Chris Horne of the Wellington Botanical Society recently sent me a fern frond they collected on one of their trips. Although the frond is small and lacking the diagnostic reproductive characters, I think it is the introduced holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum). It looks like the shining spleenwort (Asplenium oblongifolium), but the
Breaking news from our squid fix-it team – the work is complete and we are on track to reopen the colossal squid exhibition to the public from tomorrow 21 March 2009. Yesterday Robert Clendon our Conservator and Hutch Wilco, one of our exhibition preparators finished the last few tweaks to the
The rare, tetraploid maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes subsp. quadrivalens) has only recently been rediscovered in New Zealand. Several people have contacted me with possible additional sightings. As described by the Scoop website, Jack Ritchie had a maidenhair spleenwort self-sow on a rock used to construct a water feature in his
Botany has recently acquired a unique collection: a special group of calcified red algae known as the corallines. Coralline algae are abundant and ubiquitous throughout the world’s oceans, playing very important roles in marine ecosystems. The encrusting, or crustose, species can form unusual lumpy, warty-looking layers in the intertidal, sometimes
The maidenhair spleenwort is a spleenwort fern (Asplenium) that (supposedly) looks like a maidenhair fern (Adiantum, see below). The 600 or so of the world’s spleenworts are characterised by having their reproductive structures in lines away from the margins of their fronds’ undersides. Two maidenhair spleenworts occur in New Zealand.
In honour of Valentine’s Day this post will look at the wonderful world of courtship in the spider genus Latrodectus, more commonly known as the widow spiders. Readers of my previous post will recall this genus includes species such as the American black widow (Latrodectus mactans), the Australian redback (L.
Skin Deep Differences Don’t Matter in Katipo Having spent my last two postings dealing with butterflies and moths, it’s time to move on to the animals I love the most – spiders! The subject of this posting is the katipo spider (Latrodectus katipo), New Zealand’s only endemic spider known to
By Chris Paulin and Alan Tennyson Recently, a group of researchers in New Zealand suggested that the absence of fossils between 25 and 22 million years ago indicated that the islands completely disappeared under water, and then later re-emerged. But a newly discovered fossil reptile suggests this theory does not
This post is inspired by Smiv’s reminiscences about cinnabar moth caterpillars when commenting on my previous blog entry. Also, as adult cinnabar moths are on the wing this time of year in New Zealand summer and sightings always generate a number of calls to Te Papa’s entomology department, I thought
Last weekend, when I should have been writing grant applications, I was dragged out for a bush-walk. However, my arm didn’t have to be twisted too hard, since it was a fine day and the track between Kiriwhakapapa and Blue Range is lovely (although steep). Alseuosmia pusilla was abundant along
Field-work is one of the best aspects of working as a Natural Environment curator at Te Papa. I get to spend about three weeks a year in the field collecting plant specimens. I’ve recently returned from ten days field-work in the South Island, collecting samples for our research on lancewood