Mokopirirakau granulatus in the North Island is separated from M. sp. 'Southern North Island forest gecko' by the lack of tail annuli (Hitchmough 1997). M. granulatus in the South Island is separated from similar species by the bold ventral markings. However, M. granulatus is not known to be sympatric with other members of the Hoplodactylus (=Mokopirirakau) granulatus species-complex, but although the southern distribution limits on both main islands are poorly understood.
The scientific name refer to the animal's granular scales. From 1885 onwards this species has been mainly known as Hoplodactylus granulatus.
This species is easy to identify from the common gecko, Woodworthia maculatus.
Tail without annuli (R. Hitchmough unpub. data, R. Hitchmough pers. comm. in Jewell 2008).
Geographic races: upper North Island (central North Island yet to be studied); Nelson/Marlborough; Westland .
Forest geckos on the Denniston Plateau in Westland include an unusual colour variation with unique longitudinal markings (cf. transverse bands) and brown base colouration (cf. grey), but their distinctive status is not supported by genetic tests (Miller et a 1999, Whitaker & Lyall 2004).
Medium to large sized gecko (70-85, rarely 95 mm SVL, total length up to 190 mm, Hitchmough 1997, Jewell 2008). Dorsal suface grey, brown, or olive, with black chevron or W-shaped markings or speckles. Dorsal surface often with bright white, yellow or brick-red markings. This species is capable of significant tonal colour change. A V-shaped mark on head and a white band runs from eye to ear on each side. Denticulate markings on lips. Ventral surfaces usually heavily speckled. Eye grey, olive, brown or blue. Mouth lining and tongue bright orange or yellow. Intact tail longer than SVL. Toes have slightly expanded pads. Soles of feet yellow (Hitchmough 1997, Jewell 2008).
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