Here’s a little known fact about New Zealand’s biodiversity, we have a staggering amount of different land snails for the size of our country.Continue Reading...
Archives For Invertebrates
The Open Lab – a free mobile laboratory run by DOC volunteers – made one of its first appearances in Wellington recently. Both children and adults alike enjoyed working with scientists to find and examine live invertebrates with real lab equipment.Continue Reading...
Research from scientists John Marris and James Russell has confirmed the devastating impact mice have had on the unique invertebrate species on the Antipodes Island.Continue Reading...
They measure only 2 centimetres in length, so how does a 2 metre long peripatus (velvet worm) come to be found in one of Dunedin’s oldest buildings? DOC biodiversity ranger Amanda Salt explains…
In the dark bowels of the old Athenaeum building, in Dunedin’s Octagon, an exciting event took place to launch a new work on New Zealand peripatus/ngaokeoke, an obscure, nocturnal invertebrate which links back to a common ancestor present on Gondwana.
It was appropriate this event was held in a cold, damp basement, as peripatus enjoy this type of habitat.
The new publications:
aim to summarise knowledge, manage peripatus through continued research, raise awareness and secure legal protection for this at risk species.
The project to create these publications was a collaboration that began after it was agreed that the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) move a population of peripatus in Caversham Valley to an area nearby, to avoid the impact of state highway improvements in the Dunedin suburb.
It was guided by former DOC staff member, entomologist Michael Wakelin, with representatives from DOC, Ngāi Tahu, Dunedin City Council, Forest and Bird, Dunedin City Council, the New Zealand Transport Agency, and landowners.
Prof Sir Alan Mark, who wrote the foreword, told guests the booklet was an important milestone for DOC and Dunedin.
Dunedin photographer Rod Morris provided the photographs and gave an informative talk and slideshow at the event.
One highlight was Orokonui Ecosanctuary conservation educator Tahu Mackenzie, resplendent in her own wearable art creation of a giant purple velvet peripatus, complete with green slime secretion glands.
Tahu also sang a song she wrote for the occasion, accompanied by some of the recently-formed Dunedin Roots & Shoots group members, who helped out on the night.
To close, the mysterious world of the peripatus was portrayed poetically by DOC’s Coastal Otago Services Manager, David Agnew, who wrote P/Ng is for Peripatus/Ngaokoeoke.
P is for peripatus, velvet worm, the missing link
An animal (at least that’s what we think)
Not widely known, but world renown
For habits and features it stands alone
It roams at night
It kills its prey
Jets of toxic saliva it does spray.
Ng is for Ngaokeoke, that’s how Ngāi Tahu say
This taonga from down this way
And we’re all so glad
It still shares Te Wai Pounamu with you.
M is for motorway, and we all use them
Asphalt and tarmac, and limits for speed
However it’s something that we all need
And Caversham Valley presented a way
For us to help peripatus along the way.
So here we all are to celebrate the result
Of hours of research and painstaking input
Into a process that produced this book
A collaborative process that involved quite a few
Ngāi Tahu and Transit, DOC and DCC
Forest & Bird, Rod Morris, Dave Randle
OPUS, Sir Alan, and scientists too.
P is for pamphlet, panui, pukapuka
P is for peripatus, velvet worm, ngaokeoke
P is for product, a present for you
I thank you for coming and please take one with you
Kia ora tatou
In New Zealand, nine species of peripatus belonging to two genera have been described so far and they are distributed throughout the country.
Our photo of the week is this beautiful Powelliphanta snail, a large, air-breathing, carnivorous land snail endemic to New Zealand.
Their shells come in an array of colours and patterns, ranging from hues of red and brown to yellow and black. Their favourite prey is earthworms, but they are also known to eat slugs. Powelliphanta snails are an integral part of New Zealand’s unique fauna, and were as important in evolutionary terms as kiwi, kākāpō or moa.
Predation and habitat loss are the major threats to this species, although their outlook is improving with DOC undertaking work to protect these snails on the West Coast through long-term monitoring, translocation and captive breeding.
This photo that was taken by DOC’s John Mason.