Posts categorized as Biodiversity

Past and present fauna of Mt Owen, north-west Nelson

A speargrass weevil (Lyperobius clarkei) on an on the speargrass Aciphylla ferox speargrass.

As well as impressive plants, Mount Owen and the Marino Mountains are also zoologically interesting. The wet weather may have prevented us reaching the summit of Mount Owen but it did bring out the slugs and snails. We spotted a giant leaf-veined slug (Amphikonophora gigantea) beside the track on the lower flanks of the mountain…. Read more »

Newly described fern named after Te Papa curator

An unfurling frond of a Dicksonia perriei, Mt Panie, New Caledonia. Photo: Leon Perrie

A new species of tree fern has recently been named after Te Papa botany curator and fern expert Leon Perrie. The fern, Dicksonia perriei, occurs only in New Caledonia mostly on acidic soils at altitudes above 1000m, in areas of high rainfall. The new species is related to the three other New Caledonia Dicksonia species and to the… Read more »

Were broad-billed prions from The Snares part of the massive die-off of this species in 2011?

  • South Bay Snares
  • Dead skua prey remains
  • Skuas feeding
  • Broad-billed prion chick, Snares Island. Te Papa

This was one of the key questions that we were trying to answer when four Te Papa scientists – Colin Miskelly, Antony Kusabs, Jean-Claude Stahl and I – set off for the subantarctic Snares Islands in November-December 2013.  The Snares are one of the world’s great seabird islands and broad-billed prions – a small blue-and-white… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 3) – subterranean Snares Islands

  • Parara through burrowscope
  • Parara
  • Fairy prion through burrowscope
  • Fairy prion

A Te Papa team recently visited the Snares Islands, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island, where they completed a range of seabird research projects. The most time-consuming task was a re-survey of the vast sooty shearwater (titi, or muttonbird) population there. Estimating the population size was based on two main parameters – the number of… Read more »

Snares Islands – 1947 and 2013 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 11)

  • Snipe and chick
  • North-east coast
  • Penguin landing
  • Station Cove

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly is researching the life and work of the Canterbury naturalist Edgar Stead (1881-1949). This includes re-taking Stead’s photos from the same photo-point, taking other images to illustrate his diaries, and describing how the ecology and wildlife of each of 11 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »

Western Chain, Snares Islands – 1929 and 2013 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 10)

  • Alan Tennyson (left) and Colin Miskelly collecting a blood sample from a fulmar prion on Toru Islet, Western Chain, November 2013. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • Fulmar prion on Toru Islet, Western Chain, November 2013. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa.
  • Salvin’s mollymawk and chick on Toru Islet, November 2013. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa.
  • A Cape petrel on its nest on Toru Islet, November 2013. Image: Alan Tennyson, Te Papa.

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly is researching the life and work of the Canterbury naturalist Edgar Stead (1881-1949). This includes re-taking Stead’s photos from the same photo-point, taking other images to illustrate his diaries, and describing how the ecology and wildlife of each of 11 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »