T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Gecko (Forest) Mokopirirakau granulatus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Subclass: lepidosauria
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Sauria
Infraorder: gekkota
Family: diplodactylidae
Genus: Mokopirirakau
Species: M. granulatus
Binomial name: Mokopirirakau granulatus
Synonyms: Naultinus granulatus, Hoplodactylus granulatus, Naultinus brevidactylus,
Naultinus sylvestris, Naultinus versicolor.
Common name: Forest gecko, Moko-piri-ra ¯kau

Mokopirirakau granulatus (Forest gecko) is a species of geckos endemic to New Zealand. Their distribution includes Kaitaia south, including offshore islands in the northeast of North Island, Hauraki Gulf and Cook Strait and they are present in the northwestern areas of the South Island. They are not present in Marlborough or Canterbury.
They are commonly found in regenerating forest and scrubland, primarily consisting of kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) and manuka (Leptospermum scoparium). They inhabit beech forest, mixed broadleaf, podocarp forests and scrub, to high altitudes. Due to their granular skin texture and a dark brown to pale grey colour they are well camouflage on lichen or tree bark. They can change the intensity of its colours to blend into the surroundings, so they are hard to see. They have a yellow or orange mouth lining and the soles of their feet are yellow. They have a maximum snout to vent length of 93 mm. This S.V.L is a standard measurement of a lizard’s body length being the measurement from the tip of the nose (snout) to the anus (vent), and excludes the tail. 
They are viviparous usually giving birth in autumn or early winter to twins, sometimes 3. The Forest gecko is like all lizards are cold blooded so to gain heat they bask in the sun. They hide under logs, stones or the loose bark of trees when not active. They are nocturnal hunters eating insects, flies and moths. They also eat berries of plants such as the Coprosma spp. and nectar. 
They are vulnerable to mammalian predation. Predators include cats, mice, rats, hedgehogs, weasels, stoats, ferrets, possums and pigs.
Like all New Zealand geckos they are fully protected, meaning that they may only be collected or kept in captivity under permit.

Photographed on the Denniston Plateau. (Click image to enlarge then click again)
    
   

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/