List of geckos of New Zealand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dozens of species of geckos are found in New Zealand.[1] The number of species is unknown – as of 2021 there are 48 species in 7 genera, but more species are being studied.[2] All of them are native to New Zealand and are endemic (found in no other country). They are all in the Diplodactylidae family of geckoes, which is found in Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

New Zealand’s geckos are highly unusual in that they are viviparous, giving birth to live young, typically twins, rather than laying eggs. Two species of rough-snouted giant geckos from New Caledonia are the only other viviparous geckos in the world.
New Zealand geckos are omnivorous – their diet is primarily insectivorous in nature – flies, spiders, moths etc., but they will supplement it with fruit (i.e. from mahoe) and nectar (i.e. from flax flowers) when it is available.[3]

Geckos are often a target for wildlife smugglers.


As at 2021 the taxonomically described species are as follows:[2]

  • Dactylocnemis pacificus (Gray, 1842) – Pacific gecko or Pacific sticky-toed gecko
  • Hoplodactylus delcourti Bauer & Russell, 1986 – Delcourt’s sticky-toed gecko, Delcourt’s giant gecko, or kawekaweau (presumed extinct; uncertain if a New Zealand species – see below)
  • Hoplodactylus duvaucelii (Dumeril & Bibron, 1836)– Duvaucel’s gecko or forest gecko. This species may represent multiple species or sub-species including the northern and the southern Duvaucel’s gecko.
  • Mokopirirakau cryptozoicus (Jewell & Leschen, 2004) – Tākitimu gecko
  • Mokopirirakau galaxias Knox et al., 2021– hura te ao gecko
  • Mokopirirakau kahutarae (Whitaker, 1985) – black-eyed gecko
  • Mokopirirakau granulatus (Gray, 1845) – forest gecko
  • Mokopirirakau nebulosus (McCann, 1955) – cloudy gecko
  • Naultinus elegans Gray, 1842 – Auckland green gecko
  • Naultinus flavirictus Hitchmough et al., 2021 – Aupouri green gecko
  • Naultinus gemmeus (McCann, 1955) – jewelled gecko
  • Naultinus grayii Bell, 1843 – Northland green gecko or Gray’s tree gecko
  • Naultinus manukanus (McCann, 1955) – Marlborough green gecko or manuka gecko
  • Naultinus punctatus Gray, 1843 – Wellington green gecko
  • Naultinus rudis (Fischer, 1882) – rough gecko
  • Naultinus stellatus Hutton, 1872 – Nelson green gecko or starry tree gecko
  • Naultinus tuberculatus(McCann, 1955) – West Coast green gecko, Lewis Pass green gecko, or warty tree gecko
  • Toropuku stephensi (Robb, 1980) – Stephen’s Island gecko or Cook Strait striped gecko
  • Toropuku inexpectatus Hitchmough et al., 2020 – northern striped gecko
  • Tukutuku rakiurae (Thomas, 1981) – harlequin gecko
  • Woodworthia brunnea – Canterbury gecko
  • Woodworthia chrysosiretica (Robb, 1980) – gold-striped gecko, gold-stripe gecko, or golden sticky-toed gecko
  • Woodworthia maculata (Gray, 1845) – New Zealand common gecko or Raukawa gecko

Species yet to be taxonomically determined[edit]

The number of New Zealand gecko species is not settled, with new ones being described. Some animals with a wide range previously thought to comprise a single species actually represent multiple sub-species, as with the common gecko, Woodworthia maculata.[4] A number of alpine species have emerged from high altitude discoveries in the South Island.

As at 2021 the species or subspecies that have yet to be taxonomically determined include:[2]

Delcourt’s giant gecko[edit]

Hoplodactylus delcourti, or Delcourt’s giant gecko, is a very large extinct gecko that is known from a single, partial specimen of unknown origin in a museum in France. It is presumed to have come from either New Zealand or New Caledonia, and it has been suggested it is the kawekaweau (a large reptile) of Māori lore.[4] However, the absence of anything resembling H. delcourti from the New Zealand herpetofaunal fossil record casts doubt on whether it is a New Zealand species.[5]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • New Zealand Geckos; A guide to captive maintenance and breeding, RPV Rowlands, Ecoprint, 1999

External links[edit]