Zealand has a highly distinctive flora and fauna, especially at higher
taxonomic levels (only Australia
has more endemic animal
families). About 52 % of New Zealands species are found nowhere else (CUP).
New Zealand forms its own biodiversity hotspot on
its own freshwater ecoregion (FEOW),
and also has a remarkable level of endemism in
marine life (PLOS
ONE). Overviews of New Zealand's
biodiversity can be found at (Biodiversity
Information Online) and (Landcare
Research pdf file).
Representatives of families of birds unique to New Zealand include the Great Spotted Kiwi (ARKive), the Kokako (EDGE), the South Island Wren (EDGE), the Stitchbird (ARKive), the extinct Piopio (NZ Birds Online), and the extinct Upland Moa (NZ Birds Online). The Kakapo (EDGE) and the Kea (ARKive) are also often placed in an endemic family (NZ Birds Online), as is the Whitehead (Creagrus). Other endemic birds include the Yellow-eyed Penguin (doc.govt.nz), the Snares Crested Penguin (NZ Penguins), the Southern Royal Albatross (ARKive), the New Zealand Pigeon (ARKive), the Orange-fronted Parakeet (doc.govt.nz), the Blue Duck (NZ Birds Online), the Paradise Shelduck (NZ Birds Online), the Black Stilt (EDGE), the Takahe (doc.govt.nz), the Wrybill (ARKive), the Chatham Islands Black Robin (doc.govt.nz), the New Zealand Storm-petrel (EDGE), and the Tui (ARKive).
The New Zealand Lesser Short-tailed Bat (EDGE) is the sole surviving member of the family Mystacinidae. Other endemic mammals include the Long-tailed Wattled Bat (TerraNature), the New Zealand Sea Lion (ARKive), and Hector's Dolphin (ARKive).
is one of four species in the endemic family Leiopelmatidae (NZ
The Tuatara (ARKive) is the sole member of not only an endemic reptile family, the Sphenodontidae, but of an entire order, the Rhynchocephalia (or Sphenodontia). Other endemic reptiles include the Nelson Green Gecko (NZHS), the Jewelled Gecko (NZHS), the Forest Gecko (NZHS), the Harlequin Gecko (ARKive), the Pacific Gecko (NZHS), Duvaucel's Gecko (NZHS), the Cook Strait Striped Gecko (NZHS), the Goldstripe Gecko (NZHS), the Otago Skink (ARKive), the Chevron Skink (doc.govt.nz), and Whitaker's Skink (ARKive).
The Torrentfish (FishBase) is sometimes considered to represent an endemic family, the Cheimarrichthyidae. Other endemic freshwater fish include Stokell’s Smelt (Rod Morris), the Black Flounder (Sciblogs), the Giant Kokupu (ARKive), the Brown Mudfish (TerraNatura), the Longfin Eel (Wikipedia), and the Redfin Bully (NIWA). Endemic marine fish include the Draughtsboard Shark (Wikipedia), the Mottled Hagfish Eptatretus poicilus (ResearchGate), the Striped Clingfish (Ryan Photographic), the Estuary Stargazer (Web NZ Fish Guide), the Southern Lemon Sole (FishBase), the Cryptic Triplefin (FishBase), the Oblique-swimming Triplefin (Ryan Photographic), the Fiordland Brotula (Te Ara), and the Scarlet Wrasse (Richard Robinson).
Insect families found nowhere else include primitive moths Mnesarchaeidae (John Grehan), the New Zealand Batfly (Te Ara), the huttoninid flies (Wikispecies), mayflies Rallidentidae (Landcare Research) and Siphlaenigmatidae (Landcare Research), scale insects Phenacoleachiidae (Scale Insects), a parasitic wasp Maamingidae (Te Ara), and several beetles: Agapythidae (Wikispecies), Cyclaxyridae (Wikispecies), and Metaxinidae (Wikispecies). The possibly extinct Frosted Phoenix Titanomis sisyrota (doc.govt.nz pdf file) may also represent an undescribed endemic moth family. The Giant Weta (Te Papa) is the world's heaviest insect. Other endemic insects include the Giraffe Weevil (Landcare Research), the Huhu Beetle (Te Papa), the Pitt Island Longhorn Beetle (ARKive), the Cromwell Chafer (ARKive), the New Zealand Bush Giant Dragonfly (TrekNature), the Chorus Cicada Amphipsalta zelandica (Landcare Research), the Forest Ringlet (Markku Savela), the world's skinniest caterpillar Houdinia flexilissima (Sciencelearn Hub), the Puriri Moth (Landcare Research), the New Zealand Glowworm (Te Ara), and the ant genus Huberia (AntWiki).
Other endemic invertebrate families include spiders Huttoniidae (Wikipedia), lace corals Cinctiporidae (p. 30 of NZ Fisheries pdf file), harvestmen Synthetonychidae (Opiliones Wiki), amphipods Paracrangonyctidae (Landcare Research) and Otagiidae (ResearchGate), crabs Neommatocarcinidae (p. 15 of Deepwater Group pdf file), an octocoral Taiaroidae (Facebook), and the bioluminescent New Zealand Freshwater Limpets (Landcare Research). Endemic land snails include Kauri snails (doc.govt.nz), the Flax Snail (ARKive), and Powelliphanta snails (doc.govt.nz). Endemic marine molluscs include the Blackfoot Paua (Te Papa) (NIWA), the Golden Volute (NZ Mollusca), and a nudibranch Janolus eximius (Sea Slug Forum). Other endemic invertebrates include a giant springtail Holacanthella (ResearchGate), koura (NIWA), the Nelson Cave Spider (ARKive), and five velvetworm species (Landcare Research).
The over 1800 vascular plant species restricted to New Zealand include the Kauri (ARKive), the Totara (Gymnosperm Database), the Chatham Island Christmas Tree (ARKive), the Kermadec Pohutukawa (Wikipedia), the Silver Tree Fern (Te Papa), the Poor Knights Lily (NZPCN), and the national flower, the Kowhai (Wikipedia). Endemic genera include the Kaka-beak (ARKive), the Odd-leaved Orchid (NZ Native Orchids), the Campbell Island Daisy (NZPCN), the Chatham Island Forget-me-not (NZPCN), the Toropapa (NZPCN), the Damnamenia (NZPCN), the New Zealand Gloxinia (NZPCN), the Elingamita (NZPCN), the Yellow Pine (Gymnosperm Database), the Toro (NZPCN), the Pīkao (doc.govt.nz), the Dactylanthus (doc.govt.nz), and the Cypress Hebe (NZPCN). The Tawari (NZPCN) is sometimes considered to represent an endemic family.
See also Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau.