Woodworthia maculatus seldom co-exists with other members of the Hoplodactylus (=Woodworthia) maculatus species-complex. W. maculatus may be separated from W. sp. 'Marlborough mini' by the number of lamellae (W. maculatus 9-10, W. sp. 'Marlborough mini' 12-15).
The scientific name means 'spotted'. The common name 'Matua gecko' proposed by Jewell (2008) is Māori for 'parent' and refers to the large number of cryptic species that have been 'produced' from within older concepts of the species. 1955-1977 mostly known as Hoplodactylus pacificus (part), since 1977 as Hoplodactylus maculatus.
Woodworthia maculatus often co-exists with the similar-looking Pacific gecko, Dactylocnemis pacificus or goldstripe gecko, W. chrysosireticus, the latter sympatric only on Mana Island. Smoothly-striped W. maculatus can be separated from W. chrysosireticus by the lack of black speckles which are present in W. chrysosireticus, and stripes breaking up on tail. In W. maculatus the rostral scale does not contact the nostril, whereas in D. pacificus, it is in contact.
The following regional forms have been recognised (Hitchmough 1997): Hauraki Gulf (Whangarei Heads to Port Jackson) These geckos are typically found on boulder beaches, are smaller (~65 mm SVL) with a distinctive dorsal pattern of many small spots almost fusing along paravertebral lines, forming crenulate longitudinal stripes. Coromandel & Central North Island: Animals from Cuvier—Bay of Plenty—Wairarapa are typically found in lowland forests, generally being much larger (~75 mm SVL, although coastal populations are smaller), and highly polymorphic in colour pattern. Dorsal colour patterns may either be that of the"Hauraki Gulf" type, or consist of broad longitudinal stripes or tranverse bands which may be straight or irregular, or large paired blotches, or W-shaped tranverse markings. Southern North Island: Populations at Cape Turakirae exhibit a steep clinal size variation with animals two-thirds smaller than typical adjacent populations, and sexual dimorphism (Whitaker 1982). Cook Strait: Populations in the Cook Strait and adjacent mainland appear to form a transitionary zone between the typical North Island and South Island forms. South Island: Individuals are usually more slender than those of the North Island, are very dark in colour with paler chevron or tranverse blotchy markings. Toe pads are also less expanded (Hitchmough 1997).
Common gecko; Matua gecko
A small to medium-sized gecko (55-82 mm SVL, total length 155 mm, 1-14g, mean 11.6 g, Towns 1991, Jewell 2008). Dorsal surface dark brown, grey or olive with highly variable pale transverse bands, blotches, spots or stripes. Canthal stripe may or may not be present. Ventral surfaces pale and uniform. Eye greenish or brown. Snout-to-eye distance slightly greater than, or equal to, eye-to-ear distance. Rostral do not contact nostrils or rarely in very narrow contact. Mouth lining pink, tongue pink with grey tip. Toes have expanded pads, distal phalange straight. Lamellae 11-15 (Hitchmough 1997) or 12-15 (Jewell 2008). Males have 1-2 enlarged domed cloacal spurs, broad patches of preanal and femoral pores also present in males. Tail robust, often regrown. SVL up to 82 mm, but individuals from coastal populations often much smaller (55-60mm) and larger inland (up to 82 mm SVL) (Hitchmough 1997, Jewell 2008)
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