Northland iwi gives new tribal name to new species of pygmy pipehorse in ‘world first’

Kaumātua of a Northland iwi was first involved in the appointment of a new Pygmy pipehorse.

The newly discovered pygmy seahorse species, a seahorse-like fish, received the scientific name Cylix tupareomanaïa.

Its common name will be manaia pygmy pipehorse, or tu pare o manaia.

The Auckland Museum said the species was first seen by divers at Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve in 2011, but it was believed to be another rare species of seahorse. called Seahorse jugumus.

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It wasn’t until a photo was posted to Facebook in 2017 that Graham Short of the California Academy of Sciences acknowledged that it may be a new species. He then teamed up with Dr Thomas Trnski of the Auckland Museum to confirm the find.

The common name of the new species is manaia pygmy pipehorse, or tu pare o manaia.

Irene Middleton @ seacologyNZ / Supplied

The common name of the new species is manaia pygmy pipehorse, or tu pare o manaia.

According to a press release from the Auckland Museum, the new species has “almost entirely” been observed in Ngātiwai territory in Northland.

For this reason, it was decided that the iwi leadership should be involved in his appointment.

Regarding its scientific name, Cylix comes from the Greek and Latin word for a cup or chalice – referring to the cup-shaped ridge on top of the pipehorse’s head.

Tupareomanaïa refers to “the garland of manaia” – manaia being the Maori name for the seahorse.

The tu pare o manaia is small, with a maximum size of only six centimeters.

Irene Middleton @ seacologyNZ / Supplied

The tu pare o manaia is small, with a maximum size of only six centimeters.

Ngātiwai kaumātua Hori Parata said that naming the species was important to his iwi because they knew their tupuna (ancestors) stories about them.

“We are happy to have given this species a new name that affirms the mana of Ngātiwai and would like to thank the kaumātua for their involvement in this very special work.

Trnski said it was the first animal in the world to have a tribal name included as far as he knew.

“It is a belated recognition of traditional knowledge that can contribute to the discovery of new species. “

The tu pare o manaia is small, with a maximum size of just six centimeters, the Auckland Museum said.

They live in algae and their colors and size make them difficult to see as they blend into their habitat.

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