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  • New Zealand’s streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands support around 54 species of native fish including galaxiids, bullies, eels, lamprey, black flounder, torrentfish, smelt and mullet – and these are just the ones we know of that have been identified and classified! This ecosystem also provides a home for many other species, including ducks, insects and kōura.

    In this activity, students use resource materials to identify the features of a variety of New Zealand freshwater species.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • use their observation skills to identify some freshwater species found in New Zealand
    • use their literacy skills to identify key words and phrases about some New Zealand freshwater species
    • locate the area of the freshwater habitat that each species is likely to live
    • create a basic food web.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • background information for teachers
    • student instructions.

    Related content

    The articles What is ecology? and Understanding ecology will support teaching and learning about ecology and living things.

    Explore New Zealand’s unique native biodiversity.

    It is going to take all of us working together to rebuild the health of our rivers and streams, meet Dr Amanda Valois who is working to build community connections and engagement with freshwater health.

    Activity idea

    The activity Living or non-living? will help further with the concept from a scientific point of view.


    This activity was written by Susan Rapley, a volunteer outreach educator with the North Otago Museum.

      Published 12 March 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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