensile tail are covered in small hairs called setae. Each seta is divided into hundreds of smaller (approximately 200 nanometres in diameter) hairs called spatulae. It is believed these structures exploit the weak van der Waals force to help the gecko climb on most solid surfaces, most easily on flatter, smoother surfaces such as glass or wood. The toes have small claws which aid in climbing surfaces to which their toes cannot cling. The Crested gecko has many naturally occurring color groups, including grey, brown, red, orange, and yellow of various shades. They have three color morphs in the wild, which include pattern-less, white-fringed, and tiger.




Biogeographical realms

Crested geckos are endemic to South Province, New Caledonia. There are three disjunct populations, one found on the Isle of Pines and surrounding islets, and there are two populations found on the main island of Grande Terre. One population is around the Blue River, which is a protected provincial park, and the other is further north, just south of Mount Dzumac. Crested geckos prefer to live in the canopy of humid forests, coastal forests, and montane forests.

Crested Gecko habitat map

Climate zones

Crested Gecko habitat map
Crested Gecko
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Habits and Lifestyle

Crested geckos are solitary mostly arboreal species, preferring to inhabit the canopy of the New Caledonian rainforests, and because of this, they can jump considerably well. They are primarily nocturnal, and will generally spend the daylight hours sleeping in secure spots in high branches. Crested geckos communicate with the help of barks and squeaks which they use to call for a mate and when threatened. They also use visual displays; for example, when frightened, Crested geckos will rise up on their hind legs and open their mouths wide.

Group name
Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Crested geckos are omnivores (insectivores, frugivores, nectarivores). They feed on a variety of insects, fruit, pollen, and nectar.

Mating Habits

any time of the year except November and December
90 to 190 da
60-150 days
at birth
2 eggs

Little is known about the wild reproductive behavior of Crested geckos in the wild. They usually breed at any time of the year except for the cold months of November and December. Those two months are called a "cooling cycle". After this cycle, they start mating in January and February. They can mate anytime between those 8-10 warm months. After mating females lay 2 eggs, which hatch 60-150 days after they are laid. Eggs are generally laid at four-week intervals. It is currently unknown whether heat plays a role in determining the sex of the embryo, as it can with other gecko species. Newly hatched Crested geckos will generally not eat until after they have shed and eaten their skin for the first time, relying on the remains of their yolk sack for nutrition. Young are independent at birth. Females become reproductively mature when they are 12 months old, while males attain maturity at 9-12 months of age.


Population threats

The biggest threats to the wild population of Crested geckos are the loss of their habitat and the introduction of the Little fire ant 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.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Crested gecko total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The specific name of this species, ciliatus, is Latin, from cilia ("fringe" or "eyelashes") and refers to the crest of skin over the animal's eyes that resemble eyelashes.
  • Crested geckos have a semi-prehensile tail which they use to assist in climbing. The tail can be dropped as a deterrent to predators. Unlike some other geckos, once they lose their tail, it will not grow back; however, this is not as harmful to the gecko as it is in other species. In fact, most adult Crested geckos in the wild lack tails.
  • Crested geckos shed their skin up to once a week when young. When fully grown, the process only occurs once every one or two months.

Coloring Pages


1. Crested Gecko on Wikipedia -
2. Crested Gecko on The IUCN Red List site -

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