Te Papa wants your help to discover new species

Te Papa's latest exhibition showcases new species of plants, animals and insects found by its own staff, hoping to inspire Kiwis to make scientific discoveries of their own.

The scientific team at our national museum is asking for pictures of any strange insects, animals and plants. Source: 1 NEWS

'DeCLASSIFIED!: Nature's secrets' displays the Museum of New Zealand's new species of fish, landhoppers, seaweeds, lice, ferns and fossilised fresh water limpets discovered in the past five years.

The exhibition also reveals new discoveries like the first video of blobfish swimming, which shows they swim quite gracefully.

"We weren't expecting that at all. We thought they just sit on the bottom and wait for things to come past... No one knew, this was the first time a blobfish had been seen swimming properly," Te Papa's Lead Curator for the exhibition Leon Perrie says.

Te Papa wants the public to share their findings and the museum is partnering with 'citizen science' website, Nature Watch.

People can upload images of curious species they've found onto the website and Te Papa scientists will help to identify them.

"We're still on a fairly steep upward learning curve of species and we're still discovering them at a pretty fast rate. So for example our fish team describe a new species at least once a month," Te Papa's Senior Science Curator Susan Waugh says.

Phil Sirvid, a Te Papa arachnology expert, has found a new species of spider at his Wellington home.

"When I was living in Karori I opened my door one evening and looked down and saw a funny looking spider, I collected it, took into work and go 'Ah that's a new species!,'" he says.

Te Papa holds several million plant, animal and insect specimens in their vaults.

The exhibition runs until December 2015.