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29 September 2020 Reptiles of the Northern Marshall Islands
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Abstract

Fifteen species of reptiles are recorded from among the nine northernmost atolls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI): 3 sea turtles, 10 lizards (3 geckos, 6 skinks, 1 monitor lizard) and 1 typhlopid snake. None is endemic to the Marshalls and all are widely distributed in Micronesia and, in many cases, well beyond. The Common House Gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus, Mariana Monitor, Varanus tsukamotoi, and Brahminy Blindsnake, Indotyphlops braminus, probably were introduced in recent times, but to what extent the other species arrived by natural dispersal, or, alternatively, by human-assisted transport at various times since the initial settlement of the islands about 2,000 years ago, is unknown. The 126 specimens of lizards collected from among eight of the atolls during March/April 2019 include the first records of terrestrial reptiles from Ailinginae Atoll, and the first records of Hemidactylus frenatus from Rongelap, Bokak, and Utirik Atolls, Gehyra oceanica from Rongelap and Taka Atolls, and Lepidodactylus lugubris from Utirik Atoll. Numerous other distribution records obtained from online databases—with the vast majority previously unreported in the literature—are included along with the earliest collection date in the RMI of H. frenatus and a revised early collection date for I. braminus.

© 2020 by University of Hawai‘i Press. All rights reserved.
Donald W. Buden, Danko Taboroši, Maria Kottermair, Andrea Jalandoni, and Matthew Martin "Reptiles of the Northern Marshall Islands," Pacific Science 74(2), 189-209, (29 September 2020). https://doi.org/10.2984/74.2.8
Accepted: 21 May 2020; Published: 29 September 2020
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