Tuataras (genus Sphenodon) are the only surviving members of the Order Rhynchocephalia, which was an abundant reptile group during the Mesozoic but largely disappeared in the Late Cretaceous. There are two recognized species of tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus and S. guntheri. Tuataras are found on relatively inaccesible islands off the coast of New Zealand. This endangered species was once widely distributed throughout New Zealand, but became extinct on the mainland before the arrival of European settlers.
Sphenodon punctatus (Tuatara)
Description from the Animal Diversity Web, covering geographic range, physical characteristics, natural history, and endangered species status.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation provides information on these endangered reptiles and what is being done to conserve them. Includes a factsheet, photographs and videos.
List of facts about the New Zealand native reptile.
Last update:November 19, 2015 at 10:35:09 UTC