Friday, March 16, 2012

New Zealand Native Wildlife

New Zealand is famous as a country that has a diverse array of unique flora and fauna that are not owned by other countries. Some native animals are classified as endangered and use as a state icon of New Zealand. On March 7, 2007 , New Zealand Post celebrates the uniqueness  is by issuing the five vibrant stamps featuring  species Tuatara, Kiwi, Hamilton's frog, Yellow-eyed penguin, and Hector’s dolphin.


The tuatara is a reptile endemic to New Zealand which, though it resembles most lizards, is actually part of a distinct lineage, order Sphenodontia.Tuatara are of great interest in the study of the evolution of lizards and snakes, and for the reconstruction of the appearance and habits.Tuatara are greenish brown, and measure up to 80 cm from head to tail-tip and weigh up to 1.3 kilograms  with a spiny crest along the back, especially pronounced in males.They are able to hear although no external ear is present, and have a number of unique features in their skeleton, some of them apparently evolutionarily retained from fish. Although tuatara are sometimes called "living fossils", recent taxonomic and molecular work has shown that they have changed significantly since the Mesozoic era.


The kiwi is a New Zealand's most recognizable icon. This species is a flightless bird in the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae and have distinctive behavior, shy, nocturnal. This bird lays the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world, which can be up to a quarter the weight of the female.There are five recognized species, all of which are endangered; all species have been adversely affected by historic deforestation but currently 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.

Hamilton’s frog

The Hamilton's frog  or Leiopelma hamiltoni is a primitive frog native to New Zealand, one of only four extant species belonging to the family Leiopelmatidae. Hamilton's frog's named after Harold Hamilton, who first collected the species. Photo image  (© Image Dr Paddy Ryan).

Yellow-eyed penguin

The Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) or Hoiho is a penguin native to New Zealand.This penguin  pursues prey in 20–60 m deep dives.Around 90% of their  diet is made up of fish; with cephalopods such as the arrow squid (Nototodarus sloanii) making up the remainder. Fish species consumed include the blue cod (Parapercis colias), red cod (Pseudophycis bachus), opalfish (Hemerocoetes monopterygius), and New Zealand Blueback Sprat. A current population of around 4000, the Yellow-eyed penguin is found only in Southern New Zealand, in Foveaux strait, Steward Island and the Auckland and Campbell Islands. Solitary breeders, sometime up to one nest per hectare in forested areas.

Hector’s dolphin

Hector's dolphin  or Cephalorhynchus hectori is a smallest sea-living dolphin of the four dolphins in the genus Cephalorhynchus and the rarest dolphin in the world. Hector's dolphin is found only in New Zealand. The measure of this species about 1.4 m in length. (Resources: Photos and some data taken from Wikipedia.)

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