The Māori name tuatara translates roughly as ‘spiny back’. Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) have a primitive body structure that has barely changed for 220 million years. They have a variable body temperature which enables them to survive in New Zealand’s temperate climate. Living in burrows, they hunt at night around their burrow entrances. On the menu are wetas, worms, lizards, millipedes and even small seabirds. This tuatara is a male.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Peter Morrison
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