Kiwi (pronounced /kw/) or kiwis are flightless birds native to New Zealand, in the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae. At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites (which also consist of ostriches, emus, rheas, and cassowaries), and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. DNA sequence comparisons have yielded the surprising conclusion that kiwi are much more closely related to the extinct Malagasy elephant birds than to the moa with which they shared New Zealand. There are five recognised species, two of which are currently vulnerable, one of which is endangered, and one of which is critically endangered. All species have been negatively affected by historic deforestation but currently the remaining large areas of their forest habitat are well protected in reserves and national parks. At present, the greatest threat to their survival is predation by invasive mammalian predators.

The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand, and the association is so strong that the term Kiwi is used internationally as the colloquial demonym for New Zealanders.


The Māori language word kiwi (/ˈkw/ kee-wee) is generally accepted to be “of imitative origin” from the call. However, some linguists derive the word from Proto-Nuclear Polynesian *kiwi, which refers to Numenius tahitiensis, the bristle-thighed curlew, a migratory bird that winters in the tropical Pacific islands. With its long decurved bill and brown body, the curlew resembles the kiwi. So when the first Polynesian settlers arrived, they may have applied the word kiwi to the new-found bird. The genus name Apteryx is derived from Ancient Greek “without wing”: a-, “without” or “not”; pterux, “wing”.

Taxonomy and systematics


Clockwise from left: brown kiwi (Apteryx australis), little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii) and great spotted kiwi (Apteryx haastii) at Auckland War Memorial Museum

Although it was long presumed that the kiwi was closely related to the other New Zealand ratites, the moa, recent DNA studies have identified its closest relative as the extinct elephant bird of Madagascar, and among extant ratites, the kiwi is more closely related to the emu and thecassowaries than to the moa.

Research published in 2013 on an extinct genus, Proapteryx, known from the Miocene deposits of the Saint Bathans Fauna, found that it was smaller and probably capable of flight, supporting the hypothesis that the ancestor of the kiwi reached New Zealand independently from moas, which were already large and flightless by the time kiwis appeared.


There are five known species of kiwi, as well as a number of subspecies

  • haastii
  • owenii
  • australis
  • rowi
  • mantelli
  • The largest species is the great spotted kiwi or Roroa, Apteryx haastii, which stands about 45 cm (18 in) high and weighs about 3.3 kg (7.3 lb) (males about 2.4 kg (5.3 lb)). It has grey-brown plumage with lighter bands. The female lays just one egg, which both parents then incubate. Population is estimated to be over 20,000, distributed through the more mountainous parts of northwest Nelson, the northern West Coast, and the Southern Alps.
  • The small little spotted kiwi, Apteryx owenii is unable to withstand predation by introduced pigs, stoats and cats, which have led to its extinction on the mainland. About 1350 remain on Kapiti Island and it has been introduced to other predator-free islands and appears to be becoming established with about 50 ‘Little Spots’ on each island. A docile bird the size of a bantam, it stands 25 cm (9.8 in) high and the female weighs 1.3 kg (2.9 lb). She lays one egg which is incubated by the male.
  • The Okarito kiwi, also known as the rowi or Okarito brown kiwi, Apteryx rowi, first identified as a new species in 1994, is slightly smaller, with a greyish tinge to the plumage and sometimes white facial feathers. Females lay as many as three eggs in a season, each one in a different nest. Male and female both incubate. Distribution of these kiwi are limited to a small area on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. However, studies of ancient DNA have revealed that in prehuman times it was far more widespread up the west coast of the South Island and was present in the lower half of the North Island where it was the only kiwi species detected.
  • The southern brown kiwi, Tokoeka, or Common kiwi, Apteryx australis, relatively common species of kiwi known from south and west parts of the South Island that occurs at most elevations. It is approximately the size of the great spotted kiwi and is similar in appearance to the brown kiwi but its plumage is lighter in colour. Ancient DNA studies have shown that in prehuman times the distribution of this species included the east coast of the South Island. There are several subspecies of the Tokoeka recognised:
    • The Stewart Island southern brown kiwi, Apteryx australis lawryi, is a subspecies of Tokoeka from Stewart Island/Rakiura.
    • The Northern Fiordland southern brown kiwi (Apteryx australis ?) and Southern Fiordland tokoeka (Apteryx australis ?) live in the remote southwest part of the South Island known as Fiordland. These sub-species of tokoeka are relatively common and are nearly 40 cm (16 in) tall.
    • The Haast southern brown kiwi, Haast tokoeka, Apteryx australis ‘Haast’, is the rarest subspecies of kiwi with only about 300 individuals. It was identified as a distinct form in 1993. It occurs only in a restricted area in the South Island’s Haast Range of the Southern Alps at an altitude of 1,500 m (4,900 ft). This form is distinguished by a more strongly downcurved bill and more rufous plumage.
  • The North Island brown kiwi, Apteryx mantelli or Apteryx australis before 2000 (and still in some sources), is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island and, with about 35,000 remaining, is the most common kiwi. Females stand about 40 cm (16 in) high and weigh about 2.8 kg (6.2 lb), the males about 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). The North Island brown has demonstrated a remarkable resilience: it adapts to a wide range of habitats, even non-native forests and some farmland. The plumage is streaky red-brown and spiky. The female usually lays two eggs, which are incubated by the male.


Their adaptation to a terrestrial life is extensive: like all the other ratites (ostrich, emu, rhea and cassowary) they have no keel on the sternum to anchor wing muscles. Thevestigial wings are so small that they are invisible under the bristly, hair-like, two-branched feathers. While most adult birds have bones with hollow insides to minimise weight and make flight practicable, kiwi have marrow, like mammals and the young of other birds. With no constraints on weight due to flight requirements, brown kiwi females carry and lay a single egg which may weigh as much as 450 g (16 oz). Like most other ratites, they have no uropygial gland (preen gland). Their bill is long, pliable and sensitive to touch, and their eyes have a reduced pecten. Their feathers lack barbules and aftershafts, and they have large vibrissae around the gape. They have 13 flight feathers, no tail and a smallpygostyle. Their gizzard is weak and their caecum is long and narrow.

Behaviour and ecology


Relative size of the egg

Before the arrival of humans in the 13th century or earlier, New Zealand’s only endemic mammals were three species of bat, and the ecological niches that in other parts of the world were filled by creatures as diverse as horses, wolves and mice were taken up by birds (and, to a lesser extent, reptiles, insects and gastropods).

Kiwi are shy and usually nocturnal. Their mostly nocturnal habits may be a result of habitat intrusion by predators, including humans. In areas of New Zealand where introduced predators have been removed, such as sanctuaries, kiwi are often seen in daylight. They prefer subtropical and temperate podocarp and beech forests, but they are being forced to adapt to different habitat, such as sub-alpine scrub, tussock grassland, and the mountains. Kiwi have a highly developed sense of smell, unusual in a bird, and are the only birds with nostrils at the end of their long beaks. Kiwi eat small invertebrates, seeds, grubs, and many varieties of worms. They also may eat fruit, small crayfish, eels and amphibians. Because their nostrils are located at the end of their long beaks, kiwi can locate insects and worms underground using their keen sense of smell, without actually seeing or feeling them.

Once bonded, a male and female kiwi tend to live their entire lives as a monogamous couple. During the mating season, June to March, the pair call to each other at night, and meet in the nesting burrow every three days. These relationships may last for up to 20 years. They are unusual among other birds in that along with some raptors, they have a functioning pair of ovaries. (In most birds and in platypuses, the right ovary never matures, so that only the left is functional.) Kiwi eggs can weigh up to one-quarter the weight of the female. Usually only one egg is laid per season. The kiwi lays the biggest egg in proportion to its size of any bird in the world, so even though the kiwi is about the size of a domestic chicken, it is able to lay eggs that are about six times the size of a chicken’s egg. The eggs are smooth in texture, and are ivory or greenish white. The male incubates the egg, except for the Great Spotted Kiwi, A. haastii, in which both parents are involved. The incubation period is 63–92 days. Producing the huge egg places a lot of demands on the female. For the thirty days it takes to grow the fully developed egg the female must eat three times her normal amount of food. Two to three days before the egg is laid there is little space left inside the female for her stomach and she is forced to fast.

Status and conservation

Nationwide studies show that on average only five percent of kiwi chicks survive to adulthood. However, in areas under active pest management, survival rates for North Island brown kiwi can be far higher. For example, prior to a joint 1080 poison operation undertaken by DOC and the Animal Health Board in Tongariro Forest in 2006, 32 kiwi chicks were radio-tagged. 57% of the radio-tagged chicks survived to adulthood. Thanks to ongoing pest control, the adult kiwi population at Tongariro has almost doubled since 1998.


