Plant-SyNZ™: an invertebrate herbivore biodiversity assessment tool

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What is Plant-SyNZ™

Plant-SyNZ™, pronounced plant signs, is the short name for a database of invertebrate herbivores found on New Zealand plants and for a tool for assessing the biodiversity of insect and mite herbivores on native plants.

Invertebrate herbivore - host plant database

This database focuses on New Zealand native plants and New Zealand native invertebrate herbivores. It is linked to the Landcare Research nzflora and nzbugs (invertebrates) databases. The Plant-SyNZ database features a reliability index to show the quality of information supporting each association.

Plant-SyNZ herbivore biodiversity tool

Plant-SyNZ™ is a tool for assessing the biodiversity of insect and mite herbivores on native plants. It was developed by Crop & Food Research and now managed by Landcare Research for use by professional scientists, lay people and school students. Insects are an important and numerous component of New Zealand’s biodiversity and it is important that they are assessed in biodiversity studies. Plant-SyNZ™ is based upon photographs of plant damage caused by the invertebrates and photographs of invertebrates that have a unique appearance on a particular plant. The tool is designed to be used for a wide variety of purposes and by people with different skill levels.

Central to Plant-SyNZ™ are invertebrate identification charts, which are laminated A4 pages featuring the photographs of plant damage. Each of these invertebrate identification charts covers only one plant species. The charts for each plant species are available for three levels of skill, student, standard and expert. The charts are accompanied by matching recording sheets. An example of an identification chart (pdf 82 KB) is also available.

A more detailed explanation of Plant-SyNZ™, including examples of identification charts as well as how to Plant-SyNZ™ might be used, is available.

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Primary Contact

Nicholas Martin
Address: Landcare Research
Private Bag 92170
AUCKLAND 1142
Tel: 09 574 4105
Email: martinm@landcareresearch.co.nz