Identification guides

On this page you will find useful information and resources on New Zealand's marine flora and invertebrate fauna.

Fact sheets

The following links provide general information and guides on invasive sea squirts and seagrass found in New Zealand coasts and oceans.


Nuisance marine microalgae in New Zealand 

This poster illustrates the major microalgal species which can cause algal “blooms” or health problems, such as paralytic shellfish poisoning, in New Zealand waters. Maps show where each species has been found around New Zealand. More information on our posters and charts

Marine identification guides

Shore Polychaetes

The following guide provides help for the identification of many polychaetes of rock and sand shores of New Zealand.

Shell Polychaetes

The following guide provides information on the marine polychaete worms which live on the scallops, abalone, oysters, and mussels, and other harvested shellfish of New Zealand. It especially deals with the worms which bore into live shells with resulting harm to their hosts. 

Coralline algae

The following guide covers the common crustose coralline algae found in central New Zealand. 


Where in New Zealand might you find a witchy finger sponge, Neptune's necklace or a pie-crust crab?

The answer will be found in New Zealand’s first series of electronic identification guides for marine algae and invertebrates. Initially launched in 2012, these guides were designed to help amateur marine biologists at the beach and in the water this summer. You can download the guides for free.