In 2000, the Department of Conservation set up five kiwi sanctuaries focused on developing methods to protect kiwi and to increase their numbers.

There are three kiwi sanctuaries in the North Island:

  • Whangarei Kiwi Sanctuary (for Northland brown kiwi)
  • Moehau Kiwi Sanctuary on the Coromandel Peninsula (Coromandel brown kiwi)
  • Tongariro Kiwi Sanctuary near Taupo (western brown kiwi)
and two in the South Island:

  • Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary (Okarito kiwi)
  • Haast Kiwi Sanctuary (Haast tokoeka)

A number of other mainland conservation islands and fenced sanctuaries have significant populations of kiwi, including:

  • Zealandia fenced sanctuary in Wellington (little spotted kiwi)
  • Maungatautari Restoration Project in Waikato (brown kiwi)
  • Bushy Park Forest Reserve near Kai Iwi, Whanganui (brown kiwi)
  • Otanewainuku Forest in the Bay of Plenty (brown kiwi)
  • Hurunui Mainland Island, south branch, Hurunui River, North Canterbury (great spotted kiwi)

North island brown kiwi were introduced to the Cape Sanctuary in Hawke’s Bay between 2008 and 2011, which in turn provided captive-raised chicks that were released back into Maungataniwha Native Forest.

Operation “Nest Egg”

Operation Nest Egg is a programme run by the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust—a partnership between the Bank of New Zealand, the Department of Conservation and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society. Kiwi eggs and chicks are removed from the wild and hatched and/or raised in captivity until big enough to fend for themselves—usually when they weigh around 1200 grams (42 ounces). They are then returned to the wild. An Operation Nest Egg bird has a 65% chance of surviving to adulthood—compared to just 5% for wild-hatched and raised chicks. The tool is used on all kiwi species except little spotted kiwi.

1080 poison

Main article: 1080 usage in New Zealand

In 2004, anti-1080 activist Phillip Anderton posed for the New Zealand media with a kiwi he claimed had been poisoned. An investigation revealed that Anderton lied to journalists and the public. He had used a kiwi that had been caught in a possum trap. Extensive monitoring shows kiwi are not at risk from the use of biodegradable 1080 poison.


Introduced mammalian predators, namely stoats, dogs, ferrets, and cats, are the number one threat to kiwi. Other threats include habitat modification/loss and motor vehicle strike. The restricted distribution and small size of some kiwi populations increases their vulnerability to inbreeding.

Stoats are responsible for approximately half of kiwi chick deaths in many areas through New Zealand. Cats also to a lesser extent prey on kiwi chicks. Research has shown that the combined effect of predators and other mortality (accidents etc.) results in less than 5% of kiwi chicks surviving to adulthood. Young kiwi chicks are vulnerable to stoat predation until they reach about 1–1.2 kg in weight, at which time they can usually defend themselves.

Ferrets and dogs often kill adult kiwi. These predators can cause large and abrupt declines in populations. In particular, dogs find the strong distinctive scent of kiwi irresistible and easy to track, such that they can catch and kill kiwi in seconds. Motor vehicle strike is a threat to all kiwi where roads cross through their habitat. Badly set possum traps often kill or maim kiwi.

Relationship to humans


Detail of the bottom edge of a kahu kiwi, showing the distinctive hair-like nature of the kiwi feathers.

The Māori traditionally believed that kiwi were under the protection of Tane Mahuta, god of the forest. They were used as food and their feathers were used for kahu kiwi—ceremonial cloaks. Today, while kiwi feathers are still used, they are gathered from birds that die naturally or through road accidents or predation, or from captive birds. Kiwi are no longer hunted and some Maori consider themselves the birds’ guardians.

Scientific documentation

The first kiwi specimen to be studied by Europeans was a kiwi skin brought to George Shaw by Captain Andrew Barclay aboard the shipProvidence, who was reported to have been given it by a sealer in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) around 1811. George Shaw gave the bird its scientific name and drew sketches of the way he imagined a live bird to look which appeared as plates 1057 and 1058 in volume 24 of The Naturalist’s Miscellany in 1813.


In 1851, London Zoo became the first zoo to keep kiwi. The first captive breeding took place in 1945. As of 2007 only 13 zoos outside New Zealand hold kiwi. The Frankfurt Zoo has 12, the Berlin Zoo has seven, Walsrode Bird Park has one, the Washington Zoo has three, theAvifauna Bird Park in the Netherlands has three, the San Diego Zoo has five, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has one, the National Zoo in Washington, DC has five, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has one, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has three.

As a national symbol


The kiwi on an 1898 New Zealand stamp

The kiwi as a symbol first appeared in the late 19th century in New Zealand regimental badges. It was later featured in the badges of the South Canterbury Battalion in 1886 and the Hastings Rifle Volunteers in 1887. Soon after, the kiwi appeared in many military badges, and in 1906 when Kiwi Shoe Polish was widely sold in the UK and the US the symbol became more widely known.

During the First World War, the name “kiwi” for New Zealand soldiers came into general use, and a giant kiwi (now known as the Bulford kiwi), was carved on the chalk hill above Sling Camp in England. Use has now spread so that now all New Zealanders overseas and at home are commonly referred to as “Kiwis”.

The kiwi has since become the most well-known national symbol for New Zealand, and the bird is prominent in the coat of arms, crests and badges of many New Zealand cities, clubs and organisations; at the national level, the red silhouette of a kiwi is in the centre of the roundel of theRoyal New Zealand Air Force. The kiwi is featured in the logo of the New Zealand Rugby League, and the New Zealand national rugby league team are nicknamed the Kiwis.

The reverse of a New Zealand dollar coin contains an image of a kiwi, and in currency trading the New Zealand dollar is often referred to as “the kiwi”

October 19, 2015 / by / in

A possum (plural form: possums) is any of about 70 small- to medium-sized arboreal marsupial species native to Australia, New Guinea, and Sulawesi (and introduced to New Zealand and China). The name derives from their resemblance to the opossums of the Americas(the name is from Algonquian wapathemwa, not Greek or Latin, so the plural is possums, not possa or possi).

Possums are quadrupedal diprotodont marsupials with long tails. The smallest possum, indeed the smallest diprotodont marsupial, is theTasmanian pygmy possum, with an adult head-body length of 70 mm (2 34 in) and a weight of 10 g (38 oz). The largest are the two species of bear cuscus which may exceed 7 kg (15 lb 7 oz). Possums are typically nocturnal and at least partially arboreal. The various species inhabit most vegetated habitats, and several species have adjusted well to urban settings. Diets range from generalist herbivoresor omnivores (the common brushtail possum) to specialist browsers of eucalyptus (greater glider), insectivores (mountain pygmy possum) and nectar-feeders (honey possum).


Threat to native plants and species


Possum damage on Mamaku, Pirongia Forest Park

The common brushtail possum was introduced to New Zealand by European settlers in an attempt to establish a fur industry. There are no native predators of the possum in New Zealand, so its numbers in New Zealand have risen to the point where it is considered a serious pest. Numerous attempts to eradicate them have been made because of the damage they do to native trees and wildlife, as well as acting as a carrier of bovine tuberculosis. By 2009, these measures had reduced the possum numbers to less than half of the 1980s levels – from around 70 million to around 30 million animals.

Since 1996, possum fur, obtained from about two million wild-caught possums per year, has been used in clothing with blends of fine merino wool with brushtail possum fur – variously known as Ecopossum, Merinosilk, Merinomink, possumdown, eco fur or possum wool. Possum fur is also used for fur trim, jackets, bed throws, and possum leather gloves.

The damage to native forests can be seen all too clearly in many areas. Possums ignore old leaves and select the best new growth. In some areas they have eaten whole canopies of rata, totara, titoki, kowhai and kohekohe.

Possums compete with native birds for habitat and for food such as insects and berries. They also disturb nesting birds, eat their eggs and chicks and may impact on native land snails.

Dairy and deer farmers have the added worry of possums spreading bovine tuberculosis.

Possums are a nuisance in suburban gardens, and sometimes even indoors.

DOC’s work

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is charged with the care of New Zealand’s native plants and wildlife. Possums are a threat to these values and in fact, the survival of whole ecosystems is affected by the possum.

DOC commits resources to possum control at priority sites to ensure long-term survival of species and the ecosystems that support them.

View videos:

Signs that possums are present

Tracks (‘pads’ or ‘runs’) are often most evident where possums emerge from forests to feed on pasture. They are also visible in forests when possum numbers are high.

Frequently used trees show extensive surface scratches. Bark biting, usually a series of horizontal scars, can be seen on a variety of native and introduced trees and shrubs. Often the same trunk, marked repeatedly, becomes heavily scarred.

