Length: SVL up to 89mm, with the tail being equal to or longer than the body length
Weight: up to 14 grams
A small to medium sized gecko with a stout tail, often the length of the body. Dorsal (upper) surface largely grey or brown with irregular markings, including black, white, yellow/orange, and olive green patches. Often marked with transverse (blotches or bands), or longitudinal (stripes) markings. A canthal stripe (between the nostril and eye) may or may not be present. Ventral (lower) surface usually plain and pale. Up to 82mm SVL (snout-vent-length). The mouth lining is pink and the tongue is pink with grey tip. The rostral scale does not extend to nostrils. Snout to ear distance ≥ eye to ear distance. Toes have expanded pads (more so than Dactylocnemis geckos): pads extend further in brown gecko). Sexes can be distinguished with males having 1 or 2 blunt enlarged scales either side of the tail base; males also have a broad patch of preanal and femoral pores.
Estimates of life expectancy vary from 15-27 years in the wild, with reports of at least 37 years for captive animals.
Strongly coastal throughout the north-eastern North Island, although more widespread across the lower North Island and northern South Island. Absent from the North Island's west coast north of the Wellington region. In the South Island, Raukawa geckos are confined to the Marlborough and Nelson / Tasman regions.
Ecology and habitat
A terrestrial, saxicolous or arboreal species which can be found across a wide range of habitats (from shorelines to inland beech and broadleaf forest). Nocturnal but will sun bask.
Highly gregarious and can form large aggregations in suitable habitat. However, males have been known to be territorial, particularly in captive group situations.
Ovoviviparous, generally giving birth to twins annually in the late summer.
Invertebrates, nectar, fruit (Coprosma, Muehlenbeckia, Phytolacca octandra, Hymenanthera alpine). Often associated with flowering flax, pohutukawa and honeydew produced by scale insects.
Variety of endoparasitic nematodes and ectoparasites of the Acari family. Black spot fungi, ulcerative dermatitis, mycotic pneumonitits and mycotic septicaemia.
The species are listed by DOC as 'not threatened' with a large and stable population.
Raukawa geckos are members of the 'common gecko' complex, a group of closely related species which are regionally distributed throughout New Zealand. Historically, most of these were considered a single highly-variable species - Hoplodactylus maculatus (the so called 'common gecko'). The 'common gecko' has now been separated into over ten different species..
The specific name ‘maculata’ means ‘speckled’.
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Unpublished master's dissertation. Victoria University: Wellington, New Zealand.
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