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Identify commonly encountered species by shape and form.

This section is to help identify some of the more common species, frequently encountered around New Zealand.
Click on the group of images most similar to the specimen that you wish to identify.
Continue choosing the most similar group to narrow down your search. Use the text links below to go back or start again.

Other non-Molluscan Phyla (Echinodermata, Brachiopoda etc) are being added to the checklist and photo sections of the website. This is to help identify species that may be mistaken for Mollusca, but are not.
Starfish (Asteroidea)
Usually star-shaped, with a central disc, and radiating arms (often 5, but up to 11+)
Brittle Stars (Ophiuroidea)
Star-shaped, with a central disc, and usually with five slender arms (though some species can have up to 8 arms)
Sea Urchins, Kina
Circular or oval in shape. Usually covered in sharp spines, but some with short fine hair-like bristles.
Key to Geographical Ranges
NZ Map showing Geographical Ranges
The symbols K.A.C.F.M.An. are used to indicate the geographical range of the species. They have been adopted to give an approximation of the range of each species within New Zealand.
Kermadec Islands
Aupourian - Kaipara Harbour, north around North Cape, encompassing the Three Kings Islands and south to East Cape
Cookian - Lower North Island and the northern part of the South Island
Forsterian - Otago, Fiordland and Stewart Island
Moriorian - Chatham Islands, Pitt Island
Antipodean - Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand
Fw =
L =
N =
North Island
S =
South Island
E =
I =
R =
Sf =
Fo =