Faecal pellets are usually about 15-30 mm long, 5-14 mm wide, crescent shaped slightly pointed at the ends and found singly or in groups; colour and texture vary with diet. Leaves browsed by possums have torn rather than cut edges, with the midrib and lower part of the leaf often partly remaining, unlike insect browse.

Possums are distinctive feeders, leaving the ground littered with broken branches, discarded leaves, or partly eaten fruits of native plants.

Dark brown urine trails may be seen, particularly if possums have been feeding on kamahi or five-finger, both of which stain the urine.

Control methods

Hunting/shooting, trapping and poisoning are the main methods of control for possums.


If you are planning a pest control operation enrol for the Animal Pest Control Methods field based course.

The course provides an overview of animal pests, their impacts and control methods (including the principles these are based on, and the task specifications DOC has developed).

The course covers all the legal requirements for animal welfare and handling toxins. Working within the law is vital to allow pest control agencies and community groups continued access to the full suite of animal pest control methods.

In particular, it describes the control methods most commonly used in DOC, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Monitoring your control

All operations require monitoring below are examples of methods used.

Residual trap catch index

A method for estimating possum abundance based on sampling populations by means of traps.

Wax tags

A method for estimating possum abundance based on sampling populations by means of interference with “wax tags” (scented ice-cube sized wax blocks).

Possum management in New Zealand

The National Possum Control Agencies (NPCA) was established in the early 1990s to co-ordinate strategic planning, standardise quality control and provide training and information exchange between agencies for possum control.

The member agencies of the NPCA are:

  • TBfree New Zealand (formerly the Animal Health Board) is charged with eradication of bovine tuberculosis in farmed cattle and deer. To do this, it needs to control possums, which carry the disease in the wild and re-infect herds of animals adjacent to bush pasture margins.
  • Regional councils have biosecurity obligations to control possums for animal health and conservation priorities. Councils are actively involved in possum control in urban and rural areas to reduce the spread of TB and to protect forestry and conservation values.
  • Department of Conservation  is charged with the care of New Zealand’s native plants and wildlife. Possums are a threat to these values and in fact, the survival of whole ecosystems is affected by the possum. It commits resources to possum control at priority sites to ensure long term survival of species and the ecosystems that support them.
  • Ministry for Primary Industries is the government agency that has overall responsibility for biosecurity issues. Possums are a threat to New Zealand’s export potential because of the disease threat that possums pose. MPI keeps a close eye on all aspects of control operations.
October 19, 2015 / by / in
New Zealand Pigeon Kererū

The New Zealand pigeon or kererū (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) is a bird endemic to New Zealand. Māori call it kererū in most of the country but kūkupa and kūkū in some parts of the North Island, particularly in Northland. Commonly called wood pigeon, they are distinct from the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) of the Northern Hemisphere, which is a member of a different genus.

The New Zealand pigeon belongs to the family Columbidae, and the subfamily Treroninae, which is found throughout Southeast Asia,Malaya, Africa and New Zealand. The members of this subfamily feed largely on fruits, mainly drupes. New Zealand pigeons are members of the pigeon genus Hemiphaga (Bonaparte, 1854), which is endemic to the New Zealand archipelago and Norfolk Island. However recently a Hemiphaga bone was found on Raoul Island. The Chatham pigeon or Chatham Island pigeon (Hemiphaga chathamensis) is traditionally considered a subspecies of the kererū, but is here treated as a separate species.



Closeup of head showing iridescent feather colours, Kapiti Island

The New Zealand pigeon is a large, 550–850 grams (19–30 oz), arboreal fruit-pigeon found in forests from Northland to Stewart Island/Rakiura, ranging in habitats from coastal to montane. The general morphology is that of a typical pigeon, in that it has a relatively small head, a straight soft-based bill and loosely attached feathers. It also displays typical pigeon behaviour, which includes drinking by suction, a wing-threat display, hitting with the wing when threatened, a diving display flight, a ‘bowing’ display, ritualised preening and ‘billing’ during courtship. New Zealand pigeons build flimsy, shallow, twiggy nests and feed crop milk to hatchlings.

The mainland New Zealand pigeon grows to some 51 centimetres (20 in) in length and 650 grams (23 oz) in weight, compared to 55 centimetres (22 in) and 800 grams (28 oz) for the Chatham Island variant. The head, throat and wings are generally a shiny green-purple colour, but with a bronze tinge to the feathers. The breast is typically white and the bill red with an orange-ish tip. The feet and eyes are red. Juveniles have a similar colouration but are generally paler with dull colours for the beak, eyes and feet and a shorter tail.

The New Zealand pigeons make occasional soft coo sounds (hence the onomatopoeic names), and their wings make a very distinctive “whooshing” sound as they fly. The bird’s flight is also very distinctive. Birds will often ascend slowly before making impressively steep parabolic dives; it is thought that this behaviour is often associated with nesting, or nest failure.


As generally accepted, there are three subspecies of New Zealand pigeon; of these, only two survive: H. n. novaseelandiae of mainland New Zealand and H. n. chathamensis of the Chatham Islands. The other subspecies, Norfolk pigeon (H. n. spadicea) of Norfolk Island, is now extinct. The subspecies differ in their plumage colour and physical morphology.

In 2001, it was proposed that H. n. chathamensis, the Chatham pigeon, was distinct enough to be raised to full species status, H. chathamensis, instead of the traditional subspecies status, H. n. chathamensis. Few authorities outside New Zealand have followed this, with most still considering it a subspecies. 



220px-Kereru_(New_Zealand_Wood_Pigeon)New Zealand pigeons were once the major dispersers of the seeds of cabbage trees. They eat the small white seeds in autumn and winter

The New Zealand pigeons are commonly regarded as frugivorous, primarily eating fruits from native trees. They play an important ecological role, as they are the only birds capable of eating the largest native fruits and drupes (those with smallest diameter greater than 1 cm), such as those of the taraire, and thus spreading the seeds intact. While fruit comprises the major part of their diets, the New Zealand pigeon also browses on leaves and buds, especially nitrogen rich foliage during breeding.

One of their favourite leaves to eat is from an introduced plant, the common plum tree. The diet changes seasonally as the availability of fruit changes, and leaves can comprise the major part of the diet at certain times of the year, such as when there is little fruit around.


Breeding generally depends on the availability of ripe fruit, which varies seasonally, annually (good years and bad years), and by location. New Zealand pigeons, like other frugivorous pigeons, feed on many species with tropical affinities, including the Lauraceae and Arecaceae which abound in the essentially subtropical forests of northern New Zealand. They also feed on podocarp species, thought to be relics of the flora of Gondwana, such as miro (Prumnopitys ferruginea) and kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides). In the warmer northern half of the North Island, pigeons can nest all year round, except when moulting between March and May, provided enough fruit is available. Further south fewer subtropical tree species grow and in these areas breeding usually occurs between October (early spring) and April (late summer/early autumn), again depending on fruit availability.

New Zealand pigeons nest in trees, laying a single egg, in a flimsy nest constructed of a few twigs thrown together. The egg is incubated for 28–29 days and the young bird takes another 30–45 days to fledge. In seasons of plentiful fruit the pigeons can successfully nest up to four times.

Distribution and conservation


The extinct Norfolk pigeon(H. n. spadicea)

The population of the New Zealand pigeon declined considerably after the arrival of humans in New Zealand, and this trend continues, especially in the North Island, but they are still relatively common in the west of the South Island and in coastal Otago. They are commonly found in native laurel forests (lowlands in particular), scrub, rural and city gardens and parks.

The introduced Australian common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and introduced species of rats — mainly the ship or black rat (Rattus rattus) but also the kiore or Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans) and brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) — have significantly reduced the amount of fruit available for pigeons and other native birds and also prey on eggs and nestlings.

Pigeon populations are also under threat from hunting, habitat degradation and poor reproductive success. Pigeons were very numerous until about the 1860s and large flocks used to congregate in fruiting trees to feed. Restrictions on the shooting of pigeons were enacted as early as 1864, with total protection since 1921, although the enforcement against hunting was not consistent. Some Māori protested, claiming a traditional right to hunt the pigeon. 

The bird is protected under the Wildlife Act and there have been prosecutions for shooting it.

