The sunfish has a name!

School Students and the sharp tail sunfish. Photographer: Scott Ogilvie © Te Papa

School Students and the sharp tail sunfish. Photographer: Scott Ogilvie © Te Papa

As part of Te Papa’s Sunfish Science Extravaganza, a competition was run for school classes to come up with a name for our sharp tail sunfish. We got some very creative and witty suggestions and picking a winner proved a difficult task. After some consultation with fellow educators, a decision was reached…

Congratulations to Room 5 at Khandallah School for your winning name – Sunny Bill.

This class has won a chance to be taken through Te Papa’s natural history collection in our Tory St facility. I have been told the students in Room 5 are ‘over the moon, excited and really looking forward to their visit’ – and we are excited to meet the budding young scientists of Khandallah School!

Following their visit, Room 5 will have a chance to be guest bloggers on Te Papa’s blog to tell readers about the amazing things they saw and learned about on their visit.

9 Responses

  1. Chris

    This is a very large sharp tail fish. I’m puzzled if they are usually this big? Anyone know? Good choice of name too!

  2. Scott Ogilvie

    Bec, that is a very good question.

    I passed it on to Andrew Stewart one of our collection managers, who is one of the scientists who worked on the sunfish. Here is what he said:
    “Hi Bec,

    We used to display specimens in alcohol OK but the law dealing with health and safety has changed. We now have to make sure the public are not exposed to risks from the toxic nature of alcohol or from a potential fire or explosion caused by alcohol vapour that might leak out. We have a specialised storage systems for holding specimens in alcohol (over 200 tonnes of the stuff!!) When we get specimens out we have to kit up with gloves, masks and the like, and examine them in a lab with fume extraction fans.”

    I hope that helps with your question.

  3. Bec

    Hi I’m a student at an Intermediate in New Plymouth and I would like to know why Sunny Bill cannot be preserved in alcohol for public display. If he is going to get preserved in alcohol anyway, why can’t people like me see him?
    Thanks, Bec.

  4. Myluit

    Good choice…Sunny Bill.

    • Scott Ogilvie

      It was very well thought up by the children at Khandallah School. We think they did a great job!

  5. Myluit

    Sunny Bill…excellent choice.

  6. adele

    Sunny Bill, sounds good enough for the Sun Fish! well done..

    • Scott Ogilvie

      Yes Adele, we think it is a rather fitting name for the sunfish too. Great work by the students at Khandallah School!

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