This species is a member of the Hoplodactylus (=Mokopirirakau) granulatus species complex but is geographically isolated from similar species.
The common name of Jewell (2008) refers to the frequent, striking orange spotted colour pattern, The tag name 'Roys Peak' refers to the location where the species was first discovered.
This species appears to have three distinctive geographic forms which may later represent distinct species or subspecies. The current sample sizes available from each population are too small to allow conclusions to be drawn (Jewell 2006). Crown Range: The ‘Roys Peak’ form occurs in the Crown Range and is small (70-80 mm SVL) and slender in build, with a broad shallow head, two cloacal spurs on either side, 13-14 lamellae, and the precloacal pores form a series c. 28 pores wide (Jewell 2006). The markings are usually drab and are somewhat streaked in appearance, although one brightly marked individual has been seen. About seven specimens have been found so far, and all were among large rocks, at 1400-1600 m a.s.l. Richardson Mountains: The ‘Moke Valley’ form occurs in the Richardson Mountains and is very large (92 mm SVL) and exceptionally robust in build, with 9-11 lamellae and bright markings (Jewell 2006). Only a single specimen, an adult female, has been found so far; it was beneath a large rock in an area of extensive tussock grassland, at 1200 m a.s.l.Dunstan Mountains: The ‘Dunstan Mountains’ form is so far known from about 12 specimens, from among rock piles at either end of the Dunstan Mountains (1150-1400 m a.s.l.). This form grows to 85-95 mm SVL and is of moderate to robust build. The precloacal pore series is 28-37 pores wide, and there are normally 3-4 cloacal spurs on either side (Jewell 2006). The markings are usually very prominent, and most specimens have at least a few bright-orange spots on the dorsal surfaces; some have extensive orange and yellow spots.
This species is very similar to Mokopirirakau cryptozoicus but can be differentiated by tongue colour, in which M. sp 'Roys Peak' is orange, and in M. cryptozoicus pink or grey.
Orange-spotted gecko; Roys Peak gecko
A medium to large gecko, c. 70–95 mm SVL (R. Hitchmough unpub. data, Jewell 2006, R. Hitchmough pers. comm. in Jewell 2008). Dorsal surfaces grey, olive-grey or brown (individuals are capable of large colour changes). May have stripes and/or bands or blotches, and the markings range from very drab to very bold. Some specimens have striking two-tone orange and yellow spots scattered across the upper surfaces, with a broad orange area across the nape, or merging to form more extensive orange or reddish shadings. Ventral surfaces may be lightly or heavily marked with mottling, spots or longitudinal streaks. The eye ranges from brown to pinkish. Mouth colour is vivid orange. Tongue colour uniform orange (Jewell 2006). Of slender to robust build. Tail is usually shorter than the SVL, but can reach a similar length or slightly longer. The toe-pads are very narrow, and the 6–14 lamellae are straight (R. Hitchmough pers. comm. in Jewell 2006 and Jewell 2008).
Mokopirirakau sp. 'Roys Peak gecko'
Hoplodactylus sp. 'Roys Peak', Mokopirirakau sp. 'Roys Peak gecko'
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