Posts categorized as Biodiversity

Snares Islands Flora – bryophytes & lichens

  • Caption: A trick for young players! Asplenium gametophytes and young plants. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Caption: A new record of liverwort for the Snares -the leafy liverwort genus Aneura (centre-left) growing with moss Pyrrhobryum bifarium (sporophytes visable) on a rotting Olearia stem in a gully. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa. (Field of view c. 15cm)
  • Fern Blog Ph 11 - Resized
  • Caption: A new moss record for the Snares Islands - Tayloria purpurascens! Te papa collection item M041684. On the right you can see the leafy gametophyte (gamete plant). And on the left, the stalk-like structure is the sporophyte (spore plant) which develops from female reproductive organs on the gametophyte. (Field of view c. 4cm)

In late 2013, I joined a Te Papa science team on an expedition to the Snares Islands Nature Reserve, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island. Here we completed a range of seabird and plant research projects.  One of our research goals on the Snares Islands was to collect non-vascular plants.  Non-vascular plants include mosses, liverworts and hornworts (collectively… Read more »

Snares Islands – first impressions

  • Vegetation surrounding boat harbour. Snares Islands, North-East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • The brown skua (Catharacta antarctica) swooping our cameraman on Station Point. Snares Islands, North-East Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa.
  • Antony Kusabs, Collection Manaqger at the South Promontory sign post with Alert Stack and South-west promontory in background. Snares Islands, North East Isalnd. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Titi () at dusk. Snares Islands, North East Island, Muttonbird Ridge. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.

A Te Papa team recently visited the Snares Islands Nature Reserve, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island, where they completed a range of seabird and plant research projects. Here, Antony Kusabs (Collection Manager Sciences) describes his first impressions of the Snares Islands, his first trip to a New Zealand Sub-Antarctic island group. Watch Science Live: Expedition Snares Islands… Read more »

Watching nature with NatureWatch

I saw this giant stick insect on the perimeter fence of the Zealandia sanctuary in Wellington. I wanted to know what kind of stick insect it was, so uploaded a photo to NatureWatch: http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/385266

Do you want to learn more about the animals, fungi, and plants around you? Would you like to help scientists better understand the distribution of New Zealand’s biodiversity? If so, then the citizen-science website NatureWatch NZ  is for you. You can find out more about NatureWatch at the Wellington Botanical Society meeting on Monday 17th March,… Read more »

Critters of the Snares Islands

  • A Prodontria longitarsis chafer beetle on Veronica elliptica at night. Image: Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Lyperobius nesidiotes photographed on Anisotome acutifolia on Broughton Island in 1984. A recent survey failed to find its host plant on Broughton Island, the only site where the weevil was known to occur, and so it is possible that this rarest of the Snares Islands’ insects has quietly chewed its way to extinction. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Anisotome acutifolia in flower near the Razorback on North East Island, Snares Islands. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Colin Miskelly standing next to a large punui (Stilbocarpa robusta) on the Snares Islands. This plant had leaves up to 73 cm across. Image: Alan Tennyson, Te Papa

A Te Papa team recently visited the Snares Islands Nature Reserve, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island, where they completed a range of seabird and plant research projects. Here, Colin Miskelly (Curator Terrestrial Vertebrates) describes some of the smaller inhabitants of the Snares Islands. Watch Science Live: Expedition Snares Island to find out more about… Read more »

Anthony Hume Whitaker, MNZM (1944–2014) – a tribute

  • Whitaker’s skink (Oligosoma whitakeri), Pukerua Bay, January 1997. Tony Whitaker discovered this species on two islands off Whitianga, and it was subsequently found to occur also at Pukerua Bay north of Wellington (and nowhere else). It was named in honour of Tony by Graham Hardy in 1977. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • McGregor’s skink (Oligosoma macgregori), and Sail Rock viewed from Dragon Mouth Cove, Taranga (Hen Island). Tony Whitaker found McGregor’s skink to be present on Sail Rock during landings there in January 1969 and March 1971. McGregor’s skinks from Sail Rock were translocated to nearby Lady Alice and Whatupuke Islands after Pacific rats were eradicated on both islands. Images: Colin Miskelly
  • Whitaker’s skink (Oligosoma whitakeri), Pukerua Bay, January 1997. Tony Whitaker discovered this species on two islands off Whitianga, and it was subsequently found to occur also at Pukerua Bay north of Wellington (and nowhere else). It was named in honour of Tony by Graham Hardy in 1977. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Tony Whitaker (centre) with Department of Conservation staff Ian Cooksley and Mark Townsend during a ‘pre-rat-eradication’ lizard survey on Kapiti Island, May 1995. Image: Colin Miskelly

Tony Whitaker (or ‘Whit’ to his many friends) was the godfather of modern herpetology in New Zealand. Following more than half a century of fieldwork to the remotest corners of New Zealand, there were few lizard species that he had not seen, nor lizard researchers that he had not cheerfully assisted. Tony’s passion for, and… Read more »