Finding and naming new species is a core part of the job for Te Papa’s scientists.  More than 2500 animal and plant species have been named by museum staff since 1865.  A recent example is the fern Asplenium lepidotum, described by myself and Pat Brownsey.  This brings the number ofRead more

Marianne Nyegaard, Andrew Stewart and Te Papa intern Etsuro Suwai measuring a specimen of the new sunfish. (Photo Salme Kortet, Te Papa).

Sunfishes (family Molidae) are large, distinctive, oceanic fishes found worldwide. Scientists generally agree there are two species of sunfish – the oceanic sunfish (Mola mola) and the bump-headed or short sunfish (Mola ramsayi). However, recent DNA analyses of sunfish samples collected and sequenced overseas has indicated the presence of aRead more

We asked you to suggest a species name for a newly discovered New Zealand forget-me not. In addition to some creative descriptive and geographic names, many of your suggestions were commemorative. The practice of naming species after famous people (real or fictional) dates back over 250 years. Are such names just aRead more

Please note: This fern has since been named. The You Called Me What?! exhibition celebrates 150 years of scientific discovery at Te Papa. A big part of this has been the scientific naming of more than 2500 animal and plant species by museum staff since 1865. We’re now giving youRead more

Botany Collection Store: Te Papa has 300 000 botany specimens. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2015.

Today is World Science Day for Peace and Development, but science is happening at Te Papa every day . In addition to research being conducted within Te Papa, each year we also loan hundreds of science collection specimens to researchers all around the world. Researchers study our specimens to improve our collectiveRead more

A new paper by Te Papa researchers and their colleagues from Massey University, NIWA and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, describes not one but THREE new species of hagfish. This increases the total number species found in New Zealand waters to eight. What are hagfish? These strange creatures, alsoRead more

The spider and fern citizen science projects running alongside the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition are roaring along. To date, there have been 101 participants and 745 observations in the Spiders with Te Papa project, and 83 participants and 1332 observations in the Ferns with Te Papa project.  Thank you to all theseRead more

Interested in the ‘outdoors’? Want to learn more about the animals and plants around you? Want to make discoveries? Perhaps even find a new species? Want to help (1) Te Papa with its scientific research and (2) New Zealand better understand and manage its biodiversity? Sounds like the citizen scienceRead more

Bart Cox and Jasmine Gibbins spent their summer researching native orchids at Te Papa. Bart and Jasmine are part of a group of seven students from Victoria University of Wellington that were awarded a Summer Research Scholarship co-funded by Te Papa and Victoria University of Wellington. Bart’s research focused on a threatenedRead more

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 otherRead more

Te Papa’s biodiversity scientists regularly describe new species of plants and animals. Just added to this list is another New Zealand fern. This new species is a Hymenophyllum filmy fern. Hymenophyllum means thin-leaved. The fronds of most species are only one cell thick, giving them a translucent appearance. We haveRead more

I’d like to introduce a new species of New Zealand fern, Gleichenia inclusisora. Our scientific description was published just before Christmas 2012. The recognition of this species edges the number of native New Zealand fern and lycophyte species nearly to 200. Abstract of paper describing Gleichenia inclusisora. Email me ifRead more