This species is a member of the Hoplodactylus (=Woodworthia) maculatus species complex. Adult Woodworthia sp. 'Cromwell' are distinctly smaller (less than 71mm SVL) than adult W. sp. 'Otago large' which reach over 73 mm and is up to 300% heavier, but juveniles difficult to separate (Whitaker et al 2002, Jewell 2006). Otherwise, geographically isolated from similar species. However, range abuts that of W. sp. 'Southern Alps' (in Wanaka) and W. sp. 'Central Otago' (in Clyde), which are highly similar species, and also W. sp. 'Southern mini gecko' in the northern Remarkables.
The tag name name Woodworthia sp. 'Cromwell' stems from an earlier tag name, Hoplodactylus sp. 'Cromwell Gorge', which denotes an early location. The common name 'Kawarau gecko' proposed by Jewell (2008) reflects a locality more central to the distribution of the species. From 1977, included in H.. maculatus (part) until 1994, where it was recognised by Daugherty et al (1994).
This species exhibits a wide range of geographical and altitudinal variation (Hitchmough 1997), including: Altitude: Specimens in highland areas are usually are larger and more robust than those in arid lowlands. In the Dunstan Mountains and the Cairnmuir Range, populations in the lowland valley floors may be especially small, with adults sometimes only attaining 49-50 mm SVL and with lighter colouration, and narrow toe pads than those from the Pisa, Hector and Carrick Ranges westwards. Wanaka: Woodworthia sp. 'Cromwell' are brown dorsally. Carrick Ranges: W. sp. 'Cromwell' are brown dorsally. Criffle Range: W. sp. 'Cromwell' are pale brown dorsally. Clutha: W. sp. 'Cromwell' on the north bank of the Clutha River in the Cromwell Gorge are smaller (c. 55 mm SVL) and have narrower toes. Pisa Range: W. sp. 'Cromwell' in the southern Pisa Range are relatively large (75 mm SVL) and robust, even at low altitudes (similar in some respects to W. sp. 'Otago large' ) but allozyme analysis has shown it to be a distinctive form of the species (Jewell & McFarlane 1997, Hitchmough et al 1998).
Cromwell gecko; Kawarau gecko
A small gecko species (48–78 mm SVL, 4-5 g in weight Hitchmough 1997, Jewell 2006, R. Hitchmough pers. comm. in Jewell 2008). Dorsal surface typically grey or olive-grey or brown. Significant variations occur from time to time, including specimens that are dark brown, straw-brown or olive-green. Dorsal markings are usually tranverse banded or blotched, but partially to fully striped individuals are frequent (~5-10% of animals) in the Cromwell Gorge and similar arid lowlands. Canthal stripe broad, triangular, usually very prominent. Ventral surface usually grey, often heavily flecked with dark grey. Eye ranges from greenish to pale golden-brown, grey-brown, or very dark brown (often with a mottled combination). Rarely, specimens may have one or two bright yellow spots on the upper surfaces. Mouth colour is pink. Rostral contacts or excludes nostril. Toe pads narrow or moderate, distal phalange straight and narrow, lamellae 9-11 and curved (Hitchmough 1997, Jewell 2006, R. Hitchmough pers. comm. in Jewell 2008).
Woodworthia sp. 'Cromwell'
Hoplodactylus sp. 'Cromwell', Woodworthia sp. 'Central Otago'
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