Reptiles

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Coromandel striped gecko (Toropuku 'Coromandel')

Discovered in 1997 on the Coromandel Peninsula, only a dozen or so have ever been seen. This rare species is nocturnal and well-camouflaged. 

To protect the Coromandel striped gecko we need to know more about where it is found. Any sightings of this gecko are important. If you see this gecko, please contact your local Department of Conservation office.

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Rangitata skink (Oligosoma aff. longipes 'Rangitata')

The Rangitata skink is a newly discovered species. It lives above the bush-line, on unstable and precarious greywacke scree-covered slopes, only in the Ashburton Mountains. 

It is very rare, mainly because of mammalian predation, a threat common
to many New Zealand lizard species. However, ways to effectively control predators on scree slopes are yet to be developed. 

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Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus)

Often thought prehistoric, but recent research has shown it to be superbly adapted to its environment. Secure on island homes it is being returned to other islands and to protected sites on the mainland as far south as Dunedin.

Evidence for the success of modern tuatara is the number on the islands they inhabit – there are up to 2,732 tuatara per hectare living on some islands! Unfortunately, on islands where there are rats, the huge numbers of tuatara have either vanished, or are very rare. Because of their slow breeding rate, even small exotic predators like mice, which eat tuatara hatchlings, can eventually eliminate a tuatara population by eating all the hatchlings and the adult tuatara eventually die-out from old age. Larger predators such as rats, cats and stoats quickly eat all the tuatara on an island, and this may only take 5 years.

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