Invertebrate life

Description

New Zealand is home to an amazing collection of invertebrates - animals without backbones. Shown here is a collection of invertebrates photographed by Dr Anne Wignall (Massey University). All rights reserved.

 

Teaching connection

Dr Anne Wignall (Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences) teaches the diversity of invertebrate life, and her research interests focus on the behaviour of spiders. Find out more about the Invertebrate Zoology course at Massey University (199.211).

Robber fly

Robber fly

Robber flies (Family Asilidae) are a diverse group of predatory flies. Also known as assassin flies, they will attack bees, wasps, dragonflies, spiders and grasshoppers as well as other flies. All rights reserved.

Sombrero spider

Sombrero spider

Sombrero spiders (Family: Stiphidiidae) are native to Australia but are now extremely common in New Zealand. The ‘sombrero’ refers to the shape of its web, which looks like an upside-down sombrero. All rights reserved.

Assassin bug

Assassin bug

Assassin bugs (Family: Reduviidae) are an extremely diverse group of insects. Pictured here is Stenolemus fraterculus, which is often found in spider webs. This species belongs to the sub-family Emesinae, often called the thread-legged assassin bugs because of their extremely thin legs. All rights reserved.

Harvestman

Harvestman

Harvestmen are arachnids (Order Opiliones). Although they are related to spiders, their biology is very different – harvestmen do not produce silk, for example. This is a short-legged harvestman. They can be found under fallen logs and in the leaf litter. All rights reserved.

Fishing spider

Fishing spider

Fishing spiders (Family Pisauridae) are often found near water. Although they mostly feed on invertebrates, some species can catch small fish. Some fishing spiders are also called nursery web spiders, after the large white silken nests the females build for their egg sacs. All rights reserved.

Sheetweb spider

Sheetweb spider

Sheetweb spiders (Family Stiphiididae) build large horizontal webs, often attached to tree trunks, fallen logs or rocks. The spiders sit at the edge of the web in a retreat during the day, and emerge at night. All rights reserved.

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