New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1981) 4: 89- 97

Feeding Ecology of the Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) on Stephens Island, Cook Strait

Research Article
G. Y. Walls 1,2
  1. Zoology Department, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
  2. Present address: Botany Division, DSIR, Nelson, New Zealand

Food habits of the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) on Stephens Island, in north-western Cook Strait, were studied by field observations and faecal analysis. The tuatara is a selective predator, feeding on a wide range ange of small animals, mainly large insects. nsects. Its diet shows seasonal changes and habitat differences, related to local conditions: the coastal broadleaf forest orest habitat, which predominated in pre-European times but is now only represented by remnants, seems to be most favourable. The tuatara population, although large, seems to be no threat to the survival of any of its prey species.