List of geckos of New Zealand

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Jewelled gecko, Naultinus gemmeus

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]

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]


  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. 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 from the original (PDF) on 30 July 2022.
  3. ^ Brian Gill and Tony Whitaker (1996). New Zealand frogs and reptiles. David Bateman Ltd.
  4. ^ a b 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
  5. ^ Worthy, Trevor H. (2016). "A Review of the Fossil Record of New Zealand Lizards". New Zealand Lizards. Springer. pp. 65–86. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-41674-8_3. ISBN 978-3-319-41672-4.

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]