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Hair sample identification and factsheets

Database of images of hairs from live animals and Māori artefacts. Use this online database of images and accompanying information to assist with identifying the species of origin of a sample of hairs.

Two sources of hair are represented, individual animals and artefacts.

Use the individual animal factsheets to familiarise yourself with hair features typical of each species. Then use the artefact factsheets to explore typical features of dog (kurī) hairs found in Māori artefacts. The hair features page provides diagrams and information explaining the diagnostic features to use when identifying hairs.


We thank the curatorial teams and rōpū Māori at Te Papa and Otago Museums, and the hapū from Ruatoki, especially Te Urewera, who supported this project, and allowed us to collect and photograph hairs from both taonga and skins. Kiore hair was collected from trapped individuals from Mauitaha Island, by Landcare Research staff in partnership with kaitiaki Ngātiwai. Thanks to Akuira Te Moana who collected hair samples from his pig dogs Lightning and Boss. Matariki Wehi and Tryphena Cracknell provided samples of their own hair for us to photograph. We thank GNS, Dunedin and the Centre for Material Science and Technology, University of Otago, for use of polarised microscopes and the trans-illuminator for macro photography built by Steve Tulloch. Many thanks to Brunner and Coman for permission to reproduce their images and text here, and Karen Scott of the Landcare Research communications team for her assistance developing this online tool. This project was supported by Marsden funding 13-UOO-187 and Rutherford Discovery Fellowship funding 14-LCR-001 from the Royal Society of NZ to PMW.


Gleeson DM, Byrom AE, Howitt RLJ. 2010. Non-invasive methods for genotyping of stoats (Mustela erminea) in New Zealand: potential for field applications. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 34(3), 356-359.

Brunner H, Coman B. 1974. The Identification of Mammalian Hair. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

Brunner H, Triggs B. (Ecobyte Pty Ltd.) 2002. Hair ID an interactive tool for identifying Australian mammalian hair. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Pub.


Lowe B & Wehi PM. 2017. New Zealand hair identification factsheets.
Accessed: (-- current date)