March of the Fossil Penguins

Fossil penguin discoveries and research

Some More from the Field

with 6 comments

Here are a few more images from our prospecting and collecting forays into the Oligocene and Miocene. It has been a busy week and we will be wrapping things up soon.

A great exposure of Oteikake Limestone. In the background the Southern Alps beckon. Last time I visited, it was the southern winter and the mountains were cloaked in snow. Changing seasons, especially a good rain, can help expose new fossils by eroding any the rock.


Dr. Ewan Fordyce points out a fossil discovery at the base of an overhang.


One of those quiet, pleasant moments in life: a caterpillar has made its cocoon in a tiny cutting where a fossil shell was removed earlier.

Written by Dan Ksepka

December 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm

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6 Responses

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  1. The lower photo shows the chrysalis of one of our admiral butterflies, probably a red admiral (Vanessa gonerilla) which are very common in the South Island. Unfortunately the small neat round hole near the bottom indicates that it had been parasitised by Pteromalus (a small wasp) and that the wasp’s offspring have already emerged. A great photo but unfortunately not so pleasant for the butterfly.

    Neville Hudson

    December 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm

  2. Thanks Neville – and thanks again for hosting as in Auckland. I am happy to know the identity of the critter that made this beautiful chrysalis, but sad to hear it was attacked. That’s nature for you…

    Dan Ksepka

    December 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    • Happy to be able to help Dan!

      Neville Hudson

      January 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

  3. Perhaps not so nice for the butterfly, but still pleasant circumstances for the parasitic wasp!


    December 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    • A bit of a sad story, as the parasitic wasp was brought into New Zealand to prey on an introduced pest, the Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae). Unfortunately if found our endemic & native butterflies to be a suitable host!

      Neville Hudson

      January 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

  4. Those are some great field photographs, Dan.

    Paul D Brinkman

    January 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm

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