You are here » home advanced search Sphenodon punctatus

Sphenodon punctatus (GRAY, 1842)

IUCN Red List - Sphenodon punctatus - Least Concern, LC

Can you confirm these amateur observations of Sphenodon punctatus?

Add your own observation of
Sphenodon punctatus »

Find more photos by Google images search: Google images

Higher TaxaSphenodontidae, Rhynchocephalia 
SubspeciesSphenodon punctatus punctatus (GRAY 1842)
Sphenodon punctatus reischeki WETTSTEIN 1943 
Common NamesE: Tuatara (guntheri: Brothers Island tuatara)
G: Brückenechse, Tuatara, Schnabelkopfechse 
SynonymHatteria punctata GRAY 1842
Rhynchocephalus OWEN 1845
Sphenodon punctatum — GRAY 1869: 168
Sphenodon punctatum — BULLER 1870: 9
Sphenodon guntheri BULLER 1877
Sphenodon punctatus — KING & BURKE 1989
Sphenodon guntheri — AITKEN et al. 2001
Sphenodon punctatus — MILLER et al. 2012 
DistributionNew Zealand (Islands off North Island & Cook Strait; Northland to Bay of Plenty Islands (Poor Knights Islands, Hen & Chicken Islands, Cuvier Island, Mercury Islands, Alderman Islands, Kawera Island, Plate Island, Moutolki Island)

Type locality: Karewa Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

guntheri: New Zealand (North Brother Island, Cook Strait)  
TypesType: BMNH 1946.1.22.3 (and possibly additional specimens). 
CommentS. p. reischeki has been named after Austrian naturalist Andreas Reischek who collected the type specimens of this subspecies.

GRAY 1831 coined the word Sphaenodon.

Reproduction: oviparous; shows temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD).

Synonymy: There is a clear genetic separation between the population on North Brother Island and two other groups (western Cook Strait islands and all northern populations) on the basis of both allozyme genetic and morphometric variation (DAUGHERTY et al. 1990). However, the split does not seem to be as deep as initially thought and as a consequence, HAY et al. (2010) recommended to treat all tuataras as a single species, i.e. synonymize guntheri with punctatus.

Size: Max. snout-vent-length: 180 mm.

Holotype: Canterbury Museum, New Zealand [guntheri]

Genomics: this is one of the species selected by the Genome 10K consortium for complete genome sequencing.

