From 1955-1980 known as Heteropholis tuberculatus. Robb (1980) mistakenly applied the name tuberculatus to populations of N. stellatus from the North West Nelson and gave the new name poecilochlorus to this species, which has since been used until Hitchmough (1997) corrected the situation. The name 'tuberculatus' (i.e. 'covered in tubercules') refers to the conical head and body scales; 'mossy' to the colour pattern; 'West Coast' to a portion of the species' known distribution range, and 'Lewis Pass' to another region.
This species does not co-exist with other members of Naultinus. It is separated from the range of N. stellatus by a mountainous region (Bauer 1986).
South Island, tongue black. Lamellae straight; mouth-lining bluish; scales across top of snout greatly enlarged, some as large as the ear opening. N. tuberculatus is similar to N. gemmeus, but tend to be coloured with mottled two-tone green/olive, rather than single-tone deep green, and with smaller markings, creating an overall moss-like appearance (Jewell 2006). N. tuberculatus may be distinguished from adjacent species of green gecko by the blackish tongue (versus pink/orange/red in N. stellatus, greenish-yellow in N. rudis, and with at least tip pink/orange in northern populations of N. gemmeus (Jewell 2006).
There are two major geographical variations of this species. N. tuberculatus 'form tuberculatus' is a plain green gecko which occurs in Nelson and North Westland areas. It is a smaller gecko, reaching up to 78mm SVL (McCann 1955, Whitaker & Lyall 2004). N. tuberculatus 'form poecilochlorus' is a mossy-coloured form which occurs in the Lewis Pass, Rahu and Reefton areas of North Canterbury and Buller. It is the larger of the two forms, reaching up to 85mm SVL (Robb 1980a, 1980b, 1986).
Mossy gecko; West Coast green gecko
A large sized gecko species, N. tuberculatus reaches an adult size ranging from 77 mm SVL (McCann 1955, Whitaker & Lyall 2004) to 85 mm SVL (Robb 1980a & 1980b). Total length is up to 175 mm (Robb 1980a & 1980b). Dorsal colour dark uniform green with pale yellow markings or none at all, or yellow-olive, olive-green or bright green, sometimes with grey flanks. Patterned with rows of small white or pale green patches that are broadly outlined by darker olive/green, and often a thin light green stripe along spine. Areas between markings mottled with irregular lighter and darker tones, sometimes also finely speckled with black, creating an overall moss-like appearance. Ventral surfaces pale, finely mottled with yellow-green or grey. Eye dark olive. Mouth lining dark navy blue, tongue black. A distinctive bright yellow spot usually appears at the corners of the mouth. Relatively heavy-bodied. Toes narrow, tapering without expanded pads, soles of feet pale green or yellow green. Tail long and slender; prehensile; seldom shed (Robb 1980a & 1980b, Hitchmough 1997, Jewell 2008)
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