A team of keen birders recently participated in an 11-day trip to the remote Kermadec Islands, about 800 km north-east of mainland New Zealand. Several of the species they encountered are rarely seen or photographed – in New Zealand or anywhere. Trip organiser Scott Brooks has loaded more than 70 of his stunning images from the trip on to New Zealand Birds Online. Curator Vertebrates (and NZ Birds Online administrator) Colin Miskelly showcases the best of Scott’s Kermadec bird images.Read more

Because they are small and don’t come in big numbers, they’re often overseen and most people don’t even know of their existence. Invertebrates curator Julia Kasper introduces New Zealand native bees, and explains why they are so important, their biggest threats, and what is being done to help.Read more

Five Te Papa staff recently joined Department of Conservation colleagues on a boat-based survey of islands in central and northern Fiordland. One of the species they were hoping to learn more about was the mysterious grey-backed storm petrel. Vertebrates curator Colin Miskelly explains why this tiny bird was on their radar, and what they found.Read more

A painting of a seal in the sea with small fish in front of it

A fossil discovery in New Zealand has revealed a new species of seal that once called Australasia home. Eomonachus belegaerensis is the first monk seal, living or extinct, ever found in the Southern Hemisphere. Its presence in our region turns the evolution of southern seals on its head. Curator Vertebrates Felix Marx talks about what this discovery means.Read more

A collection of slides of 14 gnats in one image

Assistant researcher Shaun Thompson is working with Curator Julia Kasper studying the lives of fungus gnats, one of the biggest Diptera groups in New Zealand. They aim to provide updated species descriptions and distribution records which may help detect invasive exotic species present in New Zealand, prevent the loss of these gnat species and avert harm to our ecosystem.Read more