Subfossil remains of tuatara, not identifiable by species, are present in caves, sand dunes, and Maori midden (rubbish) sites throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand and on some offshore islands. Only a single wild population of S. guntheri is now known, on North Brother Island in Cook Strait off northern South Island. Populations of the northern form of S. punctatus are confined to about 26 islands off northeastern North Island. The Cook Strait form of tuatara is confined to four islands off northern South Island.

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