Scientists want to create a smartphone application so the public can help fight the spread of exotic pests.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research hopes to develop an app that will help with the identification of any foreign-looking plant, insect or fish.
Principal scientist John Clayton said the app would let people take a photo of something they find unusual, and then either identify it themselves or send it to scientists for identification.
He says NIWA and the Department of Conservation could provide identification advice.
Dr Clayton said similar apps are being used overseas, and one would be very useful in New Zealand if it was developed.