The Crested gecko is a species of gecko native to southern New Caledonia. This species was thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 1994 during an expedition led by Robert Seipp. Crested geckos are among the largest gecko species. Among the most distinctive features of these geckos are the hair-like projections found above the eyes, which greatly resemble eyelashes. Crested geckos also have two rows of spines that run from the sides of their wedge-shaped head to the base of their tail. The toes and the tip of the semi-prehensile tail are covered in small hairs called setae. The toes have small claws which aid in climbing surfaces to which their toes cannot cling. Crested geckos have 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. Crested geckos are popular in the pet trade.
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 the humid forests, coastal forests, and montane forests.
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.
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 attain maturity at between 9 and 12 months of age.
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.
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.