Posts categorized as Biodiversity

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 3. Arriving at the Crozet Islands

  • Aceanas and rusty relics at Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • French Research Base Alfred Faure at the Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Sheathbill at Baie du Marin. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Unloading at Baie du Marin, Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa

After a days delay while we took part in an exercise involving the French Navy, we finally sighted the Crozet Islands as the sun cast its water rays over a cold deep blue-grey sea. Suddenly the bird life around the boat changed from the occasional white-chinned petrel and wandering albatross, to flights of little prions,… Read more »

Critters of the Poor Knights Islands

  • Purple rock crabs (Leptograpsus variegatus) scavenge the corpse of a Buller's shearwater, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Turbott’s weevil (Anagotus turbotti) on ngaio, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Flax weevil (Anagotus fairburni) feeding on flax/harakeke, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult clapping cicada (Amphipsalta cingulata), Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »

Reptiles of the Poor Knights Islands

  • Suter's skink, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Moko skink, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Shore skink, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Hardy's skink, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »

Birds of the Poor Knights Islands

  • Juvenile spotless crake, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult spotless crake, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Female bellbird, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Male bellbird, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 2) – subterranean Poor Knights Islands

  • Flax snail (Placostylus hongii) inside a shearwater burrow on Aorangi Island, as viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Flax snail (Placostylus hongii) inside a shearwater burrow on Aorangi Island, as viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Two fully-grown kingfisher chicks inside their burrow on Aorangi Island, viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Kingfisher burrow entrance, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 2. Tropical waters

  • Flying fish in the waters of 29 deg S. Image: Julian Collet, © Julian
  • Barau’s Petrel one day south of Reunion Island. Image: Julian Collet, © Julian Collet
  • Julien Collet CNRS Research Assistant keeps an eye out for whales and seabirds from the top deck of the Marion Dufresne. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Lieutenant Iulia Popescu of the Marion Dufresne checks our position at the chart table.

Our visit to the Crozet Islands, a French Sub-Antarctic nature reserve at 41 deg S in the Indian Ocean started yesterday, embarking on the RV Marion Dufresne. We’re steaming straight south from La Reunion, towards the Crozet Islands, with landfall due in about 6 days. Overnight we made good steaming with an average speed of… Read more »

Fern stamps

New Zealand Post has just released a series of postage stamps featuring five New Zealand ferns. The illustrations are excellent. Images of the stamps, from New Zealand Post’s website. The five ferns featured are: hen and chickens fern, Asplenium bulbiferum – $0.70 kidney fern, Cardiomanes reniforme – $1.40 Colenso’s hard fern, Blechnum colensoi – $1.90… Read more »

More tangle – a new species of tangle fern

  • Frond underside of Gleichenia inclusisora. The white and flattish frond segments are one of its distinctive features. The undersides of the frond segments of Gleichenia dicarpa are whitish but pouched, while those of Gleichenia microphylla are flat but green. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa
  • Except when very young, the lower stems of Gleichenia inclusisora are usually naked of scales or hairs, in contrast to the other Gleichenia species in New Zealand. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • All four Gleichenia species presently recognised in New Zealand can grow together, to the extent of intertwining. Gleichenia inclusisora most commonly co-occurs with Gleichenia dicarpa. Gleichenia inclusisora (right) often has a shinier upper-surface, sometimes allowing the two species to be distinguished at a distance. However, this doesn’t always work as well as it does in this photo! Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Close-up of the frond underside of Gleichenia inclusisora. The reproductive structures (sori) each comprise three sporangia (which produce the spores, the yellow dots) embedded in a pit in the frond. Some empty pits are visible. The distinctive rounded, bicoloured scales can also be seen at top left. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

I’d like to introduce a new species of New Zealand fern, Gleichenia inclusisora. Our scientific description was published just before Christmas 2012. The recognition of this species edges the number of native New Zealand fern and lycophyte species nearly to 200. Abstract of paper describing Gleichenia inclusisora. Email me if you would like a pdf… Read more »

Is this the world’s biggest nettle leaf?

Ongaonga leaf - note the ruler starts at 500 mm.

Whilst recently chasing seabirds on Titi Island we came across tree nettles (ongaonga, Urtica ferox) with super-sized leaves. The largest leaf we measured was 28 cm long, much longer than the maximum leaf length of 18 cm given for this species in the Flora of New Zealand. Perhaps the abundant seabird droppings on this island… Read more »