Visually cryptic, long-lived, diurnal green geckos (genus Naultinus) were a significant component of natural ecosystems throughout much of New Zealand prior to human settlement 1800 ya. Since then, habitat modification and introduced mammalian predators have threatened many Naultinus populations, making their survival a conservation priority. However, the visually and behaviorally cryptic nature of Naultinus geckos and a lack of scientific attention pose challenges to their conservation management. We investigate natural population dynamics of the Marlborough Green Gecko (Naultinus manukanus) to act as a model for understanding the ecology of New Zealand's diurnal geckos and to inform conservation management. The largest known N. manukanus population (on mammal-free Stephens Island) has been the focus of several studies along a bush-edge transect. We pooled data obtained using mark-recapture, population census, captive rearing of juveniles and radio telemetric methodologies over 25 yr to examine aspects of their ecology and behavior. The population is female-biased (1:1.7 m:f), a trend that is apparent from birth. Sexual maturity occurs at approximately 4 yr of age and 71% of females reproduce annually. Naultinus manukanus are strictly diurnal, arboreal, and opportunistic thermoregulators. Daily movements are very limited, averaging 0.6 m per day, characteristic of the sit-and-wait foraging strategy that they employ. The basic ecological information presented in this paper provides context for the conservation management of Naultinus species, which are increasingly recognized as threatened in their current ranges.
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