Not everyone thinks that the weta is a handsome fellow, except female
wetas perhaps. This shot taken by Kevin Parsons shows a striking pose by
a male tree weta (hemideina thoracica).
In present day New Zealand forest ecology the introduced mouse occupies
the niche that the weta formerly filled in pre-historic times.
Weta can live for 12 years and populations bounce back quickly with rat
and mouse control.
2008 – Chinese Year of the Rat!
1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Being born a Rat is nothing to be ashamed of. In China, the Rat is
respected and considered a courageous, enterprising person. It is deemed
an honour to be born in the Year of the Rat and it is considered a
privilege to be associated with a Rat. Rats know exactly where to find
solutions and can take care of themselves and others without problems.
They use their instinctive sense of observation to help others in times
of need and are among the most fit of all the Animal signs to survive
most any situation.
This photo shows a Cook’s Petrel (pterodroma
cookii) found dead on 12th March by Angela Hills between Mulberry Grove
and Gooseberry Flat. It has been killed almost certainly by a cat. The
head, and much of the breast meat is missing. It is one of four similar
deaths in Tryphena this year – and probably many more unreported. The
birds come in to nesting burrows on rocky headlands at night, and are
easily caught once on the ground. Cook’s Petrels are increasing on
Little Barrier following feral cat and rat eradication there, and these
dead birds at Tryphena may represent new colonists attempting to breed.
Photo by John Ogden.
In 2005 we ran an article entitled “Rats eat forest!” in which we
graphed the effects of kiore on the survival of karo (Pittosporum
crassifolium) in the Mercury Islands. This photo shows the effects of
rats on karo fruit at Awana – a selection of many hundreds of destroyed
fruits on top of the author’s water tank! Each fruit contains three
valves, each with seeds embedded in a sweet pulp – which is eaten by the
rats. In the process seeds are also eaten, and those remaining (black in
the photo) are not yet ripe. This sort of destruction takes place every
night throughout Great Barrier, and is one cause of the slow conversion
of scrub into mature bush. John Ogden