Posts categorized as Biodiversity

John Yaldwyn and the frog crab

  • Frog crab, Notosceles pepeke, named by John Yaldwyn and Elliot Dawson, 2000. The holotype was collected in 1998, between Three Kings Islands and Cape Reinga. Found at depths of 59–211 metres. Image by Richard Webber, Te Papa
  • Dr John Yaldwyn, Assistant Director of the National Museum, 1976. Photograph by Trevor Ulyatt. Te Papa (MA_E.00350/32a)
  • South Island stout-legged wren, Pachyplichas yaldwyni, 2005, by Paul Martinson, watercolour on paper. From the series ‘Extinct Birds of New Zealand’. Te Papa (2006-0010-1/2)
  • South Island stout-legged wren, Pachyplichas yaldwyni, 2005, by Paul Martinson, watercolour on paper. From the series ‘Extinct Birds of New Zealand’. Te Papa (2006-0010-1/2)
May 2006
Equipment: Cruse CS 185SL450 Synchron Light Scanner
Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CS 8.0

This file is property of Te Papa Press

Former museum director John Yaldwyn specialised in crustaceans, but he also had a keen interest in extinct New Zealand birds, archaeology, and history. Te Papa turned 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of the Colonial Museum in Wellington, the exhibition ‘You called me WHAT?!’ is open on… Read more »

What (or which) was New Zealand’s first protected dolphin?

  • Pelorus Jack (a Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus) accompanies a vessel in Admiralty Bay, 1901–09. Image: James McDonald (Te Papa C.025085).
  • Children playing with Opo (a bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus), Opononi, 1956. Image: Eric Lee-Johnson (Te Papa O.007809/04).
  • Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) – New Zealand’s first protected dolphin – but only in the waters of Cook Strait between 26 October 1956 and 1 March 1959, and 17 March 1966 to 4 July 1968. Image: Steve Dawson, New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust
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New Zealanders have had the privilege of enjoying the company of many dolphins that chose to interact with people or boats. Some became household names, including Pelorus Jack (1888-1912), Opo (1955-56), Horace (1978-79), Aihe (1987-93), Maui (1992-97) and Moko (2007-10). The close bond that people developed with these dolphins led to concern about their welfare… Read more »

Dick Dell and the fantastic frilled crab

  • Urchin clingfish, Dellichthys morelandi Briggs, 1955, hiding under a sea urchin, Matt's Crack, Poor Knights Islands. Image: Ian Skipworth
  • Richard ‘Dick’ Dell, Director of the National Museum, 1975. Photograph by Trevor Ulyatt. Image: Te Papa (MA_B.13190)
  • Alex Black’s Alert maurea, Maurea alertae (B. Marshall, 1995); holotype of Alertalex blacki Dell, 1956. Collected from the Chatham Rise on 10 February 1954. Found at depths of 280–861 metres. Image: Te Papa
  • Frilled crab, Trichopeltarion fantasticum Richardson & Dell, 1964. The holotype was collected in Palliser Bay in January 1956. Found at depths of 22–750 metres. Image: Te Papa

Richard (Dick) Dell specialised in the study of marine invertebrates, especially molluscs (shells). His interests and expertise also included crustaceans, and one of the more memorable names that he coined was for a spectacular deep water crab. Te Papa turned 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of… Read more »

How to deal with human DNA contamination of your DNA sequencing: an example from a Malawian dance garment.

Dance garment, c. 1900, Malawi (Chewa culture), Photograph by Kate Whitley. Copyright Te Papa MA_I.374711

You’ve probably seen forensic scientists on TV taking swabs and fingerprints from crime scenes. They aren’t wearing labcoats, hairnets and gloves to look cool but to prevent them contaminating their forensic evidence with their own DNA. But how do scientists deal with items that are already contaminated with unwanted human DNA? I recently encountered this… Read more »

Hautere/Solander Island, The Capital of Albatrossness

  • Buller's Albatross flying at sea in a storm near Hautere/Solander Island. Photo Dominique Filippi, Copyright Dominique Filippi
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  • The campsite at the albatross colony on Hautere/Solander Island
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Its probably one of the most rugged small island sites around the Southern Ocean….lacking only a glacier to make it truly inhospitable. No huts, no trees, and best of all, no humans! And yet Hautere/Solander Island has something of a reputation of among seabird researchers. Most of the ones I have encountered, who had been there, said “What would possess… Read more »

Hautere/Solander Island – 1933 and 2016 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 12)

  • Red-crowned parakeet, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Weka, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Buller's mollymawk parents and chick, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Buller's mollymawks in a gale, viewed from Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Edgar Stead (1881-1949) was a Canterbury naturalist famous (among other things) for exhuming the enormous Okarito blue whale skeleton now in Canterbury Museum, breeding the Ilam strain of rhododendrons and azaleas, and being an astute observer of New Zealand birds. His magnificent homestead ‘Ilam’ is now the Canterbury University staff club, and was the main… Read more »

New sunfish discovered

Marianne Nyegaard, Andrew Stewart and Te Papa intern Etsuro Suwai measuring a specimen of the new sunfish. (Photo Salme Kortet, Te Papa).

Sunfishes (family Molidae) are large, distinctive, oceanic fishes found worldwide. Scientists generally agree there are two species of sunfish – the oceanic sunfish (Mola mola) and the bump-headed or short sunfish (Mola ramsayi). However, recent DNA analyses of sunfish samples collected and sequenced overseas has indicated the presence of a third, undescribed, and previously unknown… Read more »

Robert Falla and the Westland petrel

  • Westland petrel (Procellaria westlandica), Paparoa National Park. Image: Colin Miskelly, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Robert Falla at his desk in the Dominion Museum, watched over by a spotted shag. Image: Te Papa MA_B.016181
  • White-capped mollymawk (Thalassarche cauta steadi). Image: Colin Miskelly, New Zealand Birds Online
  • The three versions of the Falla, Sibson, turbot field guide, published between 1966 and 1990. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

The museum’s fifth Director became our second knight. Te Papa turned 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of the Colonial Museum in Wellington, the exhibition ‘You called me WHAT?!’ is open on Level 3 until the end of 2016. The exhibition, and this series of blogs, explore… Read more »