October 19, 2015 / by / in
List of non-marine molluscs of New Zealand

Systematic list

Freshwater Gastropoda

Species of freswater Gastropoda of New Zealand include:

Latiidae – only one genus Latia is endemic to the North Island

  • Latia climoi Starobogatov, 1986 – type species
  • Latia lateralis (Gould, 1852)
  • Latia neritoides Gray, 1850



  • Planorbis kahuica

Land gastropods


  • Omphalorissa purchasi (Pfeiffer, 1862)


  • Placostylus ambagiosus


  • Cytora ampla
  • Cytora annectens
  • Cytora aranea
  • Cytora calva
  • Cytora chiltoni
  • Cytora cytora
  • Cytora depressa
  • Cytora fasciata
  • Cytora filicosta
  • Cytora hedleyi
  • Cytora hirsutissima
  • Cytora hispida
  • Cytora kiama
  • Cytora lignaria
  • Cytora pallida
  • Cytora pannosa
  • Cytora septentrionale
  • Cytora solitaria
  • Cytora tekakiensis
  • Cytora torquilla
  • Liarea aupouriaLiarea aupouria aupouria and Liarea aupouria tara
  • Liarea bicarinata
  • Liarea egeaLiarea egea egea and Liarea egea tessellata
  • Liarea hochstetteriLiarea hochstetteri altaLiarea hochstetteri carinella and Liarea hochstetteri hochstetteri
  • Liarea lepida
  • Liarea ornata
  • Liarea turriculataLiarea turriculata partulaLiarea turriculata turriculata and Liarea turriculata waipoua


  • Paryphanta busbyi
  • Paryphanta watti
  • Powelliphanta spp. – all species of the genus Powelliphanta are endemic to New Zealand
  • Rhytida spp. – all species of the genus Rhytida are endemic to New Zealand
  • Schizoglossa spp. – all species of the genus Schizoglossa are endemic to New Zealand
  • Wainuia spp. – all species of the genus Wainuia are endemic to New Zealand

Charopidae, Otoconchinae

  • Otoconcha dimidiata




  • Cucumerunio websteri (Simpson, 1902)
February 27, 2014 / by / in
List of extinct animals of New Zealand

This is an incomplete list of extinct animals of New Zealand. This list covers only extinctions from the Holocene epoch.


Bats, and a recently discovered extinct mouse-sized creature, are the only land mammals known to have inhabited New Zealand until the arrival of humans. Fossil marine mammals have been found. New Zealand now has two surviving species of endemic bat.

Common NameScientific Name Extinction Date Range Image
Greater Short-tailed Bat

Mystacina robusta

1965 New Zealand


Extinctions since mid-19th-century European settlement

Common NameScientific Name Extinction Date Range Image
Auckland Islands Merganser

Mergus australis

January 9, 1902 New Zealand (Auckland Islands) Auckland Islands Merganser
Auckland Islands Shore Plover

Thinornis rossi

1840 New Zealand (Auckland Islands) Auckland Islands Shore Plover
Bush Wren

Xenicus longipes

1972 New Zealand Bush Wren
Chatham Bellbird

Anthornis melanocephala

1906 New Zealand (Chatham Islands) Chatham Bellbird
Chatham Fernbird

Bowdleria rufescens

1895 New Zealand (Chatham Islands) Chatham Fernbird
Chatham Islands Penguin

Eudyptes chathamensis

1872? New Zealand (Chatham Islands)
Chatham Islands Rail

Cabalus modestus

1900 New Zealand (Chatham Islands) Chatham Islands Rail
Dieffenbach’s Rail

Gallirallus dieffenbachii

1872 New Zealand (Chatham Islands) Dieffenbach's Rail
Hawkins’s Rail

Diaphorapteryx hawkinsi

late 1800s New Zealand (Chatham Islands)

Heteralocha acutirostris

December 28, 1907 New Zealand Huia
Laughing Owl

Sceloglaux albifacies

July 5, 1914 New Zealand Laughing Owl
Mysterious Starling

Aplonis mavornata

1774 New Zealand (Cook Islands)
New Zealand Little Bittern

Ixobrychus novaezelandiae

1872 New Zealand New Zealand Little Bittern
New Zealand Quail

Coturnix novaezelandidae

1875 New Zealand New Zealand Quail
North Island Piopio

Turnagra tanagra

1900 New Zealand (North Island) North Island Piopio (front)
North Island Snipe

Coenocorypha barrierensis

1870 New Zealand (North Island) North Island Snipe
North Island Takahē

Porphyrio mantelli

1894? New Zealand (North Island)
South Island Kokako

Callaeas cinerea cinerea

Unknown New Zealand (South Island) The Orange-wattled South Island Kokako
South Island Piopio

Turnagra capensis

1963 New Zealand (South Island) South Island Piopio (rear)
South Island Snipe

Coenocorypha iredalei

1960s New Zealand (South Island)
Stephens Island Wren

Xenicus lyalli

1894 New Zealand Stephens Island Wren

Extinctions since 14th century Māori settlement

Common NameScientific Name Extinction Date Range Image

Aptornis defossor and Aptornis otidiformis

1500s New Zealand Adzebill
Bush Moa

Anomalopteryx didiformis

1400s New Zealand Bush Moa
Chatham Islands Duck

Pachyanas chathamica

1600s New Zealand (Chatham Islands)
Chatham Raven

Corvus moriorum

Unknown New Zealand (Chatham Islands)
Coastal Moa

Euryapteryx curtus

1500s New Zealand Coastal Moa
Crested Moa

Pachyornis australis

1850s New Zealand (South Island)
Eastern Moa

Emeus crassus

1500s New Zealand (South Island) Eastern Moa
Eyles’ Harrier

Circus eylesi

Unknown New Zealand
Finsch’s Duck

Chenonetta finschi

1870? New Zealand
Giant Moa

Dinornis sp.

1500s New Zealand Giant Moa
Haast’s Eagle

Harpagornis moorei

1500s New Zealand (South Island) Haast's Eagle (Upper Left)
Heavy-footed Moa

Pachyornis elephantopus

1500s New Zealand (South Island) Heavy-footed Moa
Hodgen’s Waterhen

Gallinula hodgenorum

1500s New Zealand
Long-billed Wren

Dendroscansor decurvirostris

Unknown New Zealand (South Island)
New Zealand Geese

Cnemiornis calcitrans and Cnemiornis gracilis

1500s New Zealand Cnemiornis calcitrans
New Zealand Raven

Corvus antipodum

1500s New Zealand
New Zealand Musk Duck

Biziura delautouri

1500s New Zealand
New Zealand Owlet-nightjar

Aegotheles novazelandiae

1200s New Zealand
New Zealand Swan

Cygnus atratus sumnerensis

1500s New Zealand (South Island and Chatham Islands)
Scarlett’s Duck

Malacorhynchus scarletti

1500s New Zealand
Scarlett’s Shearwater

Puffinus spelaeus

1200s New Zealand (South Island)

Capellirallus karamu

1200s New Zealand (North Island)
Stout-legged Wren

Pachyplichas yaldwyni

1000s New Zealand
Upland Moa

Megalapteryx didinus

1500s New Zealand (South Island) Upland Moa
Waitaha penguin

Megadyptes waitaha

1300s [2] New Zealand


  • Kawekaweau, Hoplodactylus delcourti[3] 1870, New Zealand
  • Narrow-bodied Skink, Oligosoma gracilicorpus[4] 1955, New Zealand (North Island)
  • Northland Skink, Cyclodina northlandi Late Holocene), New Zealand


  • Aurora frog, Leiopelma auroraensis
  • Markham’s frog, Leiopelma markhami
  • Waitomo frog, Leiopelma waitomoensis


Common NameScientific Name Extinction Date Range Image
New Zealand Grayling

Prototroctes oxyrhynchus[5]

1930s New Zealand New Zealand Grayling


  • Mecodema punctellum[6] 1931, New Zealand (Stephen Islands)


Placostylus ambagiosus priscus

  • Placostylus ambagiosus gardneri Land snail, Recent
  • Placostylus ambagiosus hinemoa Land snail, Recent
  • Placostylus ambagiosus lesleyae Land snail, Recent
  • Placostylus ambagiosus priscus Land snail, Recent
  • Placostylus ambagiosus spiritus Land snail, Recent
  • Placostylus ambagiosus worthyi Land snail, Recent