Type species: Hatteria punctata GRAY 1842 is the type species of the genus Sphenodon GRAY 1872 (nomen emendatum et conservatumg, Opinion 455, ICZN 1957, non Sphenodon LUND 1839, a genus of fossil mammal). 
References
  • Aitken N, Jennifer M. Hay, Stephen D. Sarre, David M. Lambert & Charles H. Daugherty 2001. Microsatellite DNA markers for tuatara (Sphenodon spp.). Conservation Genetics 2: 183–185
  • Anonymous 1996. New hope for New Zealand's rare reptile. National Geographic 189(6):unnumbered
  • Blanchard, F. N. 1935. "Living fossils" walk on well-nigh inaccessible rocky islands off the coast of New Zealand National Geographic Magazine : 649-662
  • Blanchard, Frieda Cobb. 1935. Tuatara. National Geographic 67(5):649-662
  • Buller, W. 1871. A list of the lizards inhabiting New Zealand, with descriptions. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute, 3 [1870]:4-11
  • Buller, W.L. 1879. Further notes on the habits of the tuatara lizard. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 11: 349-351
  • Buller,W.L. 1877. Notes on the tuatara lizard (Sphenodon punctatum), with a description of a supposed new species. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 9: 317-325
  • Cree, A.;Thompson, M.B.;Daugherty, C.H. 1995. Tuatara sex determination Nature 375 (6532): 543
  • Cree, Alison; Daugherty, Charles H.; Towns, David R.; Blanchard, Barbara 1994. The contribution of captive management to the conservation of tuatara (Sphenodon) in New Zealand Captive Management and Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles 11: 377-385
  • Daugherty, C. H.; A. Cree, J. M. Hay & M. B. Thompson 1990. Neglected taxonomy and continuing extinctions of tuatara (Sphenodon). Nature 347: 177-179
  • Daugherty,C.H. et al. 1990. Neglected taxonomy and continuing extinctions of tuatara (Sphenodon). Nature 347: 177-179
  • Evans ,SE; Jones MEH. 2010. The Origin, early history and diversification of lepidosauromorph reptiles. In: Bandyopadhyay S. (ed.), New Aspects of Mesozoic Biodiversity, 27. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences 132, 27-44; DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-10311-7_2
  • Evans, SE 2008. The skull of lizards and tuatara. In Biology of the Reptilia, Vol.20, Morphology H: the skull of Lepidosauria, Gans C, Gaunt A S, Adler K. (eds). Ithaca, New York, Society for the study of Amphibians and Reptiles, pp1–344
  • Freeman, A.B., and A.N.D. Freeman 1995. Rediscovery of an original type specimen of Sphenodon guntheri Buller in the Canterbury Museum, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 22: 357-359
  • Gray, J. E. 1869. Sphenodon, Hatteria, and Rhynchocephalus. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (4) 3: 167-168 - get paper here
  • Gray, J.E. 1831. Note on a peculiar structure in the Head of an Agama. Zool. Misc. 1: 13 - get paper here
  • Gray, J.E. 1842. Description of two hitherto unrecorded species of reptiles from New Zealand; presented to the British Museum by Dr. Dieffenbach. The Zoological Miscellany. Part 2: 72.Treuttel, Würtz & Co., London. - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1867. Contribution to the anatomy of Hatteria (Rhynchocephalus, Owen). Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 20: 128-129 - get paper here
  • Hall, Margaret I. 2008. Comparative analysis of the size and shape of the lizard eye [corneal diameters and axial lengths of 116 lizard species]. Zoology 111 (1): 62-75
  • Hay, J.M.; Charles H. Daugherty, Alison Cree and Linda R. Maxson 2003. Low genetic divergence obscures phylogeny among populations of Sphenodon, remnant of an ancient reptile lineage. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29 (1): 1-19 - get paper here
  • Hay, J.M.; Sarre, S.D.; Daugherty, C.H. 2004. Nuclear mitochondrial pseudogenes as molecular outgroups for phylogenetically isolated taxa: a case study in Sphenodon. Heredity 93(5):468-475
  • Hay, Jennifer M.; Sankar Subramanian, Craig D. Millar, Elmira Mohandesan and David M. Lambert 2008. Rapid molecular evolution in a living fossil. Trends in Genetics 24 (3): 106-109 - get paper here
  • Hay, Jennifer M.; Stephen D. Sarre, David M. Lambert, Fred W. Allendorf and Charles H. Daugherty 2010. Genetic diversity and taxonomy: a reassessment of species designation in tuatara (Sphenodon: Reptilia). CONSERVATION GENETICS 11 93): 1063-1081 - get paper here
