Possible new species found at Denniston BioBlitz

04 Mar 2012

Scientists may have found a forest gecko at the Denniston BioBlitz that has never before been found on mainland New Zealand. Lizard experts Marieke Lettink and Mandy Tocher on Sunday afternoon found an extremely unusual olive-green forest gecko under some old sheets of corrugated iron on Denniston Plateau.
There's a chance that it is a forest gecko known only on Open Bay Island, off the west coast of the South Island. The Open Bay Island forest gecko is nationally endangered.
"It's a very exciting find - it's significant," according to Mandy Tocher. Genetic testing will be done to establish what species of gecko it is.
Wildlife photographer Rod Morris - who inspired the Denniston BioBlitz - told the closing BioBlitz meeting on Sunday afternoon that the huge range of species found during the BioBlitz indicated that the Denniston Plateau seemed to be working as a mainland island. Numbers of rats and possums are very low, which allows insects and other plants and animals to thrive.
This is why the Denniston Plateau should be protected as a reserve - not destroyed by an open-cast coal mine, he said.