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There are two types of lizard in New Zealand: skinks and geckos. Those most commonly seen are small and dull-coloured.

But this belies some unique adaptations to a temperate climate, and a great diversity — new species are being discovered all the time. Egg-laying skink nest. New Zealand has two lizard families — skinks and geckos.

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There are probably over 80 species, but new species have been discovered and some have not yet been named. Lizards overseas usually lay eggs, but most in New Zealand give birth to live young. This might be an adaptation to cooler weather. New Zealand lizards have fewer young than elsewhere — geckos have two young every one or two years, and skinks have between two and five each year. You will find lizards almost everywhere in New Zealand, except the subtropical Kermadec Islands or the cold subantarctic islands.

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Biogeography of New Zealand lizards

We have a dedicated site for Germany. This edited volume is a timely and comprehensive summary of the New Zealand lizard fauna. Nestled in the south-west Pacific, New Zealand is a large archipelago that displays the faunal signatures of both its Gondwanan origins, and more recent oceanic island influences. New Zealand was one of the last countries on Earth to be discovered, and likewise, the full extent of the faunal diversity present within the archipelago is only just starting to be appreciated.

This is no better exemplified than in lizards, where just 30 species 20 skinks, 10 geckos were recognized in the s, but now are formally or informally recognized 61 skinks, 43 geckos. Thus, New Zealand contains one of the most diverse lizard faunas of any cool, temperate region on Earth. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University on the evolutionary ecology and molecular phylogenetics of Liopholis skinks.

Dr Chapple then moved to Victoria University of Wellington to complete an Allan Wilson Centre postdoctoral fellowship on the origin, evolution and biogeography of New Zealand lizards.

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NZ & NL Lizards

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