  1. O’Donnell, C. (2008). “”Mystacina robusta (New Zealand Greater Short-tailed Bat)””. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  2. Fox, Rebecca (20 November 2008). “Ancient species of penguin found in DNA of bones”. Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  3. World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1996). “”Hoplodactylus delcourti””. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  4. Australasian Reptile & Amphibian Specialist Group (1996). “”Oligosoma gracilicorpus (Narrow-bodied Skink)””. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved December 25, 2013.
  5. World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1996). “”Prototroctes oxyrhynchus (New Zealand Grayling)””. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2.International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  6. World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1996). “”Mecodema punctellum””. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  • Bell, B.D. 1994. A review of the status of New Zealand Leiopelma species (Anura: Leiopelmatidae), including a summary of demographic studies in Coromandel and on Maud Island. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, Vol. 21: 341–349.
  • Bunce, M., Worthy, T.H., Ford, T., Hoppitt, W., Willerslev, E., Drummond A., and Cooper, A. 2003. Extreme reversed sexual size dimorphism in the extinct New Zealand moa Dinornis. Nature, 425:172–175.
  • Cooper, A., Lalueza-Fox, C., Anderson, C., Rambaut, A., Austin, J., and Ward, R. 2001. Complete mitochondrial genome sequences of two extinct moas clarify ratite evolution. Nature 409:704–707.
  • Day, D., 1981, The Doomsday Book of Animals, Ebury Press, London.
  • Gill, B.; Martinson, P., (1991) New Zealand’s Extinct Birds, Random Century New Zealand Ltd.
  • Gill, B. J. 2003. Osteometry and systematics of the extinct New Zealand ravens (Aves: Corvidae: Corvus). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 1: 43–58.
  • Flannery, T., and Schouten, P., 2001, A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World’s Extinct Animals, William Heinemann, London. ISBN 0-434-00819-2 (UK edition).
  • Fuller, E., 2001, Extinct Birds, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-253-34034-9 (UK Edition).
  • Holdaway, Richard N., Worthy, Trevor H. and Tennyson, Alan J. D. 2001. A working list of breeding bird species of the New Zealand region at first human contact, New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 28:119–187.
  • Huynen, L., Millar, C.D., Scofield, R.P., and Lambert, D.M. 2003. Nuclear DNA sequences detect species limits in ancient moa. Nature, 425:175–178.
  • Perkins, S. 2003. Three Species No Moa? Fossil DNA analysis yields surprise. Science News, 164:84.
  • Philip R. Millener & T. H. Worthy (1991). “Contribution to New Zealand’s late Quaternary avifauna. II: Dendroscansor decurvirostris, a new genus and species of wren (Aves: Acantisittidae).” Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 21, 2: 179–200.
  • Philip R. Millener (1988). “Contributions to New Zealand’s late Quaternary avifauna. I: Pachyplichas, a new genus of wren (Aves: Acanthisittidae), with two new species.” Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 18:383–406
  • Wilson, K-J, (2004) Flight of the Huia, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch. ISBN 0-908812-52-3
  • World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1996. Karocolens tuberculatus. In: IUCN 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 2 March 2006.
  • World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1996. Mecodema punctellum. In: IUCN 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 2 March 2006.
  • Worthy, T.H. 1998. The Quaternary fossil avifauna of Southland, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of The Royal Society of New Zealand. Volume 28, Number 4, pp 537–589.
  • Worthy, T.H., Holdaway R.N., 2002, The lost world of the Moa: Prehistoric Life of New Zealand, Indiana University Press, Bloomington. ISBN 0-253-34034-9.
  • Worthy, T.H., et al. 2006, Miocene mammal reveals a Mesozoic ghost lineage on insular New Zealand, southwest Pacific. 103 PNAS 19419-19423.
February 27, 2014 / by / in
List of marine molluscs of New Zealand

This is a list of the marine molluscs of the country of New Zealand, which are a part of the molluscan fauna of New Zealand, which is a part of the biodiversity of New Zealand.

Marine molluscs include saltwater snails, clams and other classes of Mollusca. This list does not include the land and freshwater species.


  • Proneomenia quincarinata



  • Acanthochitona thileniusi
  • Acanthochitona zelandica
  • Craspedochiton rubiginosus – Craspedochiton rubiginosus rubiginosusCraspedochiton rubiginosus oliveri
  • Cryptoconchus porosus
  • Notoplax aupouria
  • Notoplax cuneata
  • Notoplax facilis
  • Notoplax latalamina
  • Notoplax mariae
  • Notoplax violacea
  • Notoplax websteri


  • Aerilamma murdochi
  • Diaphoroplax biramosus
  • Frembleya egregia
  • Guildingia obtecta
  • Maorichiton caelatus
  • Maorichiton schauinslandi
  • Plaxiphora australis


  • Callochiton crocinus
  • Callochiton empleurus
  • Callochiton kapitiensis
  • Callochiton mortenseni


  • Chiton glaucus
  • Onithochiton marmoratus
  • Onithochiton neglectus – Onithochiton neglectus neglectusOnithochiton neglectus opiniosusOnithochiton neglectus subantarcticus
  • Rhyssoplax aerea – Rhyssoplax aerea aereaRhyssoplax aerea huttoni
  • Rhyssoplax canaliculata
  • Rhyssoplax chathamensis
  • Rhyssoplax clavata
  • Rhyssoplax stangeri
  • Rhyssoplax suteri
  • Sypharochiton pelliserpentis
  • Sypharochiton sinclairi
  • Sypharochiton torri


  • Eudoxochiton nobilis


  • Ischnochiton circumvallatus
  • Ischnochiton granulifer
  • Ischnochiton luteoroseus
  • Ischnochiton maorianus


  • Lepidopleurus finlayi
  • Lepidopleurus inquinatus
  • Lepidopleurus otagoensis


  • Lorica haurakiensis



  • Onchidella nigricans


  • Babakina caprinsulensis


  • Calliostoma selectum
  • Selastele onustum


  • Littorina unifasciata antipodum


  • Alvinia gallinacea
  • Alvinia gradatoides


  • Fossarina rimata
  • Herpetopoma bella
  • Herpetopoma benthicola
  • Herpetopoma larocheiHerpetopoma larochei larocheiHerpetopoma larochei alacerrima
  • Herpetopoma mariae
  • Homalopoma crassicostata
  • Homalopoma fluctuata
  • Homalopoma imperforata
  • Homalopoma micans
  • Homalopoma nana
  • Homalopoma rotella
  • Homalopoma umbilicata
  • Homalopoma variecostata


  • Fissurisepta festiva
  • Monodilepas diemenensis
  • Monodilepas otagoensis
  • Scutus breviculus Blainville, 1817


  • Funiscala maxwelli
  • Murdochella alacer


  • Cymatium parthenopeum
  • Fusitriton retiolus
  • Ranella olearium (Linnaeus, 1758)


  • Hipponix conicus wyattae


  • Benhamina obliquata


  • Okadaia cinnabareus



  • Gigantidas gladius



  • Cadulus colubridens
  • Cadulus delicatulus
  • Cadulus teliger


  • Dentalium diarrhox
  • Dentalium ecostatum
  • Dentalium glaucarena
  • Dentalium nanum
  • Dentalium suteri
  • Dentalium tiwhana
  • Dentalium zelandicum



  • Iridoteuthis maoria


  • Argonauta nodosa – Knobby argonaut


  • Sepioloidea pacifica Pacific Bobtail Squid


  • Histioteuthis reversa – Reverse Jewell Squid


  • Spirula spirula
February 27, 2014 / by / in
Invasive species in New Zealand

A number of introduced species, some of which have become invasive species, have been added to New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. Both deliberate and accidental introductions have been made from the time of the first human settlement, with several waves of Polynesian people at some time before the year 1300, followed by Europeans after 1769. Almost without exception, the introduced species have been detrimental to the native flora and fauna but some, such as sheep and cows and the clover upon which they feed, now form a large part of the economy of New Zealand. Registers, lists and indexes of species that are invasive, potentially invasive, or a threat to agriculture or biodiversity are maintained by Biosecurity New Zealand.

A small number of invasive species of New Zealand origin are creating problems in other countries.

Some of the better-known invasive animal species are:


  • Cat
  • Chamois
  • Deer
  • Ferret
  • Goat
  • European hedgehog
  • Horse
  • House mouse
  • Pig
  • Common brushtail possum
  • Rabbit
  • Rat
  • Stoat
  • Himalayan tahr
  • Wallaby
  • Weasel


  • Canada Geese
  • Magpies


  • German wasp
  • Common wasp
  • Asian paper wasp
  • Varroa destructor
  • Sea squirt


  • Grass carp
  • Gambusia
  • Rudd
  • Catfish
  • Trout

Plant species

The National Pest Plant Accord, with a listing of about 120 genus, species, hybrids and subspecies, was developed to limit the spread of plant pests. Invasive plants are classified as such on a regional basis with some plants declared as national plant pests. The Department of Conservation also lists 328 vascular plant species as environmental weeds.

