a large, primarily nocturnal, lizardlike reptile, Sphenodon punctatum, of islands near the coast of New Zealand: the only surviving rhynchocephalian.
Also, tuatera [too-uh-tair-uh] .
Also called sphenodon.

1810–20; < Maori, equivalent to tua dorsal + tara spine

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World English Dictionary
tuatara (ˌtuːəˈtɑːrə)
a greenish-grey lizard-like rhynchocephalian reptile, Sphenodon punctatus, occurring only on certain small islands near New Zealand: it is the sole surviving member of a group common in Mesozoic times
[C19: from Māori, from tua back + tara spine]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

New Zealand lizard, 1890, from Maori, from tua "on the back" + tara "spine."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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