Our amazing animals...
EcoWorld is home to over 150 animals, ranging from tiny starfish and crabs to 30 year old Tuatara and a large Stingray.
We have primarily New Zealand species in our care with the exception of a few exotic species as we are a rehabilitation center and we take in animals that can no longer be cared for.
Main Tank & The Shallows
Get up close with our large and local fish in the Main Tank. You'll expect to see plenty of Snapper, a couple of big and hungry Grouper, Red Moki, Trevally and our resident Short-Tail Stingray called Ray.
The Shallows tank houses the smaller local fish. Species include Terakihi, Red Gurnard, Kahawai, Blue Cod and Snapper who call this tank home.
The Packhorse Crayfish are the largest Crayfish species in the world and can grow up to a length of 60cm.
Crayfish live on rocky reefs with plenty of crevasses where they can hide. As a nocturnal creature, they live in the cracks and holes in large groups during the day and venture out to feed at night. Crayfish are a bottom feeding scavenger that live on shellfish, crabs, small fish or anything else they can find.
King salmon are an anadromous fish, adapted to life in fresh water and sea water.
They are found mainly in the gravel rivers on the east coast of the South Island.
While at sea wild King salmon feed heavily on shrimp, prawns and various species of small fish. The pigments in their prey colour turn their flesh and eggs orange.
An endemic but common fish in New Zealand. Spotties or Spotted Wrasse are an interesting species as they can change sex. All Spotties hatch as females, and after 3-4 years the largest fish may change to male - with a ratio of roughly 1 male to every 20 females. The difference between the sexes is in their colouration - the males have a line of dots at the top of their body and females have one large dot on their side. The one male defends a territory to maintain a harem of females and when he dies typically the largest female will change to male to take over the territory and harem.
The only seahorse species that live in New Zealand, with the scientific name Hippocampus abdominalis which roughly translates to "horse-like sea monster with a prominent abdomen". Seahorses have a fairly unique way of reproducing, where the female deposits her eggs into the males pouch (where the name pot-belly comes from!). He then fertilizes the eggs and provides nutrition to the developing young for about 30 days. After this time he then 'births' mini seahorses with powerful contractions.
Part of the family Tripterygiidae, Triplefins are a common small reef fish. Triplefins are found worldwide, but New Zealand is a hot spot with around 26 species that are endemic to us - aside from 3 that have made their way over to Australia. They get their name due to having three separate dorsal fins.
Sea perch are found on rocky shores at depths of 100 meters. They eat moderately large sea floor invertebrates and some small fish. They give birth to small larvae in jelly masses and can live up to 40 years old.
Olive Rock Fish
The largest of at least six species of rockfish found in New Zealand the olive rock fish can live for hours out of the water, which helps it to guard its nest of eggs under a stone, high up the inter tidal. They can grow to 30cm in length. Several species are known in NZ, but only the Olive is common on the rocky shore. It is a predator, feeding on small crabs, shrimps, sea lice and slaters.
Short Finned Eel
We have one short fin eel in our freshwater tank. Throughout their lives eels can grow up to 2 meters long. They feed mainly on insect larvae and worms. When they are larger they move onto small fish. The short fin eel can live for around 30 years.
Our freshwater tank houses a variety of species from the Whitebait catchment; Inanga, Banded Kokopu and Koaro. These fish all spend their lives in freshwater until it comes to breeding. At this time they travel to an area of the water way known as the salt water wedge - where the salt water meets the freshwater, here is where they lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch they are washed out to sea where they live in the salt water for 6 months before travelling back up into freshwater as juveniles - they are fished at this age and known as Whitebait. Once back into the freshwater they then grow into their adult form.
Snake Neck Turtles
Australian snake-necked turtles are carnivores and prey on a variety of aquatic species, including invertebrates, fish and plankton. Due to their long neck it cannot be retracted completely back into their shell.
They wind their long necks back while stalking prey, striking like a snake once they're close. When disturbed, these turtles can shoot a stream of bad-smelling liquid from glands near their groin, earning them the charming nickname of 'stinker'.
Red eared slider turtles get their name from the yellow to red dash around their ears. The 'slider' part of their names comes from their ability to quickly slide off rocks and logs into the water. A well-cared-for, captive red eared slider turtle can be expected to live over 20 years, with some even reaching up to 50 years old.
Nicknamed the Mexican Walking Fish, axolotl are found exclusively in the lake complex of Xochimilco near Mexico City. While most salamanders progress through an aquatic stage of their life cycle before becoming land-dwelling animals, the Axolotl remains in this adolescent-like stage and remains 100% aquatic. On top of being able to regenerate limbs, the animal can also rebuild their jaws, spines, and even brains without any scarring. Axolotls are long-lived, surviving up to 15 years on a diet of mollusks, worms, insect larvae, crustaceans, and some fish.
The giant squid is a deep-ocean dwelling squid in the family Architeuthidae. There is a great deal of unknowns surrounding the Giant Squid. It was only photographed alive for the first time in 2004 Specimens of the creature have been found to grow to the huge length of 40 feet.Giant squid are found throughout all of the world's oceans. They are usually found at depths of between 1,000 feet and about 2,000 feet.
