how common are lizards in new zealand?
ive never seen any and i thought they were common here
- Cal KingLv 72 years ago
New Zealand drifted apart from the other continents before lizards and mammals evolved. It has no native mammals or lizards. Any species of these found on the islands are non-native and may have arrived by hitchhiking on human cargo or by deliberate introduction by humans.
The tuatara found on the islands are not lizards, even though they look superficially like lizards, as they are classified in the reptilian order Rhynchocephalia and family Sphenodontidae. Tuatara are different from lizards in lacking a penis. Snakes and lizards have a pair of hemipenes, and they are classified in the order Squamata. Nevertheless, the tuatara is the closest living relative of lizards and snakes. The tuatara and lizards and snakes are classified as lepidosaurs. Dinosaurs, crocodilians and the ancestor of birds are classified in the Archosauria. Lizards, snakes, tuatara, crocodilians, dinosaurs, and the ancestors of birds are all diapsid reptiles, with 2 temporal opening in the skull. In contrast, the reptilian ancestors of mammals have a singe temporal opening, and they are classified as synapsid reptiles.
- MARKLv 72 years ago
New Zealand has an endemic lizard-like reptile called Sphenodon punctatus (Tuatara). It is unique in being only found in New Zealand and being the only species in the reptilian order Rhyncocephalia.
All of New Zealand’s actual lizards are geckos or skinks. It has 39 species of gecko but I am not certain of its number of skink species. Additionally, I do not know the abundance of any reptile species in New Zealand.
I would class them as quite common. New Zealand is only 1.1X larger than the UK but it has a lot more reptiles than we do.