Scientists have discovered several new species of an ancient crustacean in parts of Southland, Canterbury and the West Coast.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says phreatoicids are tiny, blind isopods, similar to slaters.
NIWA says they date back 350 million years and have been found on four of the ancient lands of Gondwana's remnants, including Australia and New Zealand.
The agency says the animal has gone largely unnoticed since the 1940s, prompting an investigation into its conservation status.
It says the results found good numbers of the known species were found, as well as some new ones.