Reptiles & Amphibians
Cook Strait Tuatara
Tuatara are an endemic reptile to New Zealand. There are two species - the Cook Strait Tuatara (Sphenodon guntheri) and the Northern Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus). The Cook Strait Tuatara can be found on 32 predator-free off shore islands within the Cook Strait - the reptile is restricted to islands where predators have been eradicated from. Before settlers arrived, Tuatara thrived right across New Zealand. But, when humans arrived they brought along other animals such as rats, stoats, possums and mice with them that competed with and ate the Tuatara - wiping them out. There are roughly 50,000-100,000 Tuatara found across the islands.
Brothers Island Tuatara
Brother Island Tuatara are a sub species of the Cook Strait Tuatara. They are found on the Brothers Island - found at the top of the Cook Strait. There are roughly 400 of the animals left on the Island.
Bearded dragons are only naturally found in the wild in Australia. In New Zealand they are a pet species that may live for up to 14 years. They get their name 'Bearded Dragon' due to the spikes and scales found around their head that resemble a beard. This is used a defense mechanism that they can expand when they feel threatened.
Blue Tounge Skink
Blue tongue skinks are naturally found in Australia and New Guinea, in desert, grasslands and forested areas. In New Zealand they are a pet species. When threatened the skink will hiss and stick out their bright blue tongue as a way to surprise and confuse the predator so they can quickly get away.
With a home range in Australia these lizards are a pet species in New Zealand with an average life span of 12-20 years. Typically in the wild the dragon will live near water as a safe retreat. They are often found basking on trees and brush over hanging the water so they can then dive straight in as a quick escape from danger.
Southern Bell Frogs
These frogs were introduced to New Zealand in the 1860s from Tasmania. They can be found throughout most of the country and are the largest frog species with females reaching over 100mm in length. The Southern Bell Frog is very similar in size and colour to the Golden and Green Bell Frog except it generally has less golden colouration and has more warts.
Birds & Mammals
Yellow Crowned Kakariki
Yellow crowned parakeets are commonly known as their Maori name Kakariki. They are a small parrot endemic to New Zealand. They were found across the whole country but are now confined to only a few areas on the mainland and some offshore islands due to hunting, habitat loss and predation.
Lovebirds are small African parrots that are as their name suggests known for the loving, attentive bond they tend to form with their mates. In the wild, lovebirds gather in small flocks and eat fruit, vegetables, types of grasses and seeds. The average life span of a captive love bird is around 15 years.
In New Zealand we have three species of rats; the Kiore, the Norway Rat (the largest) and the Ship Rat. Prior to settlers arriving in New Zealand, rats were not found in our country. It was the early Maori voyagers and whaling ships that bought over all three species and unintentionally introduced them. Rats will eat insects such as Weta, snails, frogs, tuatara, birds and bats - as well as the flowers. fruits and seeds of plants. They have massive effects on New Zealand wildlife due to this diet - Eating our native birds, insects and reptiles as well as competing for food sources.
Enderby Island Rabbits
Enderby Island is a apart of the Auckland islands. In 1865 rabbits were released onto this island as a food source for castaways. Being isolated for over 130 years caused these rabbits to diverge into their new distinctive breed known as Enderby Island Rabbits. In 1992 a group of 49 of the rabbits were removed off the island and then the rest eradicated. Breeding from these 49 animals has resulted in this particular rabbit becoming a rare breed and is under the control of the Rare Breeds Conservational Society of New Zealand.
11 Armed Starfish
The 11 Armed Starfish are a large and common sea star and look extremely similar to the 7 Armed Starfish (Astrostole scabra). These sea stars can grow to 40cms across and are specialized predators that are capable of catching or forcing open mollusks such as Mussels and Paua.
The cushion star is a common sea star found around the coastlines of New Zealand. They come in a variety of colours from lights greys to dark blues to bright oranges and every colour in between. Like other star fish they move by tube feet underneath the body
Kina are a particular species of sea urchin endemic to New Zealand. They are found all around New Zealand in shallow waters around 12–14 meters deep. .They are covered with movable spikes to protect them from predators, such as snapper. Kina like to live on shallow rocky reefs where they graze on seaweed and kelp.
Sea cucumbers are a close relative of starfish and sea urchins as they are classed as an Echinoderm. Along the bottom of their bodies they have rows of tube feet that can be used for slowly crawling along the sea floor.
The camouflage crab belongs to the family known as spider crabs. The get their name due to their behavior of sticking bits of seaweed on tiny hooks that cover their body and legs. They do this to help them camouflage in with the seafloor to stay hidden from predators.
Hermit crabs are commonly found along New Zealand's shore lines, with around 34 different species. They climb into empty shells to protect their soft bodies and as they grow they have search for larger shells to call home. Typically the crab has one large claw that they can use to block off the entrance to the shell when they retreat inside - this helps to avoid predation.
Paua are endemic to New Zealand and are a species of Abalone. We have 3 unique species which include the Black-foot, Yellow-foot and White-foot. They are fairly distinguishable due to multicoloured shell, popular as jewelry and as souvenirs. They are most abundant around the coasts of southern New Zealand in the cooler water. The Paua graze on seaweed and are predated on by crabs, crayfish, starfish and fish.