Okiwi mussels

The Okiwi Estuary (Whangapoua, Aotea / Great Barrier Island) used to contain the last naturally occurring soft-sediment mussel reef in the Hauraki Gulf. “Aggregations ranged from a few individuals to meters in diameter. Mussels were frequently attached to pipis, partially buried in the sandy substrate. There were an estimated 3.2 million adults. Compared to other […]

Weeds on Motukorea

After the fire on Browns Island, lots of noxious weeds took hold. Although it looked like the crater was going to be dominated by bracken the weeds are winning. Black nightshade is dominant and there are thousands of woolly nightshades coming up, some as large as 1 meter wide already. Inkweed, apple of sodom and […]

Pray mantis identification

New Zealand has two praying mantises, the invasive South African praying mantis and the native New Zealand praying mantis. The easiest way to tell the two species apart is the shape of the head. The thorax (bit that connects their heads to their abdomens) is much wider on a New Zealand mantis so by comparison […]

Save Our Reserves

I have started work helping New Zealanders keep their Parks and Reserves. Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says that we have to “choose between using land for houses or cows”. This is ridiculous – saying our reserves are for cows is like saying Eden park is for lawn mowers!