Detailed species information from your search of the Atlas.
Scientific name:
Mokopirirakau cryptozoicus
Common name:
Takitimu gecko
Naming authority:
Jewell & Leschen 2004
Bio status category:
Indigenous (Endemic)
IUCN threat status:
** Not Classified **
NZ threat classification:
Nationally Vulnerable

Refer to for NZ threat classification system details.

Takitimu gecko. Photo: Rod Morris.
Takitimu gecko


  • Scree, rock outcrops and creviced bluffs in the alpine zone, and beech forest.
  • So far, recorded 600-1450 m above sea level.
  • Secretive, largely nocturnal but sun-basks near retreat.
  • Terrestrial or arboreal.
  • Animals in scree seldom emerge to the surface.


  • Slate grey (rarely dark brown or olive-grey), individuals usually only undergo minor colour changes.
  • Markings bright, consisting of narrow, pale herringbone patches, usually in combination with narrow pale stripes.
  • Some specimens with scattered two-tone orange spots, or (rarely) the entire animal may be orange.
  • Undersurface speckled or lightly mottled.
  • Mouth lining bright orange; tongue pink or dark grey, sometimes with orange on tip or sides.
  • Eye brown or pinkish.
  • Measures 82-87 mm from snout tip to vent.
  • Tail shorter than snout-vent length, sometimes markedly so.


  • Mountainous areas of western Southland and Otago.
  • So far, recorded from Takitimu and Richardson Mountains.
  • Distribution limits poorly understood.
  • Sparse and difficult to detect.


  • Moko-piri-rakau is the Maori name for forest gecko.
  • Notes about NZ threat classification (Hitchmough, et al 2007): Difficult to survey; possibly 10-12 animals seen, but large area of potential habitat.
  • The scientific name means 'hidden lifestyle', in reference to the secretive behaviour.
  • Genetic evidence suggests a close relationship with Mokopirirakau nebulosus, but separation supported by clear morphological differences.
  • Notes about 2008-10 cycle of NZ threat classification for Reptiles (Hitchmough et al 2010): 4 known localities - but extremely widespread and huge area of potential habitat between them.
  • Notes about 2012-14 cycle of NZ threat classification for Reptiles: (Hitchmough, et al.
  • 2012): No new data; possible sighting from western Fiordland NP; 4 known localities - but extremely widespread and huge area of potential habitat between them.

Statistical information and distribution map

  Before 1988 Since 1988
Live Specimen 0 11
Total 0 11

  Live or dead specimen or shed skin
  Bone or fossil

Takitimu gecko Distribution Map.'
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