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Gigarcanum delcourti BAUER & RUSSELL, 1986

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Higher TaxaDiplodactylidae, Gekkota, Sauria, Squamata (lizards: geckos)
Common NamesE: Kawekaweau (Gecko) 
SynonymHoplodactylus delcourti — BAUER & RUSSELL 1986
Hoplodactylus delcorti — TOWNS 1988
Hoplodactylus delcourti — KLUGE 1993
Hoplodactylus delcourti — RÖSLER 2000: 90
Hoplodactylus delcourti — NIELSEN et al. 2011
Hoplodactylus delcourti — RÖSLER 2018: 6
Gigarcanum delcourti — HEINICKE et al. 2023 
DistributionNew Zealand

Type locality: “possibly North Island of New Zealand”  
TypesHolotype: MMNH 1985-38 
CommentConservation: This species is known only from a single specimen collected in the early 18th century and is probably now extinct.

Abundance: only known from the type specimen (Meiri et al. 2017).

Type species: Hoplodactylus delcourti BAUER & RUSSELL 1986 is the type species of the genus Gigarcanum HEINICKE et al. 2023. 
EtymologyNamed after Alain Delcourt of the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Marseille.

The genus name is a combination of two words: the Latin adjective gigas, meaning giant and taken from the Ancient Greek Γίγᾱς, and the Latin noun arcanum, meaning secret or mystery. The combination refers to the size of the type species and the unknown provenance of the only known specimen. The gender is neuter. 
  • Bauer, A.M. & Russell,A.P. 1986. Hoplodactylus delcourti n. sp. (Reptilia: Gekkonidae), the largest known gecko. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 13: 141-148 - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M.;Russell, Anthony P. 1990. Recent advances in the search for the living giant gecko of New Zealand. Cryptozoology 9: 66-73
  • Bauer, Aaron M.;Russell, Anthony P. 1991. The maximum size of giant geckos: A cautionary tale. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 26 (2): 25-26 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Gutsche, A. 2012. Vermisst: Delcourts Riesengecko (Hoplodactylus delcourti). Terraria-Elaphe 2012 (4): 102 - get paper here
  • Heinicke, M.P., Nielsen, S.V., Bauer, A.M. et al. 2023. Reappraising the evolutionary history of the largest known gecko, the presumably extinct Hoplodactylus delcourti, via high-throughput sequencing of archival DNA. Sci Rep 13, 9141 - get paper here
  • Macredie, Grant 1996. Stories of the giant Kaweau. Dactylus 3 (1): 13-15
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Nielsen, Stuart V.; Aaron M. Bauer, Todd R. Jackman, Rod A. Hitchmough and Charles H. Daugherty 2011. New Zealand geckos (Diplodactylidae): Cryptic diversity in a post-Gondwanan lineage with trans-Tasman affinities. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59 (1): 1-22 - get paper here
  • Rösler, H. 2000. Kommentierte Liste der rezent, subrezent und fossil bekannten Geckotaxa (Reptilia: Gekkonomorpha). Gekkota 2: 28-153
  • Rösler, H. 2018. Haftbar -- Die einzigartige Welt der Geckos. Begleitheft zur Ausstellung im Naturkundemuseum Erfurt Mai-Aug 2018, 96 pp.
  • Russel, A. P.; Bauer, A. M. 1986. Le gecko geant Hoplodactylus delcourti et ses relations avec le gigantisme et l'endemisme insulaire chez les gekkonidae. Mesogee 46 (1): 25-28 [English translation in Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 26:26-30] - get paper here
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