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Easy identification of NZ marine invertebrates

New guide offers easy identification of NZ marine invertebrates

A photographic guide to some of the most striking and beautiful invertebrates inhabiting New Zealand’s shallow subtidal waters will be released by Canterbury University Press this month.

Subtidal Invertebrates of New Zealand: A Divers Guide, published in association with the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Fisheries, is the work of Stephen Wing, Associate Professor in Marine Science at the University of Otago.

Intended as a quick guide and introduction the book looks at 155 marine invertebrate species commonly and widely found in New Zealand waters at depths reachable by scuba divers, and which are also easily visible and identifiable in the field.

Dr Wing said he believed Subtidal Invertebrates filled a gap in the available literature.

“I run a summer course on subtidal ecology, which involves diving, and we couldn’t find a good book that just described the common creatures that can be found in kelp forests and rocky reefs around New Zealand,” he said.

“I went to graduate school in California where they run a similar course and they had a really good short reference book so I decided to create something similar for the creatures in New Zealand. It’s really nice to have an accessible book that can be used by amateur naturalists, scientists or anyone who dives and is interested in these animals.”

The book contains colour photographs, taken by Dr Wing, of each organism in its natural habitat, offering a visual aid for identification. A succinct description of each creature is provided in the accompanying text and a general introduction explains invertebrate diversity and ecology.

“New Zealand has an amazing variety of different organisms and there are some amazing creatures that you can find in any kelp forest – hard corals, beautiful animals – so anyone who appreciates looking at these things will find this book to be a handy reference.”

Dr Wing conducts ecological research in southern New Zealand with particular emphasis on rocky reef habitats in Fiordland and Stewart Island. He has dived and photographed marine life extensively in New Zealand, Australia, northern California and Florida.


Subtidal Invertebrates of New Zealand: A Diver’s Guide by Stephen Wing, published by Canterbury University Press, March 2008, RRP NZ$25, Paperback with PVC sleeve 148pp, colour throughout. ISBN 978-1-877257-58-2.


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