A preserved giant weta in a jar with a very long worm coming out of its behind

Despite appearances, this is not a mutant tree wētā. The coils emerging from the rear of the wētā belong to one or more Gordian (or horsehair) worms. Bug expert Dr Phil Sirvid explains the bizarre behaviour of this parasitic worm and why this specimen is a tour favourite.Read more

Imaging specialist Jean-Claude Stahl explains why photographing a water bear is such a ‘bugbear’ and bug expert Phil Sirvid fills us in on exactly what a water bear is, and why they are one of the most indestructible creatures on the planet.Read more

Flax jumping 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.Read more

Te Papa’s entomology collection is now home to 66 native sand scarab beetles (Pericoptus sp.) from the estate of L.H. McDowall. In the 1960s, McDowall illustrated insect guide books such as ‘Native Beetles’ and ‘Native and Introduced Butterflies and Moths’. A collection of her original illustrations was also recently acquiredRead more

The spider in question. Happily sunning itself on my curtain. © Te Papa

A couple of colleagues pointed out there was something a little odd about the spider I thought was a juvenile redback spider in Scott Ogilvie’s post. This spider, named Fabergé – as in Fabergé egg, for her ovoid shape and pretty pattern-  is nothing of the kind despite my initialRead more

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, katipoRead more

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.Read more

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 toRead more

This post is inspired by Smiv’s reminiscences about cinnabar moth caterpillars when commenting on my previous blog entry. 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 thoughtRead more

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 feedRead more