The scientific name refers to manuka, a shrub on which the species often lives.
South Island only, body scales enlarged on nape and often also along dorso-lateral line.
Thomas (1982) considered this species to be conspecific with N. rudis and indicated that the morphocline first reported by Bull and Whitaker (1975) was indeed present. The morphocline is characterised by a gradual increase in body size, the number of raised conical scales, and the amount of colour patterning from north to south—i.e. from Takapourewa I, where the geckos are plain green and almost lacking enlarged scales, to Hanmer, where they are completely covered in large, raised, conical scales and have a bold and variable colour pattern (Thomas 1982, Hitchmough 1997). Other north/south differences include the colour of the belly, the soles of the feet, and the lining of the mouth (Robb 1986). Perhaps more significantly, N. rudis is sexually dichromatic (males brown or grey, females green) whereas N. manukanus is not.
Manuka gecko; Marlborough green gecko
A small gecko with adult size between 54-68mm SVL (Robb 1980, Jewell 2008), although maximum size recorded was 81 mm SVL (Hare et al 2007). Total length c. 125-165mm. Sexual dimorphism occurs, with males 64-68 mm SVL and females 69-79 mm (Hitchmough 1978). Typically green, uniform, or head (and often also body and tail) with rows of small pale green, white or yellow spots or thin angular markings that are not outlined. Green above; more uniform and less highly patterned than most other Naultinus. Yellow individuals have been recorded. Ventral surface pale yellowish-green (female) or pale bluish-green or white (male). Juveniles from Stephens Island had a uniform green dorsal and ventral surface at birth, except for one which had three white dots on the dorsal tail base (Hare et al 2007). The colour of the ventral surface changed with time, and sex could be easily at two months of age by the sexually dimorphic ventral colouration which persists in adult geckos (Hare et al 2007). Mouth lining pink with bluish tinge, tongue pink. Eye light olive-brown. Enlarged scales may be present in the head, nape, pelvic area and/or in dorso-lateral rows but never over the entire body as in the rough gecko, N. rudis. The pattern of enlarged body scales is unique to this species. Snout is rather deep square-edged. Toes narrow and tapering without expanded pads. Soles of feet yellow. Tail slender; prehensile.
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