Naultinus flavirictus

Aupōuri gecko

Naultinus flavirictus
(Hitchmough et al., 2021)

Aupōuri geckos from the northern (above) and southern (below) extent of their distribution. <a href="https://www.instagram.com/nickharker.nz/">© Nick Harker</a>
Image attribution
Aupōuri geckos from the northern (above) and southern (below) extent of their distribution. © Nick Harker
Herpetofaunal category
NZ Geckos
Species complex
Conservation Status
At Risk - Declining
Previous scientific names
Naultinus "North Cape"
Common names
Aupōuri gecko,
North Cape green gecko,
Yellow-lipped gecko.

Length: SVL up to 82mm, with the tail being longer than the body length

Weight: up to 14 grams

Description

New Zealand's northern-most and most-recently discovered green gecko, from the northern tip of the North Island. Aupōuri geckos have a distinctive orange colour at the edges of their mouths, which distinguish them from related species.

Aupōuri geckos are bright green, often uniform or marked by 2 rows of white or yellow blotches or stripes (often finely edged with black) down each side of the dorsum. Patterns may be edged with black or a darker shade of green. Tongue red, eyes light orange/brown. Soles of feet are light grey green.

Click here for information on how Aupouri green gecko differ in appearance from other species in the Naultinus group.

Life expectancy

Largely unknown. Other species of Naultinus typically reach ages of up to 25 years.

Distribution

Aupōuri Peninsula / northern tip of the North Island.

Ecology and habitat

Aupōuri geckos are diurnal (active during the day) and are arboreal (tree dwelling). In common with other green geckos (Naultinus spp.) they have a prehensile tail which acts as a third-limb / climbing aid when moving through shrubs and trees.

Aupōuri geckos inhabit scrubland and forested areas, in particular occupying the foliage of trees and shrubs such as manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and kanuka (Kunzea spp.) trees.

Social structure

All green gecko species are solitary and can often be aggressively territorial. In captive group situations green geckos can often display aggressive behaviour, particularly biting, towards conspecifics (particularly aggression between males as a result of competition for mates). Green geckos will also display aggressive behaviour if threatened; this consists of mouth gaping, biting, lunging, and vocalisation (a barking sound).

Breeding biology

Aupōuri geckos are viviparous, giving birth to one or two live young in early autumn to late summer.

Diet

Their diet consists primarily of insects such as flies, beetles, and moths. Green geckos will also consume nectar/honeydew.

Disease

Largely unknown.

Conservation status

DOC classify the species as 'At Risk - Declining'.

They currently occur only on the mainland where they face threats from introduced mammalian predators and habitat destruction.

Interesting notes

The latin name 'flavirictus' refers to the diagnostic yellow / orange colour at the edges of the mouth.

References

Gill, B.J., & Whitaker, A.H. (1996). New Zealand frogs and reptiles. Auckland: David Bateman Limited.

Jewell, T. (2011). A photographic guide to reptiles and amphibians of New Zealand. Auckland: New Holland Publishers Ltd.

Hitchmough, R. A., Nielsen, S. V., Lysaght, J. A., Bauer, A. M. (2021). A new species of Naultinus from the Te Paki area, northern New Zealand. Zootaxa4915 (3). doi: https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4915.3

Nielson , S.V., Bauer, A.M., Jackman, T.R., Hitchmough, R.A., & Daugherty, C.H. (2011). New Zealand geckos (Diplodactylae): Cryptic diversity in a post-Gondwanan lineage with trans-Tasman affinities. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 59, 1, 1-22.

Robb, J. (1980). New Zealand amphibians and reptiles in colour. Auckland, New Zealand: Collins.