Some of the better-known invasive plant species are:

  • Acacia species (mostly Australian) especially wattle
  • Acanthus – Bears Britches
  • Arundo donax – Giant Reed (or Elephant Grass)
  • Banana passionfruit
  • Darwin’s Barberry
  • Blackberry
  • Boneseed
  • Broom
  • Californian thistle
  • Cape Tulip
  • Asparagus scandens – Climbing Asparagus
  • Didymosphenia geminata (“didymo” or “rock snot”)
  • Japanese Honeysuckle
  • Jasminum polyanthum – Jasmine
  • Gorse
  • Heather
  • Kahili Ginger
  • Lagarosiphon major (oxygen weed)
  • Lodgepole Pine
  • Loquat
  • Lupin
  • Mexican daisy
  • Ageratina adenophora – Mexican devil
  • Mistflower
  • Morning glory – convolvulous
  • Moth plant
  • Egeria (oxygen weed)
  • Old man’s beard
  • Pampas grass
  • Privet – Tree Privet and Chinese Privet
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Queen of the Night
  • Ragwort
  • Rhamnus alaternus
  • Rhododendron ponticum
  • Schinus terebinthifolius – Christmasberry
  • Scotch thistle
  • Wandering Jew
  • Willow – Crack willow and Gray Willow
  • Yellow flag

The city of Auckland has been declared to be the weediest city in the world.

Credit: Wikipedia

February 18, 2014 / by / in
Introduced species

An introducedalienexoticnon-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its native distributional range, which has arrived there by human activity, either deliberate or accidental. Non-native species can have a variety of effects on the local ecosystem. Introduced species that have a negative effect on a local ecosystem are also known asinvasive species. Not all non-native species are considered invasive. Some have no negative effect and can, in fact, be beneficial as an alternative to pesticides in agriculture for example. In some instances the potential for being beneficial or detrimental in the long run remains unknown, for instance in New Zealand. A list of introduced species is given in a separate article.

The effect of introduced species on natural environments is a controversial subject, and one that has gained much scrutiny by scientists, governments, farmers and others. Not all introduced species are problematic. Those species that spread widely and create significant problems are known as invasive species.


The terminology associated with introduced species is now in flux for various reasons. Other terms that are used sometimes interchangeably (having the same or similar meanings) with introduced are acclimatizedadventivenaturalizedimmigrant, and xenobiotic. Nonetheless, distinctions can and should be made between some of these terms.

In the broadest and most widely used sense, an introduced species is synonymous with non-native and therefore applies as well to most garden and farm organisms; these adequately fit the basic definition given above. However, some sources add to that basic definition: “…and are now reproducing in the wild”, which removes from consideration asintroduced all of those species raised or grown in gardens or farms that do not survive without tending by people. With respect to plants, these latter are in this case defined as eitherornamental or cultivated plants.

The following definition from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, although perhaps lacking ecological sophistication, is more typical: introduced species are ..”species that have become able to survive and reproduce outside the habitats where they evolved or spread naturally”. However, introduction of a species outside its native range is often all that is required to be qualified as an “introduced species” such that one can distinguish between introduced species that may only occur in cultivation, under domestication or captivity whereas other become established outside their native range and reproduce without human assistance. Such species might be termed “naturalized”, “established”, “wild non-native species”, or “invasive”. The transition from introduction, to establishment and invasion has been described by in the context of plants. Introduced species are essentially “non-native” species. Invasive species are those introduced species that spread-widely or quickly, and cause harm, be that to the environment, human health, other valued resources or the economy. There have been calls from scientists to consider a species “invasive” only in terms of their spread and reproduction rather than the harm they may cause.

An invasive species is one that has been introduced and become a pest in its new location, spreading (invading) by natural means. The term is used to imply both a sense of urgency and actual or potential harm. For example, U.S. Executive Order 13112 (1999) defines “invasive species” as “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health”.

Although some argue that “invasive” is a loaded word and harm is difficult to define, the fact of the matter is that organisms have and continue to be introduced to areas where they are not native, sometimes with, usually without, much regard to the harm that could result.

From a regulatory perspective, it is neither desirable nor practical to simply list as undesirable or outright ban all non-native species (although the State of Hawaii has adopted an approach that comes close to this). Regulations require a definitional distinction between non-natives that are deemed especially onerous and all others. Introduced pest species that are officially listed as invasive, best fit the definition of an invasive species. Early detection and rapid response is the most effective strategy for regulating a pest species and reducing economic and environmental impacts of an introduction

In Great Britain the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prevents the introduction of any animal not naturally occurring in the wild, and also any of a list of both animals or plants which have been introduced previously and have proved to be invasive.

Nature of introductions

By definition, a species is considered “introduced” when its transport into an area outside of its native range is human mediated. Introductions by humans can be described as either intentional or accidental. Intentional introductions have been motivated by individuals or groups who either (1) believe that the newly introduced species will be in some way beneficial to humans in its new location or, (2) as is the case with pythons in the Everglades, species are introduced intentionally but with no regard to the potential impact. Unintentional or accidental introductions are most often a byproduct of human movements, and are thus unbound to human motivations. Subsequent range expansion of introduced species may or may not involve human activity.

Intentional introductions

Species that humans intentionally transport to new regions can subsequently become successfully established in two ways. In the first case, organisms are purposely released for establishment in the wild. It is sometimes difficult to predict whether a species will become established upon release, and if not initially successful, humans have made repeated introductions to improve the probability that the species will survive and eventually reproduce in the wild. In these cases it is clear that the introduction is directly facilitated by human desires.

In the second case, species intentionally transported into a new region may escape from captive or cultivated populations and subsequently establish independent breeding populations. Escaped organisms are included in this category because their initial transport to a new region is human motivated.

Perhaps the most common motivation for introducing a species into a new place is that of economic gain. Examples of species introduced for the purposes of benefiting agriculture,aquaculture or other economic activities are widespread. Eurasian carp was first introduced to the United States as a potential food source. The apple snail was released in Southeast Asia with the intent that it be used as a protein source, and subsequently to places like Hawaiʻi to establish a food industry. In Alaska, foxes were introduced to many islands to create new populations for the fur trade. About twenty species of African and European dung beetles have established themselves in Australia after deliberate introduction by the Australian Dung Beetle Project in an effort to reduce the impact of livestock manure. The timber industry promoted the introduction of Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata) from California to Australia and New Zealand as a commercial timber crop. These examples represent only a small subsample of species that have been moved by humans for economic interests.

Introductions have also been important in supporting recreation activities or otherwise increasing human enjoyment. Numerous fish and game animals have been introduced for the purposes of sport fishing and hunting. The introduced amphibian (Ambystoma tigrinum) that threatens the endemic California salamander (Ambystoma californiense) was introduced to California as a source of bait for fishermen. Pet animals have also been frequently transported into new areas by humans, and their escapes have resulted in several successful introductions, such as those of feral cats and parrots.

Many plants have been introduced with the intent of aesthetically improving public recreation areas or private properties. The introduced Norway Maple for example occupies a prominent status in many of Canada’s parks. The transport of ornamental plants for landscaping use has and continues to be a source of many introductions. Some of these species have escaped horticultural control and become invasive. Notable examples include water hyacinth, salt cedar, and purple loosestrife.

In other cases, species have been translocated for reasons of “cultural nostalgia,” which refers to instances in which humans who have migrated to new regions have intentionally brought with them familiar organisms. Famous examples include the introduction of starlings to North America by Englishman Eugene Schieffelin, a lover of the works of Shakespeare and the chairman of the American Acclimatization Society, who, it is rumoured, wanted to introduce all of the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays into the United States. He deliberately released eighty starlings into Central Park in New York City in 1890, and another forty in 1891.

Yet another prominent example is the introduction of the European rabbit to Australia by one Thomas Austin, a British landowner who had the rabbits released on his estate in Victoria because he missed hunting them. A more recent example is the introduction of the common wall lizard to North America by a Cincinnati boy, George Rau, around 1950 after a family vacation to Italy.

Intentional introductions have also been undertaken with the aim of ameliorating environmental problems. A number of fast spreading plants such as Garlic Mustard and kudzu have been introduced as a means of erosion control. Other species have been introduced as biological control agents to control invasive species and involves the purposeful introduction of a natural enemy of the target species with the intention of reducing its numbers or controlling its spread.

A special case of introduction is the reintroduction of a species that has become locally endangered or extinct, done in the interests of conservation. Examples of successful reintroductions include wolves to Yellowstone National Park in the U.S., and the Red kite to parts of England and Scotland. Introductions or translocations of species have also been proposed in the interest of genetic conservation, which advocates the introduction of new individuals into genetically depauperate populations of endangered or threatened species

The above examples highlight the intent of humans to introduce species as a means of incurring some benefit. While these benefits have in some cases been realized, introductions have also resulted in unforeseen costs, particularly when introduced species take on characteristics of invasive species.

Non-native species can become such a common part of an environment, culture, and even diet that little thought is given to their geographic origin. For example, soybeans, kiwi fruit, wheat and all livestock except the American Bison and the turkey are non-native species to North America. Collectively, non-native crops and livestock comprise 98% of US food. These and other benefits from non-natives are so vast that, according to the Congressional Research Service, they probably exceed the costs.

