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Waipapa River Walk

The Waipapa River and its tributaries snake their way through Puketi Forest. Because much of the headwaters are contained within the forest, this constitutes one of the least modified freshwater ecosystems in Northland. The Waipapa River is known to contain 12 species of indigenous fish, including koaro (Galaxias brevipennis), banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus), and lamprey (Geotria australis), freshwater mussels (Hyridella menziesii or Kaeo), crayfish (koura, Paranephrops planifrons), freshwater limpets (Latia neritoides) and shrimp (Paratya curvirostrus). Join us on a river walk through the heart of Puketi Forest and see if you can spot 15 river dwellers. Click on each one to find out more information.


Along with river dwellers, there are also some reptiles in Puketi Forest.

Two species of gecko have been found in Puketi Forest, the Northland Green Gecko and the Pacific Gecko. The Northland green gecko (Naultinus grayii) is bright green on top with gold or grey markings and a paler underbelly. It is most commonly seen on Manuka and Kanuka trees. It bears live young in the autumn, which it defends by lunging at attackers with its mouth open, showing its red tongue and the vivid deep blue of its mouth. Because it lives in trees, the tail of the Northland green gecko is prehensile allowing it to hold on and move through trees easily. It feeds on insects and nectar during the day.

The Pacific Gecko (Hoplodactylus pacificus.) and the forest gecko (H. granulatus) are also thought to be present in Puketi Forest, but there are no confirmed records of the forest gecko. The Pacific gecko is nocturnal and feeds on vegetation or on insects, grubs and berries. By day they hide in cracks in clay banks, under stones or in cracks in tree trunks. Sometimes they are seen basking in the sun. Their colour and patterning are variable and they bear their young in the late summer.

The copper skink (Cyclodina aenea) has been recorded in Puketi forest. The copper skink is the smallest of New Zealand's lizards at 120mm long, half of which is the tail. They are brown on top with a cream underbelly, and have a light coppery line from the eye to the base of the tail. This lizard lives on the ground in open or shaded areas with sufficient cover. It is diurnal but most active early and late in the day. Copper skinks feed on insects, spiders, crustaceans and small snails. They mate in the spring and 4-6 young are born 3-4 months later. Like all skinks the copper skink readily sheds its tail to escape predators.

Did you know? Skinks have smooth skin and movable eyelids.

© 2006 Puketi Forest Trust
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