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


Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus punctatus) Northern tuatara

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Rhynchocephalia
Family: Sphenodontidae
Subfamily: Sphenodontinae
Genus: Sphenodon
Species: Sphenodon punctatus punctatus
Common name: Northern Tuatara.

There are three different species of Tuatara in New Zealand: 
Northern Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus punctatus)
Cook Strait Tuatara (Sphenodonpunctatus)
Brothers Island Tuatara (Sphenodon guntheri)

The Northern tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus punctatus) is a sub-species which live on offshore islands off the North Island coast between the Tutukaka and Tauranga. These islands are the Poor Knight group (5 Islands), Hen and Chicken group (5 Islands), Little Barrier Island, Tiritiri Island, Cuvier Island, Mercury group (4 Islands), Alderman group (7 Islands, Karewa Island, Plate Island, Moutoki Island, Moutahora Island. Since these islands have no predators they breed undisturbed.

Download an excellent poster on Tuataras at http://www.reptiles.org.nz/uploads/PDF/Tuatara_poster7.pdf 

A male Northern Tuatara

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