Detailed species information from your search of the Atlas.
Scientific name:
Woodworthia cf. brunnea
Common name:
Waitaha gecko
Naming authority:
Cope, 1869
Bio status category:
Indigenous (Endemic)
IUCN threat status:
** Not Classified **
NZ threat classification:

Refer to for NZ threat classification system details.

Waitaha gecko. Photo: Marieke Lettink.
Waitaha gecko


  • Forest trees; retreat sites are beneath loose bark or in deep hollows, often on standing dead trees.
  • Creviced rock outcrops, bluffs and rock tumbles, and associated scrubby vegetation.
  • Coastlines and dunelands among rocks, driftwood, scrub and pohuehue.
  • Primarily in lowland areas.


  • Brown, grey or olive with paler bands, blotches or stripes that are usually bright, and large blackish patches (especially on the intact tail).
  • Usually with a narrow or broad pale stripe running from nostril to eye.
  • Undersurface uniform.
  • Mouth lining pink, tongue pink with grey tip.
  • Eye greenish, brown or yellow and often very large.
  • Measures 53-80 mm from snout tip to vent.
  • Specimens from coastal duneland habitat are distinctly smaller (53-68 mm between snout and vent) than those from adjacent forest/rock bluff environments (68-80 mm between snout and vent).


  • Canterbury Plains and Banks Peninsula, to southern Marlborough.
  • This species shows substantial variation in size related to geography.
  • Often very abundant, and may form aggregations in large retreat sites.


  • Lifespan can exceed 36 years.
  • Long considered to be a junior synonym of Woodworthia maculatus, but validity as a separate species demonstrated by Hitchmough (1997).
  • Known also by the tag name of Woodworthia aff maculatus "Canterbury".
  • Notes about 2008-10 cycle of NZ threat classification for Reptiles (Hitchmough et al 2010): Secure on Motunau, threatened by development.
  • Notes about 2012-14 cycle of NZ threat classification for Reptiles: (Hitchmough, et al.
  • 2012): Lots of individuals suspected lost on the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula through the earthquakes and subsequent rock blasting.
  • However, still widespread and relatively large population.
  • Continued threats and decline from development (e.
  • g.
  • wind farms, forestry, fragmentation etc).
  • Management qualifier triggered by biosecurity on Motunau.

Statistical information and distribution map

  Before 1988 Since 1988
Live Specimen 93 580
Dead Specimen 0 1
Total 93 581

  Live or dead specimen or shed skin
  Bone or fossil

Waitaha gecko Distribution Map.'
Back to top