List of geckos of New Zealand

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Jewelled gecko (Naultinus gemmeus)

Dozens of species of gecko are found in New Zealand.[1] The exact number is unknown; as of 2021, there are 48 described species across 7 genera, with more being studied.[2] All are native to New Zealand and are endemic (i.e., found nowhere else). All are placed in the Diplodactylidae family, which is found across 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; most other geckos are oviparous (egg-layers). Two species of the New Caledonian rough-snouted giant geckos are the only other viviparous geckos in the world.

Like most gecko species, New Zealand’s geckos are omnivorous, consuming a diet that is primarily insectivorous in nature, hunting numerous flies, arachnids, lepidoptorans and gryllids (crickets). However, depending on several factors (such as the time of year, seasonal insect availability, bloom cycles of flowering plants, etc.), many geckos will supplement—or even briefly alter—their diets by consuming blossoms, fruits (i.e., from mahoe) or nectar (i.e., from flax flowers) as it becomes available.[3]

Geckos are often a target for wildlife smugglers for sale via the reptile and pet trade.


As of 2024 the taxonomically described species are as follows:[2]

Gigarcanum delcourti (formerly Hoplodactylus delcourti), the largest known species of gecko, only known from a single specimen collected in the 19th century, was formerly thought to have been from New Zealand, but DNA evidence suggests that it actually originated from New Caledonia.[4]

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.[5] 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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dylan van Winkel; Marleen Baling; Rod Hitchmough (2018). Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand (1st ed.). Auckland: Auckland University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-86940-937-1. OL 40449345M. Wikidata Q76013985.
  2. ^ a b c Rod Hitchmough; Ben Barr; Carey Knox; et al. (2021). Conservation status of New Zealand reptiles, 2021 (PDF). New Zealand Threat Classification Series. Vol. 35. pp. 1–23. ISBN 978-1-9911529-2-3. ISSN 2324-1713. Wikidata Q108747299. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 July 2022. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  3. ^ Brian Gill and Tony Whitaker (1996). New Zealand frogs and reptiles. David Bateman Ltd.
  4. ^ Heinicke, Matthew P.; Nielsen, Stuart V.; Bauer, Aaron M.; Kelly, Ryan; Geneva, Anthony J.; Daza, Juan D.; Keating, Shannon E.; Gamble, Tony (2023-06-19). "Reappraising the evolutionary history of the largest known gecko, the presumably extinct Hoplodactylus delcourti, via high-throughput sequencing of archival DNA". Scientific Reports. 13 (1): 9141. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-35210-8. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 10279644. PMID 37336900.
  5. ^ Bauer A. M., Russell A. P. "Hoplodactylus delcourti n. sp. (Reptilia: Gekkonidae), the largest known gecko" Archived 2013-04-20 at the Wayback Machine, New Zealand Journal of Zoology (1986), Vol. 13: 141–148. doi:10.1080/03014223.1986.10422655

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]