New Zealand’s mountainous environments support unique flora and fauna specially adapted to the extreme cold and harsh conditions of the alpine zone. The orange-spotted gecko (Mokopirirakau “Roys Peak”) is a rare undescribed gecko that is currently known only from the alpine zone of Otago. The species was discovered in 1998 and is only known from the Central Otago and Queenstown-Lakes districts, with populations spanning a ~3000 km2 area.
Introduced mammalian predators threaten populations of endemic New Zealand skinks. Their effects on skink populations have been not often quantified on the mainland and are known primarily from skink population increases on islands from which mammals have been eradicated. Estimating skink population density with capture–recapture trapping is time-consuming and costly. Counting skinks in artificial retreats in specific weather conditions may be a useful and relatively quick way to index population density, but needs calibration for different habitats and species.
On three island groups off the northeast coast of New Zealand, fewer lizard species and markedly fewer individuals occurred on islands inhabited by Polynesian rats or kiore than on other islands without rats. Nocturnal, ground-dwelling lizards that forage in the open were most affected, which suggests that predation by kiore is the cause. The generally low densities and disjunct distributions of some lizards on the New Zealand mainland may have resulted from the introduction of kiore at least 600 years ago
European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) have recently been identified as a conservation threat in New Zealand. Hedgehogs were kill-trapped at 14 wetland and braided riverbed sites in the upper Waitaki Basin between late October 1997 and early February 1998 and their gut contents described. The most commonly eaten prey were Coleoptera (present in 81% of 192 guts), Lepidoptera (52%; n = 192), Dermaptera (49%; n = 192), Hymenoptera (42%; n = 192) and Orthoptera (31%; n = 319).