Herpetofaunal category
Robb, 1980
Previous scientific names
Hoplodactylus stephensi
Common names
Northern striped gecko
Southern striped gecko
Coromandel and Cook Strait/Stephen's Island striped gecko
Toropuku stephensi
Image attribution
Phil Melgren


Striped gecko are slender bodied, medium large gecko reaching a snout to vent length (SVL) of up to 85mm with the tail being ≥ SVL.

The dorsal (upper) surface light to dark tan with wide pale stripes which may be either bright or drab in colouration Stripes converge to a single line along the tail. Ventral (lower) surface streaked with fine flecks or spots. Brown/grey eyes. A distinctive mouth with a pink lining and tongue; the tongue sometimes has a darker tip. The corners of the mouth are orange, with the orange colouration sometimes extending around the teeth. Rostral scale in close broad contact with nostril. Males have three large pointed scales on each side of the tail base. Toes have extended pads.

Striped gecko can be distinguished from Pacific and goldstripe geckos by the presence of orange in the mouth.

Northern (Coromandel) striped gecko appear to have longer tails and snouts that the southern (Cook Strait/Stephen’s Island) variety.

Life expectancy

A minimum age of 16 years was recorded for one wild individual, with a minimum of 10 years recorded for a captive individual.


Northern (Coromandel) striped gecko: on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Southern (Cook Strait/Stephen's Island) striped gecko: Stephens and Maud Islands in the Marlborough Sounds.

Ecology and habitat

Arboreal and nocturnal, in captivity northern (Coromandel) striped gecko have been observed sunbasking on branches and tree trunks, often with their limbs parallel to the body. Striped gecko inhabit coastal forest and shrubland. Captive northern (Coromandel) striped gecko have been observed leaping with considerable force and speed as an escape technique, rather than dropping as with most native gecko species (D.R.H. Ashby, personal communication, October 11, 2016).

Social structure

Striped gecko are elusive, with their social structure and behaviour largely unknown. Captive northern (Coromandel) striped gecko do not show the same level of territorial fighting as other species of gecko, with two males able to coexist in the same enclosure with no aggressive behaviour and only one case of behavioural suppression in a juvenile female (D.R.H. Ashby, personal communication, October 11, 2016). Females will sunbathe in close proximity to each other.

Breeding biology

Females are viviparous (live bearing), giving birth to one or two young every second year during late summer/early autumn.


Largely unknown, however, the diet of most wild New Zealand gecko consists of invertebrates and nectar. In captivity northern (Coromande)l striped gecko have been observed actively hunting, however, show more caution and stealth than other native species (such as Duvaucel’s gecko and green geckos)(D.R.H. Ashby, personal communication, September 20, 2016). In captivity Coromandel striped gecko feed on a wide range of winged insects, including lacewings and dobsonfly, as well as fruit.


The nematode Skrjabinodon poicilandri has been recorded in Toropuku stephensi. Red mites have been observed in captive Coromandel striped gecko.

Conservation status

DOC classify Toropuku stephensi as 'nationally vulnerable'.

Interesting notes

Named after Stephen’s Island.


  • Gill, B.J., & Whitaker, A.H. (2007).  New Zealand frogs and reptiles. Auckland: David Bateman Limited.
  • Hare, K.M., & Cree, A. (2005). Natural history of Hoplodactylus stephensi (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) on Stephens Island, Cook Strait, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 29, 137-142.
  • Hitchmough, R.A., Barr, B., Lettink, M., Monks, J., Reardon, J., Tocher, M., van Winkel, D., Rolfe, J. (2016). Conservation status of New Zealand reptiles, 2015; New Zealand threat classification series 17. Wellington: New Zealand Department of Conservation.
  • Jewell, T. (2011). A photographic guide to reptiles and amphibians of New Zealand. Auckland: New Holland Publishers.
  • Robb, J. (1980). New Zealand amphibians and reptiles in colour. Auckland: Collins.
  • Whitaker, A.H. (1991). Research on the striped gecko (Hoplodactylus stephensi), on Maud Island Pelorus Sound, Marlborough, 6-12 March 1991. Contract Report No. 1094.
  • Whitaker, T., Hitchmough, R.A., Chappell, R. (1999). A striped gecko (Hoplodactylus stephensi) at Coromandel. Conservation Advisory Science Notes, 232.