Species Key – Coastal Taxonomic Resource Tool

A web-based taxonomic resource tool has been developed to improve the accuracy and consistency in soft sediment estuarine and coastal benthic intertidal and shallow subtidal macroinvertebrate identification across New Zealand. 

What’s in the tool?

The six keys and species data sheets currently available in the tool include:

  • Amphipoda - 40 species

  • Isopoda - 24 species

  • Annelida - 84 species, 20 families/subfamilies

  • Mollusca - 75 species

  • Decapoda (crabs and shrimp) - 8 species

  • Cumacea - 3 species, 8 families

Species information sheets are provided for each species with taxonomic and ecological information and will be updated over time as information becomes available. 

How to get a log-in?

New users are invited to self-register for a public access account at the link provided above. Regional council service providers will be given access to additional tools upon verification.


The C-SIG Species key tool was developed by NIWA in collaboration with Atlas Meanwhile Ltd. The population of the tool with taxonomic and ecological data, images, and maps, and building of the keys was funded from an MBIE funded Envirolink Tool project. The project team developing the taxonomic keys included taxonomists from NIWA, Te Papa Tongarewa (National Museum of New Zealand), and parataxonomists and marine ecologists from NIWA and MacLean Marine Identifiers Ltd. Greater Wellington, Environment Canterbury, Waikato and Northland Regional Councils championed the tool, Environment Southland led the pre-proposal for the Envirolink tool funding and regional council staff, taxonomists and parataxonomy providers at Cawthron Institute, NIWA, MacLean Marine Identifiers, EOS ecology, Coastal Marine Ecology Consultants, SLR Consulting, Salt Ecology, Boffa Miskell, and Biolive Invertebrate Identification Service provided valued feedback and data during tool development. Ongoing support for the tool is currently funded by the Regional Sector Holdings (RSHL) fund, which all Regional Councils contribute to.

The collection of on-line keys, images and identification resources are now available via the C-SIG Species Key here.

Video Tutorials:

Species Key: Tutorial - Species info

Species Key: Tutorial - Basic functions and key use

Species Key: Tutorial - Species Global Search

Any questions? please contact [email protected]

Harmothoe Collected For GWRC 
Halicarcinus varius collected for GWRC
Sample collection at Mahurangi estuary 
Sample collection at Mahurangi estuary