Te Papa is a collaborative partner with Auckland Museum in this important expedition to intensively sample and survey the fishes of the remote Kermadec Islands. The Te Papa fish team is participating because of their unique specialised skills in collecting and identifying fishes underwater on scuba in the wild, as well as their ship-based photographic and curatorial skills in working up the collections, preparatory to transport back to Wellington and registration into the National Fish Collection at Te Papa Tory Street. We cannot wait to get our hands on them to discover what hidden gems this fish fauna contains!
Our collection of fishes from remote location around the NZ EEZ, such as the Kermadec Islands, is relatively poor with only about 2000 specimens in 500 registered lots from that area. It is expected that this fieldwork will at least double the size of our registered holdings, and so greatly increase the scientific value of our Kermadec collection.
The new material will include many rare fishes, some collected for the first time from our EEZ as well as specimens of fish species new to science. Once preserved and accurately identified, this collection will underpin the species inventory being compiled for the area, and all specimens will be available for examination by fish researchers to support biosystematic projects for many decades to come. This includes an identification guidebook to all New Zealand fishes, currently in preparation by the fish team and over 30 authors from around the world and will be published in 2013 in full colour by Te Papa Press.
See Te Papa’s Carl Struthers photograph a Zebra Lionfish for the catalogue:
Dr Clive Roberts, Curator of Fishes.