Woodworthia "Southern Alps northern"

Greywacke gecko

Woodworthia "Southern Alps northern"

Greywacke gecko (Canterbury). © Samuel Purdie
Image attribution
Greywacke gecko (Canterbury). © Samuel Purdie
Herpetofaunal category
Species complex
Conservation Status
At Risk - Declining
Common names
Northern Southern Alps gecko

Length: SVL up to 72mm, with the tail being equal to or slightly longer than the body length

Weight: 5-10 grams


The greywacke gecko (or northern Southern Alps gecko) was previously considered synonymous with the Southern Alps gecko (Woodworthia "Southern Alps"). However, recent analyses have distinguished these two taxa due to marked genetic and geographic separation. Accordingly, they are thought to be two distinct species (Hitchmough et al., 2021). Greywacke geckos generally have a grey, brown, olive, or pinkish dorsal surface, often with pale markings. Their ventral surface is typically pale brown or grey. Their mouth interior is pink, with a pink tongue (van Winkel et al. 2020). 

Life expectancy

Unknown, but likely to be similar to other Woodworthia e.g. up to 50+ years.


The greywacke gecko occupies the eastern Southern Alps in southern Marlborough down to the Rakaia River.

Ecology and habitat

Generally nocturnal but occasionally seen basking in daylight. Primarily terrestrial and saxicolous (rock-dwelling), but is known to climb into small trees and shrubs. Greywacke geckos live at lower elevations between mountain ranges, but also range up into the alpine (1800 metres a.s.l). They can be found in the stable bases of scree slopes, rocky river terraces and shattered outcrops in dry sub-alpine. They are primarily associated with greywacke rock formations. 

Social structure

Found both solitary and communally, in population groups of up to a dozen or more.

Breeding biology

Twin viviparous offspring born late summer. Likely biennial in high altitude populations.


Likely feeds on a combination of invertebrates, nectar and seasonal fruit.  



Conservation strategy

This species is not being actively managed. Given the common occurrence and wide range of this species, it is regarded "At Risk: Declining" (Hitchmough et al., 2021). 


Hitchmough, R., Barr, B., Knox, C., Lettink, M., Monks, J. M., Patterson, G. B., Reardon, J. T., van Winkel, D., Rolfe, J., & Michel, P. (2021). Conservation status of New Zealand reptiles, 2021New Zealand threat classification series 35. Wellington: New Zealand Department of Conversation.

Van Winkel, D., Baling, M., & Hitchmough, R. (2020). Reptiles and amphibians of New Zealand. Bloomsbury Publishing.