  • Herrel, A.; Moore, J.A.; Bredeweg, E.M. & Nelson, N.J. 2010. Sexual dimorphism, body size, bite force and male mating success in tuatara. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 287–292 - get paper here
  • Jamieson, B.G.M., and J.M. Healy 1992. The phylogenetic position of the tuatara, Sphenodon (Sphenodontidae: Amniota), as indicated by cladistic analysis of the ultrastructure of spermatozoa Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. Biological Sciences 335(1274):207-219
  • Janes, D.E.; C.L. Organ & S.V. Edwards 2009. Variability in Sex-Determining Mechanisms Influences Genome Complexity in Reptilia. Cytogenet Genome Res 127: 242-248
  • Jones, Marc E. H. 2008. Skull Shape and Feeding Strategy in Sphenodon and Other Rhynchocephalia (Diapsida: Lepidosauria). JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY 269:945–966
  • Jones, Marc E.H. & Alison Cree 2012. Tuatara. Current Biology 22 (23): R986–R987 - get paper here
  • Jones, MEH 2009. Dentary tooth shape in Sphenodon and its fossil relatives (Diapsida: Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia). In Koppe T, Meyer G, Alt KW, eds. Interdisciplinary Dental Morphology. Frontiers of Oral Biology (vol 13). Griefswald, Germany; Karger, pp. 9–15
  • Jones, MEH; Curtis N, O'Higgins P, Fagan M, Evans SE. 2009. Head and neck muscles associated with feeding in Sphenodon (Reptilia: Lepidsauria: Rhynchocephalia). Palaeontologia Electronica 12 (2, 7A): 1–56
  • Jones, MEH; Lappin AK. 2009. Bite-force performance of the last rhynchocephalian (Lepidosauria: Sphenodon). Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 39(3): 71–83
  • Jones, MEH; Tennyson AJD, Worthy JP, Evans SE, Worthy TH. 2009. A sphenodontine (Rhynchocephalia) from the Miocene of New Zealand and palaeobiogeography of the tuatara (Sphenodon). Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 1385–1390; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1785
  • Joseph-Ouni, M. 2004. The Zoogeography of Turtles, Crocodiles and Tuataras. The Tewksbury Institute of Herpetology
  • Kieser, JA, Tkatchenko T, Dean MC, Jones MEH, Duncan W, Nelson NJ. 2009. Microstructure of dental hard tissue and bone in the tuatara dentary, Sphenodon punctatus (Diapsida: Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia). In Koppe T, Meyer G, Alt KW, eds. Interdisciplinary Dental Morphology. Frontiers of Oral Biology (vol 13). Griefswald, Germany; Karger, pp. 80-85
  • Lutz, D. 2006. Tuatara, a living fossil from before dinosaurs. DIMI Press, Salem, Oregon, 108 pp.
  • Miller HC, Biggs PJ, Voelckel C, Nelson NJ 2012. De novo sequence assembly and characterisation of a partial transcriptome for an evolutionarily distinct reptile, the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus). BMC Genomics 2012, 13:439 - get paper here
  • Miller, Hilary C.; Jennifer A. Moore, Fred W. Allendorf, Charles H. Daugherty 2009. The evolutionary rate of tuatara revisited Trends in Genetics 25 (1): 13-15 - get paper here
  • Miller,Hilary C.; Katherine Belov, and Charles H. Daugherty 2006. MHC Class I Genes in the Tuatara (Sphenodon spp.): Evolution of the MHC in an Ancient Reptilian Order. Mol Biol Evol 23: 949-956
  • Mitchell, Nicola J; Nicola J Nelson; Alison Cree; Shirley Pledger; Susan N Keall and Charles H Daug 2006. Support for a rare pattern of temperature-dependent sex determination in archaic reptiles: evidence from two species of tuatara (Sphenodon). Frontiers in Zoology 2006, 3:9
  • Moore, J.A.; Miller, H.C.; Daughterty, C.H. & Nelson, N.J. 2008. Fine-scale genetic structure of a long-lived reptile reflects recent habitat modification. Molecular Ecology 17: 4630–4641
  • Moore, Jennifer A. and Stephanie S. Godfrey. 2006. Sphenodon punctatus Opportunistic predation. Herpetological Review 37 (1): 81-82 - get paper here
  • Moore, Jennifer A.; Nicola J. Nelson; <br />Susan N. Keal; Charles H. Daugherty 2008. Implications of social dominance and multiple paternity for the genetic diversity of a captive-bred reptile population (tuatara). Conserv Genet 9:1243–1251
  • Murphy, R. W.;Matson, R. H. 1986. Evolution of isozyme characters in the tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus New Zealand Journal of Zoology 13: 573-581
  • Nelson, Nicola J.; Jennifer A. Moore, Sushila Pillai, and Susan N. Keall 2010. Thermosensitive period for sex determination in the Tuatara. Herp. Cons. Biol. 5 (2) - get paper here
