Dactylocnemis pacificus (Gray)

Pacific Gecko (Dactylocnemis pacificus)

The Pacific Gecko, named by the Maori as moko tapiri, is a nocturnal species and spends the day hidden on or near the ground, well camouflaged by its bark-like, light and dark brownish resp. greyish pattern.

The Pacific Gecko is viviparous like all of New Zealand’s gecko species, it is furthermore known to pollinate the New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) and other native plant species.

The species is still widespread throughout New Zealand’s North Island and many of its offshore islands. Some of the populations, however, especially those from the offshore island groups, are very likely distinct species, and thus are tag named as Matapia Gecko (Dactylocnemis ‘Matapia’), Mokohinau Gecko (Dactylocnemis ‘Mokohinau’), North Cape Gecko (Dactylocnemis ‘North Cape’), Poor Knights Gecko (Dactylocnemis ‘Poor Knights’), and Three Kings Gecko (Dactylocnemis ‘Three Kings’). [1]


The animals reach a length of about 18 cm, they are very long-lived and may reach ages of more than 40 years.



[1] Stuart V. Nielsen; Aaron M. Bauer; Todd R. Jackman; Rod A. Hitchmough; Charles H. Daugherty: New Zealand geckos (Diplodactylidae): cryptic diversity in a post-Gondwanan lineage with trans-Tasman affinities. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59(1): 1-22. 2010



Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan


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