Posts categorized as Bugs, insects and spiders

Past and present fauna of Mt Owen, north-west Nelson

A speargrass weevil (Lyperobius clarkei) on an on the speargrass Aciphylla ferox speargrass.

As well as impressive plants, Mount Owen and the Marino Mountains are also zoologically interesting. The wet weather may have prevented us reaching the summit of Mount Owen but it did bring out the slugs and snails. We spotted a giant leaf-veined slug (Amphikonophora gigantea) beside the track on the lower flanks of the mountain…. Read more »

Khandallah kids go ‘behind the scenes’ – a student’s response

Khandallah School Room 5 visiting Te Papa's Natural Sciences collection. Photographer: Scott Ogilvie © Te Papa

On Monday, I wrote a blog about Khandallah School’s visit to our bird and insect collection. It was clear to me that the students had a wonderful time – but why not let them tell you that! This post has been written by Lara from Room 5. Last Friday I was so excited, it was… Read more »

A plague of flax weevils – a conservation hyper-success story

  • Dead flax bushes as the flax weevil release site on Mana Island, Nov 2013. Image: Jeff Hall, Department of Conservation
  • Tui feeding on flax nectar. Image: Craig McKenzie, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Flax weevils on a flax flower stalk at night on Mana Island, Nov 2013. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Flax weevils browse on an immature flax flower spike at night on Mana Island, Nov 2013. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Most people think of weevils as little maggoty grubs that infest stored grain products. Which is true, but the reality is that the weevil family is the most diverse family of organisms on the planet, with more than 50,000 species. Weevils are beetles, and adults are characterised by having a long snout and antennae bent… Read more »

Khandallah kids go ‘behind the scenes’

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Readers may remember that as part of sunfish science extravaganza, a group of Khandallah School students won our competition to name the fish. Their winning name was Sunny Bill, and this morning they visited our natural history collection as part of their prize. The 28 students from room 5 arrived at the Tory St building… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 3. Prion lice

Giant body louse (male)

Here is the third instalment in our series of blogs all about prions!  This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For more details… Read more »

New Zealand plants abroad part 2: the troublemakers.

Cordyline australis on the Munro Trail, Lanai Island, Hawaii. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr (http://www.starrenvironmental.com/)

My previous blog featured New Zealand native plants that are cultivated overseas. However, some of our native plants, including many of the species I recently saw in UK gardens, have gone ‘rogue’ and are considered invasive species in some countries. For example our pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas tree; Metrosideros excelsa) is invading parts of South… Read more »

A few more botanical highlights from the Foxton fieldtrip….and a katipo spider!

  • Taking a break from botanizing Viv McGlynn managed to locate this female Katipo spider under a piece of driftwood in the dunes.
  • Sand coprosma (Coprosma acerosa). The fruit colour of this species can vary but the plants we saw in the dunes near Foxton had striking blue fruit.
  • The keen eyes of Bot Soc member Bev Abbott spotted the tiny fruit of sand gunnera (Gunnera arenaria).
  • The distinctive asymmetric flower of Selliera rotundifolia.

I also spent an enjoyable few days over Easter on the Wellington Botanical Society fieldtrip (see Leon’s blog about the trip). Here are a few more photos from the trip. It is difficult to believe that this tiny native species is in the same genus as the huge Chilean rhubarb. The leaves of this weedy… Read more »

Critters of the Poor Knights Islands

  • Purple rock crabs (Leptograpsus variegatus) scavenge the corpse of a Buller's shearwater, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Turbott’s weevil (Anagotus turbotti) on ngaio, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Flax weevil (Anagotus fairburni) feeding on flax/harakeke, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult clapping cicada (Amphipsalta cingulata), Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 2) – subterranean Poor Knights Islands

  • Flax snail (Placostylus hongii) inside a shearwater burrow on Aorangi Island, as viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Flax snail (Placostylus hongii) inside a shearwater burrow on Aorangi Island, as viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Two fully-grown kingfisher chicks inside their burrow on Aorangi Island, viewed through a burrowscope. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Kingfisher burrow entrance, Aorangi Island, Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly recently visited the Poor Knights Islands Nature Reserve, off the Northland coast, as part of a research team tracking the at-sea movements of Buller’s shearwaters. The project is led by Graeme Taylor of the Department of Conservation, and is intended to identify the marine environments used… Read more »