West Coast green gecko
Length: SVL up to 85mm, with the tail being longer than the body length
Weight: up to 14.5 grams
A beautiful and rare species from the West Coast region of the South Island.
West Coast green geckos are mossy in appearance, due to complex patterns of white and yellow shades against green colouration of their body. Ventral (lower) surfaces are paler than dorsal (upper) surfaces. Lining of the mouth is blue, and the tongue is dark blue / black. Eyes are dark olive/brown, pupils often have pale border. Toes narrow and tapering, soles of feet and toes yellow or yellowish green in colour. West Coast green gecko typically reach SVL (snout-vent-lengths) of 77-85mm.
Populations in some areas display sexual dichromatism where male geckos may appear more brown-grey in colour, with green markings. Some of these males appear outwardly similar to Starred geckos (Naultinus stellatus) from the Nelson Lakes area, but can be separated by having a blue versus pink tongue.
The lifespan of West Coast green gecko is largely unknown. Other Naultinus species typically reach up to 25 years.
West coast of the South Island.
Ecology and habitat
West coast green gecko are diurnal (active during the day) and arboreal (tree dwelling), in common with other green geckos they have a prehensile tail which acts as a third limb / climbing aid when moving through their habitat.
West Coast green geckos inhabit scrubland and forested areas. Some populations occur in prostrate vegetation.
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).
Green gecko are viviparous, giving birth to one or two live young in autumn. In captivity west coast green gecko typically give birth in April/May. 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 West Coast 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.
DOC classify the species as 'nationally vulnerable'.
A distinctively patterned population of West Coast green geckos in the Lewis Pass area show evidence of past hybridisation with rough geckos (Naultinus rudis), and were once regarded as a separate species - the Lewis Pass green gecko (Naultinus poecilochlorus).
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