Monday, February 8, 2010

New Zealand Fauna

My top pick for today's art - this is a Powelliphanta snail. There are 21 different species of these slimy critters in New Zealand, and the biggest grows to 90 mm across. They are living fossils, being relatively unchanged in 200 million years - the oldest carnivorous land animal still found on earth. Like many NZ species, they are under threat.

This bright and colourful gem of the NZ forest is also a relic. Of all the multitude of Green Gecko species found in New Zealand, the Jewelled Gecko is thought to be the ancestor of them all. Once prolific, his kind also is under threat.

The New Zealand Falcon, or Karearea, was our only surviving diurnal bird of prey (after the extinction of the giant Haast's Eagle). That is until the Harrier Hawk moved in from Across the Ditch. The Karearea prefers the highlands and the native forest as her hunting ground however. She is rare also, but has recently been employed in Wineyards in the Marlborough region, to keep down the invader birds (that eat the grapes) and thus may make her come-back.

These three are destined for Denmark.

1 comment:

Sara said...

these are GREAT, I really love that snail