Karkar Island
Madang Province
5-12 May 2008
Page 3 - The Husk Pile Herps

Map showing Karkar Island, Madang Province, PNG.
click to enlarge map

The species illustrated here are those intimately associated with coconut husk piles, although they may be found elsewhere in other habitats on the island. This is not an exclusive list of husk pile herps for Karkar Island, but rather those species encountered during the 2008 visit. For other species found in husk piles visit the other Karkar Island expedition pages for the years 1990-2006 above and for non-husk pile species click here.

The amphibian encountered in the husk piles is the direct-breeding Papuan wrinkled frog (Platymantis cf. papuensis), a highly variable frog which may be more than one species.

Papuan wrinkled frog,
Platymantis cf. papuensis


The most frequently encountered lizard within the husk piles is the Pelagic gecko (Nactus cf. pelagicus), as many as 20 being found in a single husk pile. Also present on and in the husk piles in 2008 were Blue-tailed skink (Emoia caeruleocauda), Jakati skinks (E.jakati), Wolf's forest skink (Sphenomorphus wolfii) and Solomons forest skink (S.solomonis), the saurophagous Brown sheen skink (Eugongylus rufescens) the New Guinea giant blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua gigas), and the incredible Papuan crocodile skink (Tribolonotus gracilis), a species with a large unusual abdominal gland of unknown purpose.

click on an image to enlarge
Pelagic gecko, Nactus cf. pelagicus
Blue-tailed skink, Emoia caeruleocauda male
Blue-tailed skink, Emoia caeruleocauda female
Jakati skink, Emoia jakati
Wolf's forest skink, Sphenomorphus wolfii
Solomon's forest skink, Sphenomorphus solomonis
Brown sheen skink, Eugongylus rufescens
New Guinea giant blue-tongued skink, Tiliqua gigas
Papuan crocodile skink,Tribolonotus gracilis adult
Papuan crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis juvenile
Abdominal glands of Papuan crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis
Eye of Papuan crocodile skink, Tribolonotus gracilis

Often colubrids are found in coconut husk piles none were found there in 2008. The commonest snake encountered was the New Guinea ground boa (Candoia aspera schmidti). Our search was for the New Guinea small-eyed snake (Micropechis ikaheka) and we did find two specimens.

click on an image to enlarge
New Guinea ground boa, Candoia aspera schmidti
New Guinea small-eyed snake, Micropechis ikaheka

We strongly discourage the capture of snakes by locals, especially venomous species, but from time to time we are presented with specimens by well-meaning or profiteering people. We also refuse to pay for snakes. On Karkar Island in 2008 we were presented with a trussed-up New Guinea small-eyed snake which took a considerable amount of care and time to release from its bonds. This specimen was surprisingly uninjured despite its apparent ill-treatment.

New Guinea small-eyed snake, Micropechis ikaheka


[Page 1 - The Island]
[Page 2 - The Island Herps]