A new milestone in marine biodiversity

At last! For the first time New Zealand’s entire thecate hydroid fauna has been published in a single illustrated monograph through NIWA’s National Centre for Aquatic Biodiversity & Biosecurity. This is an important milestone in our understanding of New Zealand’s marine biodiversity.

Hydroids are mostly colonial invertebrates, with tiny polyps whose nettle cells sting and capture small plankton. During their life cycle many species produce medusae, a sexual phase that resembles a tiny jellyfish. [Hydroids (class Hydrozoa), jellyfish (class Scyphozoa), and corals and sea anemones (class Anthozoa) are all members of the phylum Cnidaria.] Hydroids are abundant in marine benthic ecosystems and are often responsible for fouling vessel hulls and marine installations.

The last major work on New Zealand thecate hydroids was a series of papers published by the late Patricia Ralph of Victoria University in Wellington between 1956 and 1961. The number of species discovered since that time has increased greatly, and the number of known fauna in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and immediately surrounding waters now stands at 285.

Authors Willem Vervoort (The Natural Museum, Leiden) and Jeanette Watson (Museum Victoria, Melbourne) have provided many illustrations for 236 species, including 44 new species and 3 new genera. The new case-bound NIWA volume covers 538 pages and is the most comprehensive produced yet in the series NIWA Biodiversity Memoirs.

Copies of this volume are available from:

The Publications Officer, NIWA, Private Bag 14901 Kilbirnie, Wellington

Price: $NZ145.00 (plus $9.00 postage and packaging in New Zealand).

Research subject: ABB