New online Freshwater Invertebrate Guide

A new web resource is designed to assist community groups monitoring freshwater invertebrates in New Zealand. 

Checking out freshwater invertebrates at BioBlitz 2012 (that's Stephen in the jeans and black top .... helping students identify the little watery critters

Checking out freshwater invertebrates at BioBlitz 2012 (that’s Stephen in the jeans and black top …. helping students identify the little watery critters

Freshwater invertebrates (insects, crustaceans, snails, worms and other small critters) are often used as indicators of the state of streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. In Auckland alone there are approximately 100 community groups monitoring stream invertebrates under the Wai Care programme, and thousands more school students taking part in stream studies every year in a programme run by Watercare.

Freshwater invertebrates always attract heaps of attention at BioBlitzes.

If you’ve collected freshwater ‘bugs’ from your local stream, you’ll hopefully be able to use this site to identify them and learn about what they may reveal about their habitat. Such information can indicate whether a stream should be preserved in its existing good condition, or whether there may be a need for some form of restoration.

It’s all over now but what a great BioBlitz!

 The  final tallies are:  

  • Bacteria  (not counted this time)
  • Beetles = 51
  • Birds = 29
  • Bugs (Hemiptera) = 26
  • Conifers (trees) = 8
  • Earthworms = 5
  • Ferns and fern allies = 44
  • Fish = 3
  • Flies = 76
  • Flowering dicot plants = 222
  • Flowering monocot plants = 80
  • Freshwater algae = 29
  • Freshwater invertebrates = 57
  • Fungi (except lichens) = 233  – a fairly spectacular haul – the good dose of rain just prior – with the warmth afterwards no doubt helped.
  • Lichens = 60
  • Lizards and frogs = 1
  • Mammals = 3
  • Molluscs (land snails) = 8
  • Mosses, liverworts and hornworts = 35
  • Moths /butterflies = 27
  • Nematodes = 20
  • Spiders, mites and other arachnids 8= 4
  • Wasps, bees and ants = 125
  • Weta and other invertebrates = 23
  • Zooplankton/ protozoa = 2

(The Botanic Gardens database has nearly 7000 plant species & cultivars but we did not count them as they have been planted)

The total will probably be revised once the scientists have had a chance to take a closer look at some of their finds.

We had great weather on both days and, although it got very hot inside the huge base camp marquee during the afternoons, the temperatures were cool in the early morning & after dark. But that did not deter all the families that turned up for the spider walk (we saw some huge sheet web spiders and the glow of glow worms) and light-trapping moths.

Lots of school groups visited and it was great to see them all so enthusiastic and so well-behaved. Well done to all the kids, and the people who organised their visits.  And great to see so many enthusiastic families … hopefully lots of budding young biologists out there who will come to the next BioBlitz in two years time.

We’ll be back with more updates and photos soon … in the mean-time, we’ve lots of gear to unpack and tidy away, sleep to catch up on, and reports to write about what was found.  You can see the latest BioBlitz video on YouTube:

Getting ready for BioBlitz

BioBlitz on TVNZ’s Good Morning Programme

Want a taste of what’s happening at BioBlitz 2012?  Take a look at TVNZ’s Good Morning Programme on Creepy Crawlies.

Peter Buchanan and Grace Hall talk to Jeanette, while young Charlotte and Fraser have a live stick insect and a live weta on their faces throughout the interview … and they manage not to sneeze or giggle despite all the insect tickles!

Weeds, pests & diseases – unwanted species!

Biosecurity is all about protecting New Zealand from unwanted species by preventing undesirables from entering the country, managing or eliminating those that have established in the wild, and reducing the nasty impacts of unwanted species on our environment, economy and human health.

During BioBlitz, we record all the weeds and pests that we find.  Many of these are already known to live in the urban park area that we’re searching, but we often find a few surprises as well.

What is biodiversity? Why is it important?









You can find these posters on the web at


December 2014
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