Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Baby tuatara hatches—first for Matiu/Somes Island

Baby tuatara hatches—a first for Matiu/Somes Island



Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

MEDIA RELEASE

13 August 2007


Baby tuatara hatches—a first for Matiu/Somes Island

It’s official—tuatara are breeding on Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington Harbour.

Proof comes in the form of a tiny baby tuatara which emerged last week from an egg found on the island. It’s the first known offspring of 54 Brothers Island tuatara transferred to the island nine years ago.

And there may even be a sibling to follow. The egg was one of two taken from a buried nest on the island in May to be incubated at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Biological Sciences.

The Department of Conservation and tuatara experts from Victoria University of Wellington had long suspected the island’s “robust and healthy” tuatara were breeding. But because the reptiles lead such secretive lives, and bury their tiny eggs in the ground, they had no tangible evidence—until the chance discovery of eggs beside a track on the island.

“The island ranger found two eggs which appeared to have been scratched from a burrow by another tuatara,” DOC biodiversity programme manager Peter Simpson said.

“We would have been surprised if they hadn’t been breeding, but their buried nests are usually well concealed,” Mr Simpson said.

He quickly alerted the experts and a probe of the burrow revealed six more eggs, two of which appeared to be viable. They were carefully monitored by Victoria University staff, who were thrilled to discover a fully formed, miniature tuatara had emerged from the egg overnight last Wednesday. Its sex has yet to be determined.

“We’ve been waiting for this for nine years. It’s fantastic,” said School of Biological Sciences researcher Sue Keall.

"It’s the biggest sign yet of the success of the translocation programme.”

The tuatara will be returned as soon as possible to join others in the wild on Matiu/Somes Island, a DOC-managed historic and scientific reserve.

“We’ll look after it until it gets more robust but in nature parents desert the eggs in the nest as soon as they are laid. And from the moment they hatch, tuatara are very active and quick, and well able to fend for themselves.”

The Matiu/Somes tuatara hatchling is just the second confirmed tuatara produced by Brothers Island tuatara (Sphenodon guntheri) transferred to offshore islands. The first, which was found by Victoria University researchers in January this year and is approximately 5 years old, was produced by tuatara transferred to Titi Island in the Marlborough Sounds 12 years ago. These were the only two transfers of Brothers Island tuatara, directly from the island and from eggs hatched at Victoria University and raised at Nga Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae.

“It’s taken a wee while to confirm they are breeding but now we can say for certain that they are,” Ms Keall said.

"We're all very excited."


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media Mega Merger: StuffMe Hearing Argues Over Moveable Feast

New Zealand's two largest news publishers are appealing against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Elsewhere:


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>

ALSO:


Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>