Unintentional introductions

Unintentional introductions occur when species are transported by human vectors. For example, three species of rat (the Black, Norway and Polynesian) have spread to most of the world as hitchhikers on ships. There are also numerous examples of marine organisms being transported in ballast water, one being the zebra mussel. Over 200 species have been introduced to the San Francisco Bay in this manner making it the most heavily invaded estuary in the world. Increasing rates of human travel are providing accelerating opportunities for species to be accidentally transported into areas in which they are not considered native. There is also the accidental release of the Africanized honey bees (AHB), known colloquially as “killer bees” or Africanized bee to Brazil in 1957 and the Asian carps to the United States. The insect commonly known as the Brown marmorated stink bug(Halyomorpha halys) was introduced accidentally in Pennsylvania.

Introduced plants

Many non-native plants have been introduced into new territories, initially as either ornamental plants or for erosion control, stock feed, or forestry. Whether an exotic will become aninvasive species is seldom understood in the beginning, and many non-native ornamentals languish in the trade for years before suddenly naturalizing and becoming invasive.

Peaches, for example, originated in China, and have been carried to much of the populated world. Tomatoes are native to the Andes. Squash (pumpkins), maize(corn), and tobacco are native to the Americas, but were introduced to the Old World. Many introduced species require continued human intervention to survive in the new environment. Others may become feral, but do not seriously compete with natives, but simply increase the biodiversity of the area.

Dandelions are also introduced species to North America.

A very troublesome marine species in southern Europe is the seaweed Caulerpa taxifoliaCaulerpa was first observed in the Mediterranean Sea in 1984, off the coast of Monaco. By 1997, it had covered some 50 km². It has a strong potential to overgrow natural biotopes, and represents a major risk for sublittoral ecosystems. The origin of the alga in the Mediterranean was thought to be either as a migration through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea, or as an accidental introduction from an aquarium.

Japanese knotweed grows profusely in many nations. Human beings introduced it into many places in the 19th century. It is a source of resveratrol, a dietary supplement.

Introduced animals


Male Lophura nycthemera (Silver Pheasant), a native of East Asia that has been introduced into parts of Europe for ornamental reasons.

Examples of introduced animals include the gypsy moth in eastern North America, the zebra mussel and alewife in the Great Lakes, the Canada Goose and Gray Squirrel in Europe, the Muskrat in Europe and Asia, the Cane Toad and Red fox in Australia, Nutria in North America, Eurasia, and Africa, and the Common Brushtail Possum in New Zealand.

Most commonly introduced species

Some species, such as the Brown Rat, House Sparrow, Ring-necked Pheasant and European Starling, have been introduced very widely. In addition there are some agricultural and pet species that frequently become feral; these include rabbits, dogs, goats, fish,pigs and cats.

Invasive exotic diseases

History is rife with the spread of exotic diseases, such as the introduction of smallpox into the indigenous peoples of the Americas by the Spanish, where it obliterated entire populations of indigenous civilizations before they were ever even seen by Europeans.

Problematic exotic disease introductions in the past century or so include the chestnut blight which has almost eliminated theAmerican Chestnut tree from its forest habitat, and Dutch elm disease, which has severely reduced the American Elm trees in forests and cities.

Diseases may also be vectored by invasive insects such as the Asian citrus psyllid and the bacterial disease Citrus Greening

Introduced species on Islands

Perhaps the best place to study problems associated with introduced species is on islands. Depending upon the isolation (how far an island is located from continental biotas), native island biological communities may be poorly adapted to the threat posed by exotic introductions. Often this can mean that no natural predator of an introduced species is present, and the non-native spreads uncontrollably into open or occupied niche.

An additional problem is that birds native to small islands may have become flightless because of the absence of predators prior to introductions, and cannot readily escape danger. The tendency of rails in particular to evolve flightless forms on islands has led to the disproportionate number of extinctions in that family.

The field of island restoration has developed as a field of conservation biology and ecological restoration, a great deal of which deals with the eradication of introduced species.

New Zealand

In New Zealand the largest commercial crop is Pinus radiata, the native Californian Monterey Pine tree, which grows as well in New Zealand as in California. However, the pine forests are also occupied by deer from North America and Europe and by possums from Australia. All are exotic species and all have thrived in the New Zealand environment. The pines are seen as beneficial while the deer and possums are regarded as serious pests.

Common gorse, originally a hedge plant in Britain, was introduced to New Zealand for the same purpose. Like the Monterey pine, it has shown a favour to its new climate. It is, however, regarded as a noxious plant which threatens to obliterate native plants in much of the country and is hence routinely eradicated, though it can also provide a nursery environment for native plants to reestablish themselves.

Rabbits, introduced as a food source by sailors in the 1800s, have become a severe nuisance to farmers, notably in the South Island. The myxomatosis virus was illegally imported and illegally released but it had little lasting effect upon the rabbit population other than to make it more resistant to the virus.

Rats, brought by the Māori and later by Europeans, have had a devastating effect upon the native birdlife, particularly as many New Zealand birds are flightless. Feral cats and dogs which were originally brought as pets are also known to kill large numbers of birds. A recent (2006) study in the South Island has shown that even domestic cats with a ready supply of food from their owners may kill hundreds of birds in a year, including natives.

Sparrows, which were brought to control insects upon the introduced grain crops, have displaced native birds as have Rainbow Lorikeets and cockatoos (both from Australia) which fly free around areas west of Auckland City such as the Waitakere Ranges.

In much of New Zealand the Australian black swan has effectively eliminated the existence of the previously introduced mute swan.

Two notable varieties of spiders have also been introduced: the white tail spider and the Redback spider. Both may have arrived inside shipments of fruit. Prior to this the only spider (and the only poisonous animal) dangerous to humans was the native katipo which is very similar to the Red Back and which is known to successfully interbreed with the more aggressive Australian variety.

Credit: Wikipedia

February 18, 2014 / by / in
List of flower flies of New Zealand

The following is a list of hoverfly (Syrphidae) species recorded in New Zealand. This list is based on a list of New Zealand flower flies published by F. Christian Thompson in 2008. Currently the list consists of 37 endemic species, 1 native Oceanian species, and 5 introduced invasive species. Beyond this there are another 48 endemic species awaiting formal description.

Subfamily Syrphinae

Tribe Bacchini

Genus Melanostoma Schiner

  • Melanostoma fasciatum (Macquart, 1850)

Genus Platycheirus Lepeletier & Serville

Subgenus Eocheilosia Hull

  • Platycheirus antipodus (Hull, 1949)
  • Platycheirus captalis (Miller, 1924)
  • Platycheirus clarkei Miller, 1921
  • Platycheirus cunninghami (Miller, 1921)
  • Platycheirus fulvipes (Miller, 1924)
  • Platycheirus harrisi (Miller, 1921)
  • Platycheirus howesii (Miller, 1921)
  • Platycheirus huttoni Thompson, 1989
  • Platycheirus leptospermi (Miller, 1921)
  • Platycheirus lignudus Miller, 1921
  • Platycheirus myersii (Miller, 1924)
  • Platycheirus notatus (Bigot, 1884)
  • Platycheirus ronanus (Miller, 1921)

Tribe Syrphini

Genus Allograpta Osten Sacken

  • Allograpta atkinsoni (Miller, 1921)
  • Allograpta dorsalis (Miller, 1924)
  • Allograpta flavofaciens (Miller, 1921)
  • Allograpta hirsutifera (Hull, 1949)
  • Allograpta hudsoni (Miller, 1921)
  • Allograpta pseudoropala (Miller, 1921)
  • Allograpta ropala (Walker, 1849)
  • Allograpta ventralis (Miller, 1921)

Genus Anu Thompson

  • Anu una Thompson, 2008

Genus Melangyna Verrall

Subgenus: Austrosyrphus Vockeroth

  • Melangyna novaezelandiae (Macquart, 1855)

Genus Simosyrphus Bigot

  • Simosyrphus grandicornis (Macquart, 1842) – widespread in Oceania

Subfamily Eristalinae

Tribe Eristalini

Genus Helophilus Meigen

Subgenus: Pilinasica Malloch

  • Helophilus antipodus Schiner, 1868
  • Helophilus campbelli (Miller, 1921)
  • Helophilus campbellicus Hutton, 1902
  • Helophilus cargilli Miller, 1911
  • Helophilus chathamensis Hutton, 1901
  • Helophilus cingulatus (Fabricius, 1775)
  • Helophilus hectori Miller, 1924
  • Helophilus hochstetteri (Nowicki, 1875)
  • Helophilus ineptus Walker, 1849
  • Helophilus montanus (Miller, 1921)
  • Helophilus seelandicus (Gmelin, 1790)
  • Helophilus taruensis Miller, 1924

