Posts categorized as Bugs, insects and spiders

A recent blog about white-tailed spiders by spider expert Phil Sirvid prompted a flood of questions from our readers. Phil answers some of these and attempts to alleviate your fears. Dirty mouths Question: I was under the impression that although their bite wasn’t particularly venomous, they are what is called a ‘dirty mouthed’ spider….much like the Australian Blue Tongued Lizzard,… Read more »

Further flax weevil finds from farthest Fiordland

  • Flax weevil on Round Island, Preservation Inlet. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • Southern Winds in Cascade Basin at the head of Long Sound. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • Flax weevil larvae, Preservation Inlet, November 2017. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • Sites where flax weevil feeding sign was noted in Chalky and Preservation Inlets in November 2017. Red arrows show islands where live flax weevils were found. Map based on NatureWatch sightings contributed by the Te Papa and DOC team.

Until 2016, flax weevils (large flightless protected beetles) were known from a single island in Fiordland. Recent surveys by Te Papa and Department of Conservation staff have now found evidence of them on a further 56 Fiordland islands. Here, Te Papa scientist Dr Colin Miskelly reports on the latest findings from remote southern Fiordland. What… Read more »

New Zealand’s weirdest mosquitoes: The impatient males

The fore tarsal claw of the adult male mosquito to grab onto the female pupa. Credit: Julia Kasper

Curator Terrestrial Invertebrates Julia Kasper looks at the reproductive lives of our local mosquitoes. The salt pool mosquito (Opifex fuscus) can just be found in New Zealand and it is our only rock pool mosquito. From an evolutionary perspective they show quite ancient mosquito characteristics. They look stout, have a short proboscis (snout), and short… Read more »

Help us identify some 17th century butterflies, moths, and bugs: Part II

Hollar blog 2 plate 9

This is the second part to Dr Mark Stocker’s series of blogs asking you to help identify a number of butterflies, moths, and other insects in a series of 17th century prints by Anglo-Czech etcher Wenceslaus Hollar. Mark has been working with Te Papa bug experts Dr Phil Sirvid and Dr Julia Kasper to identify the insects but they… Read more »

Metamorphosis and pineapples: The illustrations of Maria Sibylla Merian

Detail from The Surinam Album

Who was Maria Sibylla Merian? Librarian Christine Kiddey uncovers the fascinating story of the woman behind the remarkable The Surinam Album, full of lavish illustrations of flora and fauna from the former Dutch colony of Suriname in South America. Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) was born in Frankfurt into a family of artists and book publishers, and… Read more »

At Te Papa we’re constantly photographing our collection items – whether that be art works, historical objects, or scientific specimens.  Recently, our imaging specialist Jean-Claude Stahl has taken pictures of some bizarre creatures – water bears, also known as tardigrades. Here, Jean-Claude explains why photographing a water bear is such a ‘bugbear’ and bug expert Phil Sirvid fills us in… Read more »

Wellington’s summer spiders

Male sheetweb spider

Ever felt like you’re removing more spiders from your home in summer compared to the rest of the year? Our bug expert Phil Sirvid explains why spiders are so prevalent in summer, and what kinds commonly turn up in Wellingtonian’s homes. The black-headed flax jumping spider While spider numbers in general are up during the warmer months,… Read more »

The ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ science education resource is here!


After 2 years of dedicated mahi (work), we are proud to share with you the It’s a Bug’s Life science education resource for ECE and Primary. Download the It’s a Bug’s Life resource This resource helps kaiako (educators – including those in the community and at home) to engage in science with young children (aged… Read more »