The Weta

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.

Dead Cooks Petrel

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

Karo Survival
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