Herpetofaunal category
Authority
McCann, 1955
Common names
Marlborough green gecko
Manuka gecko
Naultinus manukanus
Image attribution

Description

Soft richly textured plain green, sometimes displaying faint golden star like markings on dorsal (upper) surface. Males have a pale bluish underbelly while females have a pale yellow/green underbelly. Mouth has a blue lining with a pink tongue. Eyes are light to dark olive brown, pupils sometimes have pale border. Toes are slender with expanded pads. Manuka gecko reach SVL (snout-vent-lengths) of up to 70mm.

Click here for information on how Marlborough green gecko differ in appearance from other species in the Naultinus group.

Life expectancy

Recorded longevity for Marlborough gecko exceeded 30 years in captivity (D. Keall pers. comm. in Hare et al. 2007).

Distribution

Northern South Island: Marlborough area as well as on some of the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds Islands.

Ecology and habitat

All Naultinus species are arboreal (tree dwelling), inhabiting scrubland and forested areas, in particular occupying the foliage of trees and shrubs, including manuka and kanuka trees. Marlborough green gecko can also be found in low compact shrubs (manuka, kanuka, and the divaricating shrubs of the Coprosma and Meuhlenbeckia varieties). The species tend to shelter in crevasses and holes during wet or cold windy weather. As with all Naultinus species, Marlborough green gecko have prehensile tails which act as a climbing aid.

Marlborough green gecko are diurnal (active during the day).

Social structure

In captive group situations males can display aggressive behaviour towards other males as a result of competition for mates. Green gecko will display aggressive behaviour if threatened; this consists of mouth gaping, biting, lunging, and vocalisation (a barking sound).

Breeding biology

Marlborough green gecko are viviparous, giving birth to one or two live young in autumn. Sexual maturity is reached between one and two years.

Some keepers have noticed that green gecko in captivity appear to express ‘choice’ as to when to mate and reproduce according to conditions (D. Keall, personal communication, September 22, 2016).

Diet

The diet of Marlborough green gecko consists primarily of insects such as flies, beetles, and moths. Captive and wild green gecko will also eat nectar/honeydew.

Disease

Red mites have been recorded in Marlborough green gecko. The bacteria Mucor ramosissimus and protozoa Trichomonas sp. and Nyctotherus sp. have also been recorded in the species. Two Marlborough green gecko have been reported as dying of mycotic dermatitis, digital gangrene and osteomyelitis.

Conservation status

DOC classify the species as 'at risk' with a predicted decline of 10-70%.

References

  • Gartrell, B.D., Hare, K.M. (2005). Mycotic dermatitis with digital gangrene and osteomyelitis, and protozoal intestinal parasitism in Marlborough green geckos (Naultinus manukanus). New Zealand Veterinary Journal 53, 5, 363-367.
  • Gill, B.J., & Whitaker, A.H. (1996). New Zealand frogs and reptiles. Auckland: David Bateman Limited.
  • Hare, K.M., Hoare, J.M., & Hitchmough, R.A. (2007). Investigating natural population dynamics of Naultinus manukanus to inform conservation management of New Zealand's cryptic diurnal geckos. Journal of Herpetology 41, 1, 81-93.
  • 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 Ltd.
  • Nielson , S.V., Bauer, A.M., Jackman, T.R., Hitchmough, R.A., & Daugherty, C.H. (2011). New Zealand geckos (Diplodactylae): Cryptic diversity in a post-Gondwanan lineage with trans-Tasman affinities. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 59, 1, 1-22.
  • Robb, J. (1980). New Zealand amphibians and reptiles in colour. Auckland, New Zealand: Collins.