  • Newman, D.G., ed. 1982. New Zealand herpetology; proceedings of a symposium New Zealand Wildl. Serv., Dept. of Internal Affairs, Wellington, Occas. Publ. no. 2, 495 pp.
  • Norris, T.B.; Rickards, G.K.; Daugherty, C.H. 2004. Chromosomes of tuatara, Sphenodon, a chromosome heteromorphism and an archaic reptilian karyotype. Cytogenetic and Genome Research 105: 93-99
  • O’Meally, D. et al. 2009. The First Cytogenetic Map of the Tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus. Cytogenet Genome Res 127: 213-223
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1870. Ein Exemplar von Sphenodon punctatus Gray Sitzungsber. Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin 1870 (October): 54 - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1874. Über die Gehörknöchelchen und ihr Verhältniss zu dem ersten Zungenbeinbogen bei Sphenodon punctatus. Monatsberichte der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1874 (Januar): 40-45 - get paper here
  • Peterson, Jane A. 1984. The scale microarchitecture of Sphenodon punctatus. Journal of Herpetology 18 (1): 40-47 - get paper here
  • Quinn, T. W.;Mindell, D. P. 1996. Mitochondrial gene order adjacent to the control region in crocodile, turtle, and tuatara Mol Phylogenet Evol 5 (2): 344-51 - get paper here
  • Refsnider, Jeanine M.; Charles H. Daugherty, Stephanie S. Godfrey, Susan N. Keall, Jennifer A. Moore 2013. Patterns of Nesting Migrations in the Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), A Colonially Nesting Island Reptile Herpetologica 69 (3): 282-290. - get paper here
  • Rest, Joshua S.; Jennifer C. Ast; Christopher C. Austin; Peter J. Waddell; Elizabeth A. Tibbetts; Je 2003. Molecular systematics of primary reptilian lineages and the tuatara mitochondrial genome. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29: 289–297 - get paper here
  • Rieppel, O. 1992. The skull in a hatchling of Sphenodon punctatus. Journal of Herpetology 26 (1): 80-84. - get paper here
  • Robb,J. 1977. The Tuatara. Meadowfield Press, Durham (England)
  • Robb,J. 1980. New Zealand Amphibians and Reptiles in Colour. Collins, Auckland, 128 pp.
  • Schaerlaeken, Vicky; Herrel, A.; Aerts, P. & Ross, C.F. 2008. The functional significance of the lower temporal bar in Sphenodon punctatus. The Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 3908-3914
  • Schultze, F.E. 1886. Vorzeigung eines lebenden Exemplares der neuseeländischen Hatteria punctata GRAY. S. Ber. Ges. naturf. Freunde Berlin 1886: 125
  • Seligmann, Hervé; J. Moravec and Yehudah L. Werner 2008. Morphological, functional and evolutionary aspects of tail autotomy and regeneration in the ‘living fossil’ Sphenodon (Reptilia: Rhynchocephalia). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 93: 721–743. - get paper here
  • Sharell, R. 1966. The tuatara, lizards and frogs of New Zealand Collins, London 94 pp [reprint with addenda 1975]
  • Siebenrock,F. 1894. A contribution to the osteology of the head of Hatteria. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (6)13: 297-311 - get paper here
  • Subramanian, Sankar; Jennifer M. Hay, Elmira Mohandesan, Craig D. Millar, David M. Lambert 2009. Molecular and morphological evolution in tuatara are decoupled. Trends in Genetics 25 (1): 16-18 - get paper here
  • Tracy, M. R. 1997. Size variation in tuatara (Sphenodon). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 24:330
  • Valenzuela, Nicole and Valentine Lance (eds.) 2004. Temperature-dependent Sex Determination in Vertebrates. Smithsonian Books, 304 pp.
  • Van Den Bussche, Ronald A.; Longmire, Johnathan L.; Janecek, Laura L.; Baker, Robert J. 1998. Organization of repetitive DNA in the primitive reptile Sphenodon punctatus. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University, No. 178. Lubbock, Texas.
  • WANG, ZHENSHAN; TSUTOMU MIYAKE, SCOTT V. EDWARDS, AND CHRIS T. AMEMIYA 2006. Tuatara (Sphenodon) Genomics: BAC Library Construction, Sequence Survey, and Application to the DMRT Gene Family. Journal of Heredity 2006:97(6):541–548
  • Wettstein, O. von 1943. Sphenodon punctatus reischeki nov. subsp. Zool. Anz. Leipzig 143: 45 - 47
  • Whiteside, DI. 1986. The head skeleton of the Rhaetian sphenodontid Diphydontosaurus avonis gen. et sp. nov., and the modernising of a living fossil. Phil Trans R Soc London B312: 379–430
  • Wright, Kevin 1994. Tuataras: Holdouts in a modern world Reptiles 2 (1): 16-22
 
External links  
Is it interesting? Share with others:


Please submit feedback about this entry to the curator