Posts categorized as Bugs, insects and spiders

NZ nature on screen

nzonscreen1

Last week on NZ On Screen we celebrated our unique natural heritage with the launch of a Nature collection. Aotearoa’s landforms and its magnificent menagerie of natural oddities – birds, insects, and trees like nowhere else on the planet – are showcased in 15 award-winning NHNZ productions – all full length and free to view…. Read more »

Lethiferous Latrodectus – part 1

Katipo spider

One of my previous posts discussed a recent study on New Zealand’s only endemic spider regarded as dangerous to people, the katipo. I thought readers might be interested to learn a little more about what’s behind the bad reputation of katipo and its’ close relatives. As I said then, katipo belongs to the genus Latrodectus,… Read more »

Latrodectus Love Bites

Latrodectus valentini (Valentine's widow spider)

  In honour of Valentine’s Day this post will look at the wonderful world of courtship in the spider genus Latrodectus, more commonly known as the widow spiders. Readers of my previous post will recall this genus includes species such as the American black widow (Latrodectus mactans), the Australian redback (L. hasseltii) and the New… Read more »

Valentines day: roses are what?

Image copyright Anton van Helden

  In Europe during the 1300s February 14th was thought to be the day when birds paired off to mate. This date was originally an ancient Greco-Roman pagan festival, and was later called St Valentines Day Feast by the Church. Since the 1300s, on February 14th each year, roses (and flowers in general),  have been widely accepted as gifts and… Read more »

Skin Deep Differences Don’t Matter In Katipo

katipo_350

Skin Deep Differences Don’t Matter in Katipo Having spent my last two postings dealing with butterflies and moths, it’s time to move on to the animals I love the most – spiders! The subject of this posting is the katipo spider (Latrodectus katipo), New Zealand’s only endemic spider known to be dangerous to humans. Katipo… Read more »

A Tiger with Crimson Wings

Cinnabar moth from Te Papa’s  ‘Blood Earth Fire’ exhibition (©Te Papa).

A Tiger with Crimson Wings  This post is inspired by Smiv’s reminiscences about cinnabar moth caterpillars when commenting on my previous blog entry: http://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2009/01/26/a-menu-for-monarchs/#comments Also, as adult cinnabar moths are on the wing this time of year in New Zealand summer and sightings always generate a number of calls to Te Papa’s entomology department, I… Read more »

A Menu for Monarchs

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  In the summer months I get plenty of phone calls and emails from monarch butterfly fanciers, all with a common problem: “My swan plants are almost stripped bare yet I have so many monarch butterfly caterpillars I really don’t know what to do. Is there anything else I can feed the caterpillars on?” This… Read more »