Southern Alps gecko (Woodworthia sp. ‘Southern Alps’), or mokomoko are part of the ‘common gecko’ group and found throughout the Eastern South Island high country. They are the most common lizard our monitoring has found – appearing at all our monitoring sites.
The common gecko has been separated into over ten different species. In the project area they can vary in colour and body size between individual populations. They are usually dark, or silvery grey and can be from 55-72mm long.
They are generally nocturnal but you do sometimes see them basking in daylight or under rocks on stable scree slopes and outcrops in the sub-alpine areas. The tend to live at lower elevations between mountain ranges but our monitoring team found one at 1900 m in the Malte Brun range – they highest they have ever been found.
Like all gecko they grow a new skin and shed the old one (called sloughing) each year. They can also grow new tails, and while unusual sometime the tail grows back forked like in one of these photos.
Photos Julia Gibson and Mahina Walle