Introduction to the Atlas

What species are covered

The observations cover over 100 species, comprising:

  • 4 species of native frogs and 3 species of introduced frogs
  • 40 species* and 2 subspecies of geckos
  • 50 species* of native skinks, 2 subspecies and 1 introduced skink
  • 2 species and 1 subspecies of tuatara
  • 5 species of marine turtles and 2 species of marine snakes

* These figures are currently under taxonomic review

Where the data comes from

All text displayed in the species reports originates from the Herpetofauna database and is updated instantly. The Atlas distribution maps display only verified records and provide you with a crude data analysis of the records which are historical (pre-1988) or modern (post-1988). The species distribution maps are updated on a monthly basis. 

Why we created the Atlas

A survey of key herpetofauna stakeholders in 2005 indicated 95% of participants rated the availability of up-to-date distribution maps a high priority and endorsed the need for an updated electronic distribution atlas for our lizards, amphibians and marine reptiles.

In 2005, the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme provided funding for:

  1. A limited run of an updated hard copy version of the Atlas of the amphibians and reptiles of New Zealand (Pickard & Towns 1988) and 
  2. The delivery of a web-based version of the Atlas to both Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and the general public of New Zealand.

The Atlas objectives

  • Develop an up-to-date electronic distribution atlas of the amphibians and reptiles of New Zealand providing database generated national distribution maps for each species recorded in New Zealand from verified data. 
  • Create wider awareness of the herpetological fauna of New Zealand.
  • Increased contribution of members of the public to the herpetofauna database.

For further information please contact the Herpetofauna database administrator: Benno Kappers,

Related link

Herpetofauna data collection


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Benno Kappers
Herpetofauna Database Administrator