Archaeological excavations on Tiga provide the first vouchered herpetological records for this small island between Lifou and Maré in the Loyalty Islands. Eighty-three skeletal elements from four sites yielded material assignable to skinks (Emoia loyaltiensis, Lioscincus nigrofasciolatus), geckos (Bavayia crass i-collis, B. sp., Gehyra georgpotthasti, Nactus pelagicus), and a boid snake (Candoia bihroni) all known from elsewhere in the Loyalties, as well as undetermined material consistent with these and other Loyalties lizards. Diagnostic features of geckos versus skinks for elements commonly recovered from archaeological sites and from owl pellets are discussed. Gehyra georgpotthasti has a limited distribution in the Loyalties and its occurrence on Tiga clarifies its range. The boid snake is the only reptile likely to have been harvested by human inhabitants of Tiga. The presence of gekkonid geckos in pre-European times is confirmed and contrasts with the situation of Grande Terre fossil sites, where only diplodactylid geckos have been recovered. Although it is anticipated that all species recovered from archaeological sites are still present on the island, a modern herpetofaunal survey is needed.
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Vol. 69 • No. 4