Herpetofaunal category
Species complex
Authority
Gray, 1843
Previous scientific names
Naultinus elegans punctatus
Common names
Barking gecko
Wellington green gecko
Naultinus punctatus
Image attribution
Aidan

Description

Bright pale to bluish green dorsal (upper) surfaces, sometimes flecked with fine black marks and rows of pale green, yellow or white patches (usually not outlined as with other species). Males may have bluish flanks. Ventral (lower) surface a pale green.

Lining of mouth deep blue with black or bluish back tongue. Eyes are light orange/brown. Soles of feet are yellow. Barking gecko reach SVL (snout-vent-lengths) of 75–95mm SVL.

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

Life expectancy

Reports on life expectancy vary, barking gecko may live up to 25 years.

Distribution

Lower North Island including: Mana and Kapiti Islands.

Ecology and habitat

Barking gecko are diurnal (active during the day) and arboreal (tree dwelling), inhabiting scrubland and forested areas, in particular occupying the foliage of trees and shrubs, including manuka and kanuka trees. All green geckos have prehensile tails which act as a climbing aid.

Social structure

In captive group situations males can display aggressive behaviour towards other males as a result of competition for mates. Barking gecko will display aggressive behaviour if threatened; this consists of mouth gaping, biting, lunging, and vocalisation (a barking sound). The loud vocalisations of the species have led to it’s common name, the barking gecko.

Breeding biology

Barking gecko are viviparous, giving birth to one or two live young. Barking gecko mate in early spring with young born 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 barking gecko consists primarily of insects such as flies, beetles, and moths. Captive and wild barking gecko will also eat nectar/honeydew.

Disease

Largely unknown.

Conservation status

Barking gecko are classified by DOC as 'at risk' with a predicted decline of 10-70%

Interesting notes

Genetic studies looking at the Naultinus genus resulted in a phylogenetic and taxonomic review in 2011, with the elegant gecko and barking green gecko being elevated from sub species to full species status.

References

  • Fischer, S.M. (2013). Conservation biology and wildlife management in New Zealand: endemic reptile species, urban avifauna, and wetland ecology (unpublished BSc honours dissertation). Massey University: Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Gill, B.J., & Whitaker, A.H. (1996). New Zealand frogs and reptiles. Auckland: David Bateman Limited.
  • 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.
  • Robb, J., & Hitchmough, R.A. (1980). Review of the genus Naultinus grey (Reptilia: Gekknonidae). Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum, 16, 189-200.