Genus Eristalinus Rondani

  • Eristalinus aeneus (Scopoli, 1763) – introduced

Genus Eristalis Latreille

  • Eristalis tenax (Linnaeus, 1758) – introduced

Tribe Merodontini

Genus Eumerus Meigen

  • Eumerus funeralis Meigen, 1822 – introduced
  • Eumerus strigatus (Fallen, 1817) – introduced

Genus Merodon Meigen

  • Merodon equestris (Fabricius, 1794) – introduced

Genus Psilota Meigen

  • Psilota decessa (Hutton, 1901)

Tribe Milesiini

Genus Orthoprosopa Macquart

Subgenus: Paratropidia Hull

  • Orthoprosopa bilineata (Walker, 1849)
February 18, 2014 / by / in
List of crabs of New Zealand

In the waters in and around New Zealand, 77 living species of crabs (and 10 species of crab-like Anomura) have been recorded, along with a further 24 species of fossil crabs (marked with an obelisk). Of the extant crabs, 37 are endemic to New Zealand (marked in boldface). The taxonomy below follows Ng et al. (2008) for the extant species, and De Grave et al.(2009) for the fossils. Almost all the species are marine, with a single freshwater species, Amarinus lacustris (Hymenosomatidae). An updated checklist published in 2010 lists 167 species of Brachyura, plus a little over 50 species of crab-like Anomura. This list (of N.Z. Decapoda) has been republished with annotations in 2011.


Section Dromiacea

  • Petalomera wilsoni (Fulton & Grant, 1902)
  • Dagnaudus petterdi (Grant, 1905)
  • Homola orientalis Henderson, 1888
  • Yaldwynopsis spinimanus (Griffin, 1965)
  • Eplumula australiensis (Henderson, 1888)

Section Raninoida

  • Hemioon novozelandicum Glaessner, 1980 †
  • Laeviranina perarmata Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Lyreidus elegans Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Lyreidus tridentatus De Haan 1841
  • Lyreidus waitakiensis Glaessner, 1980 †
  • Ranilia pororariensis Glaessner, 1980 †

Section Cyclodorippoida

  • Cymonomus aeguilonius Dell, 1971
  • Cymonomus bathamae Dell, 1971
  • Torynomma flemingi Glaessner, 1980 †

Section Heterotremata


Portunus pelagicus
  • Ebalia laevis (Bell, 1855)
  • Merocryptus lambriformis A. Milne-Edwards, 1873
  • Tanaoa pustulosus (Wood-Mason in Wood-Mason & Alcock, 1891)
  • Eurynolambrus australis H. Milne-Edwards & Lucas, 1841
  • Eurynome bituberculata Griffin, 1964
  • Jacquinotia edwardsi (Jacquinot, 1853)
  • Leptomithrax atavus Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Leptomithrax australis (Jacquinot in Jacquinot & Lucas, 1853)
  • Leptomithrax garricki Griffin, 1966
  • Leptomithrax irirangi Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Leptomithrax longimanus Miers, 1876
  • Leotomithrax longipes (Thomson, 1902)
  • Leptomithrax tuberculatus Whitelegge, 1900
  • Leptomithrax uruti Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Notomithrax minor (Filhol, 1885)
  • Notomithrax peronii (H. Milne-Edwards, 1834)
  • Notomithrax ursus (Herbst, 1788)
  • Prismatopus filholi (A. Milne-Edwards, 1876)
  • Teratomaia richardsoni (Dell, 1960)
  • Achaeus curvirostris (A. Milne-Edwards, 1873)
  • Cyrtomaia lamellata Rathbun, 1906
  • Dorhynchus ramusculus (Baker, 1906)
  • Platymaia maoria Dell, 1963
  • Platymaia n.sp
  • Trichoplatus huttoni A. Milne-Edwards, 1876
  • Pyromaia tuberculata (Lockington, 1877)
  • Actinotocarcinus chidgeyi Jenkins, 1974 †
  • Rochinia riversandersoni (Alcock, 1895)
  • Leptomaia tuberculata Griffin & Tranter, 1986
  • Pteropeltarion novaezelandiae Dell, 1972
  • Trichopeltarion fantasticum Richardson & Dell, 1964
  • Trichopeltarion greggi Dell, 1969 †
  • Metacarcinus novaezelandiae (Hombron & Jacquinot, 1846)
  • Tumidocarcinus dentatus Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Tumidocarcinus giganteus Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Tumidocarcinus tumidus (Woodward, 1876) †
  • ?Eodorippe spedeni Glaessner, 1980 †
  • Pororaria eocenica Glaessner, 1980 †
  • Ovalipes catharus (White in White & Doubleday, 1843)
  • Ovalipes molleri (Ward, 1933)
  • Ovalipes sp A. Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Portunus pelagicus (Linnaeus, 1766)
  • Liocarcinus corrugatus (Pennant, 1777)
  • Nectocarcinus antarcticus (Hombron & Jacquinot, 1846)
  • Nectocarcinus bennetti Takeda & Miyake, 1969
  • Rhachiosoma granulifera (Glaessrier, 1960) †
  • Scylla serrata (Forskal, 1775)
  • Menippe sp. Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Pseudocarcinus sp. Glaessner, 1960 †
  • Ozius truncatus H. Milne-Edwards, 1834
  • Pilumnopeus serratifrons (Kinahan, 1856)
  • Pilumnus lumpinus Bennett, 1964
  • Pilumnus novaezelandiae Filhol, 1886
  • Heterozius rotundifrons A. Milne-Edwards 1867
  • Carcinoplax victoriensis Rathbun, 1923
  • Goneplax arenicola (Glaessner, 1960) †
  • Neommatocarcinus huttoni (Filhol, 1886)
  • Galene proavita Glaessner, 1960 †

Section Thoracotremata


Leptograpsus variegatus
  • Austrohelice crassa (Dana, 1851)
  • Leptograpsus variegatus (Fabricius, 1793)
  • Miograpsus papaka Fleming, 1981 †
  • Planes cyaneus Dana, 1852
  • Planes marinus Rathbun, 1914
  • Plagusia chabrus (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Plagusia squamosa (Herbst, 1790)
  • Hemigrapsus crenulatus (H. Milne-Edwards, 1837)
  • Hemigrapsus sexdentatus (H. Milne-Edwards, 1837)
  • Cyclograpsus insularum Campbell & Griffin, 1966
  • Cyclograpsus lavauxi H. Milne-Edwards, 1853
  • Pinnotheres atrinicola Page, 1983
  • Pinnotheres novaezelandiae Filhol, 1886
  • Macrophthalmus hirtipes (Jacquinot in Hombron & Jacquinot, 1846)
  • ?Macrophthalmus major (Glaessner, 1960) †
  • Amarinus lacustris (Chilton, 1882)
  • Elamena longirostris Filhol, 1885
  • Elamena momona Melrose, 1975
  • Elamena producta Kirk, 1878
  • Halicarcinus cookii (Filhol, 1885)
  • Halicarcinus innominatus Richardson, 1949
  • Halicarcinus ovatus Stimpson, 1858
  • Halicarcinus planatus (Fabricius, 1775)
  • Halicarcinus tongi Melrose, 1975
  • Halicarcinus varius (Dana, 1851)
  • Halicarcinus whitei (Miers, 1876)
  • Halimena aotearoa Melrose, 1975
  • Hymenosoma depressum Jacquinot, 1853
  • Neohymenicus pubescens (Dana, 1851)



Petrolisthes elongatus, Whangaparaoa, near Auckland
  • Lithodes aotearoa Ahyong, 2010
  • Lithodes jessica Ahyong, 2010
  • Lithodes macquaria Ahyong, 2010
  • Lithodes robertsoni Ahyong, 2010
  • Neolithodes brodiei Dawson & Yaldwyn, 1970
  • Neolithodes bronwynae Ahyong, 2010
  • Paralomis dawsoni Macpherson, 2001
  • Paralomis echidna Ahyong, 2010
  • Paralomis hirtella Saint Laurent & Macpherson, 1997
  • Paralomis poorei Ahyong, 2010
  • Paralomis staplesi Ahyong, 2010
  • Paralomis webberi Ahyong, 2010
  • Paralomis zealandica Dawson & Yaldwyn, 1971
  • Porcellanopagurus edwardsi Filhol, 1885
  • Petrolisthes elongatus (H. Milne-Edwards, 1837)
  • Petrolisthes novaezelandiae Flihol, 1886
  • Petrocheles spinosus Miers, 1876
  • Credit: Wikipedia
February 17, 2014 / by / in