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Synotaxid Spiders

Episode:13Te Papa Collection:Natural Environment

Suggested curriculum levels:4 – 7

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Science: Nature of Science Living World

Description:There are thousands of spiders waiting to be discovered in New Zealand. Riria Hotere dares to have an eight-legged experience in Te Papa's arachnid collection.

Questions for students

  1. Choose some of the specialised vocabulary you've heard, such as 'arachnid', 'entomologist' and 'synotaxid'. Use the 'Words' response template to research the derivations of the words and what they mean. Add any words you find that are similar in some way. Clues: check the derivations and meanings of 'synonym' and 'taxonomy'.
  2. Why does it 'fascinate entomologists' that there are so many species of spider in New Zealand? Why do you think New Zealand has so many unique spiders?
  3. How can entomologists know there are still so many unnamed species?
  4. What processes might scientists use to give a name to a new species? How can you find out more about this?
  5. What special features might spiders in New Zealand have developed to help them survive that are different from spider species in other parts of the world? Why do you think this?

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