Deep sea animals go on display


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A new exhibition of stunning deep-sea animal specimens from New Zealand includes specimens that never been seen by the public before, and many are new to science.

The exhibition in Te Papa showcases the diversity of habitats and the spectacular creatures such as crabs, tubeworms, precious corals, fish, molluscs and sponges that live in New Zealand's deep ocean.

The exhibition was developed by Te Papa in association with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and GNS Science.

New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers more than four million square kilometres, yet less than 1% has been closely studied.

On display are about 60 specimens and two videos (see below) that take visitors on a journey from 200 to 10,000 metres under the sea.

One of the deep-sea animals that has been photographed is the 'deep-sea warty octopus' (Graneledone taniwha taniwha) — pictured at the top of the page — collected from around 900 metres deep on the Chatham Rise. It's tiny — only around 5cm/2" tall. This is one of two octopus species endemic to New Zealand that are found between 450 and 1500 metres deep. The picture below shows a juvenile King crab, Neolithodes brodiei.

One of the videos: 'Journey across an underwater landscape' can be seen below. It shows the diverse communities of New Zealand's seamounts. This deep, dark world is teeming with life and animals that have adapted to the challenging conditions in amazing ways.

Images of these deep-sea animals have been captured on video by NIWA's Deep Towed Imaging System (DTIS).


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