Posts categorized as Mammals

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 »

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 »

Reptiles of Taranga (Hen Island) and nearby islands

  • McGregor's skink, Mana Island. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Copper skink, Ohinau Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Common gecko, Ohinau Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Shore skink, Ohinau Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s Curator of Terrestrial Vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly visited Taranga for a week in December 2010 as part of his research into the life and fieldwork of the naturalist Edgar Stead. Here, Colin describes the reptiles found on the island, along with reptile records from surrounding islands, and the potential for reptile recovery and… Read more »

A Day in the Life of a Natural History Curator – the intern’s view!

  • Westland Petrel at the breeding colony near Punakaiki, Westland. Photo, Lara Shepherd.
  • This box contained the bones of a sea lion found at the Chatham Islands. Photo, Mathilde Meheut.
  • Mathilde helped to handle petrels during the deployment of GPS loggers. The logger is visible taped on to the birds back feathers with brown   sticky tape. Photo, Susan Waugh
  • A miniature GPS logger used by scientists to follow the movements of Westland Petrels at sea. Mathilde helped with note-taking and field work. Another specialist writing job for Te Papa! Photo, Susan Waugh.

I’m Mathilde Meheut, a French biology student travelling in New Zealand who had the chance to do some voluntary work at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In this blog, I’ll tell you about some of the work I got involved in at Te Papa during a few weeks in June and July… Read more »

Phar Lap’s DNA

Te Papa Conservator Robert Clendon removes Phar Lap’s skull from the rest of the skeleton, before extracting one of the incisor teeth. Photo Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa.

Earlier this year, Te Papa received a request from scientists in Australia for a tooth sample from legendary race horse Phar Lap. The scientists are hoping to extract DNA from the tooth.  Then they will be able to compare Phar Lap’s DNA with other horses. Press release from the scientists attempting to obtain Phar Lap’s… Read more »

Ruapuke Island – 1941 and 2012 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 9)

  • A pair of yellow-eyed penguins on Ruapuke Island., December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Fernbird carrying insects to its young, Ruapuke Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A pair of weka on Ruapuke Island, December 2012. Dark morph female on left, brown morph male on right. Images: Colin Miskelly
  • Ruapuke Island from the south-east, with Bluff Hill in the distance. Image: Colin Miskelly

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 10 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »

Green Island (Papatea) – 1941 and 2012 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 8)

  • New Zealand fur seal cows and pups on Green Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Geckos (Woodworthia 'Otago large') on Green Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Fernbird photographed on Ruapuke Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Brown creeper on Green Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly

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 10 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »

Hunting henriettas on Ruapuke Island – on the tail of New Zealand’s first mice

Henrietta Bay on the south coast of Ruapuke Island. The cannon is claimed to have come from the Elizabeth Henrietta. Photo: Colin Miskelly

Few people are aware of Ruapuke Island. Guarding the eastern approaches to Foveaux Strait, the 1600 ha island is large enough to appear as a smudge of colour at the very bottom of TV3’s weather map. Yet the island’s low relief means that passengers on the Stewart Island ferry 20 km to the west barely… Read more »