Naultinus manukanus

Marlborough green gecko

Naultinus manukanus
(McCann, 1955)

Marlborough green geckos. <a href="">© Nick Harker</a>
Image attribution
Marlborough green geckos. © Nick Harker
Herpetofaunal category
NZ Geckos
Species complex
Conservation Status
At Risk - Declining
Previous scientific names
Heteropholis manukanus
Common names
Marlborough green gecko,
Manuka gecko.

Length: SVL up to 81mm, with the tail being longer than the body length

Weight: up to 12.5 grams


Soft richly textured plain green, sometimes displaying faint golden star like markings on dorsal (upper) surface. Males have a pale green/blue underbelly - while females have a pale yellow/green underbelly as seen in the photo gallery. Mouth has a blue lining with a pink tongue. Eyes are light to dark olive brown, pupils sometimes have pale border. Toes are slender with expanded pads. Manuka gecko reach SVL (snout-vent-lengths) of up to 70mm.

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

Life expectancy

Recorded longevity for Marlborough gecko exceeded 30 years in captivity (D. Keall pers. comm. in Hare et al. 2007).


Northern South Island: Marlborough area as well as on some of the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds Islands.

Ecology and habitat

All Naultinus species are arboreal (tree dwelling), inhabiting scrubland and forested areas, in particular occupying the foliage of trees and shrubs, including manuka and kanuka trees. Marlborough green gecko can also be found in low compact shrubs (manuka, kanuka, and the divaricating shrubs of the Coprosma and Meuhlenbeckia varieties). The species tend to shelter in crevasses and holes during wet or cold windy weather. As with all Naultinus species, Marlborough green gecko have prehensile tails which act as a climbing aid.

Marlborough green gecko are diurnal (active during the day).

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

Marlborough green gecko are viviparous, giving birth to one or two live young in autumn. Sexual maturity is reached between one and two years.

Some keepers have noticed that green gecko in captivity appear to express ‘choice’ as to when to mate and reproduce according to conditions (D. Keall, personal communication, September 22, 2016).


The diet of Marlborough green geckos is omnivorous, and consists primarily of invertebrates such as flies, beetles, spiders and moths. Green geckos are generally ‘sit and wait’ predators for invertebrates, however will forage for soft berries and nectar from native flowers within their home range.


Red mites have been recorded in Marlborough green gecko. The bacteria Mucor ramosissimus and protozoa Trichomonas sp. and Nyctotherus sp. have also been recorded in the species. Two Marlborough green gecko have been reported as dying of mycotic dermatitis, digital gangrene and osteomyelitis.

Conservation status

DOC classify the species as 'at risk' with a predicted decline of 10-70%.


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