Invertebrates in Marlborough
Invertebrates are a diverse range of animals that includes worms, molluscs, insects, arachnids, crustaceans and more. Invertebrates lack a backbone, and represent more than 90 percent of varieties of all animal species globally, with potentially an even higher percentage in New Zealand, where terrestrial vertebrates are limited to birds and two bat species. Many species of invertebrates are found throughout Marlborough including introduced pest species such as wasps cockroaches, and garden snails, while there are some unique endemic species found nowhere else in the world such as the endangered Mat Daisy Jumper (Kiwaia), found only along a section of Rarangi beach. The endangered katipō spider is found along Marlborough's east coast.
Invertebrates can be found in all habitats including marine and freshwater environments, to alpine areas, with many well adapted to human environments.
Invertebrates are an important part of Marlborough's economy, with kuku or Greenshell Mussels (Perna canaliculus), an iconic species farmed in the Marlborough Sounds, while pāua and kōura (rock lobster) are important species harvested along the eastern coastline of Marlborough south to Kaikōura. Giant squid off Marlborough's coast are another important invertebrate although rarely seen, as they provide food for sperm whales which have become a popular tourist attraction.