The diets of feral pigs and feral goats shot on the main Auckland Island in 1989 are described from analyses of stomach and rumen contents. Feral goats ate at least 50 species of plants, but only three, Metrosideros umbellata, Chionochloa antarctica, and Durvillea antarctica made up over 50% by dried weight of the food eaten. Feral pigs ate a mixed plant and animal diet, of which plants made up 61% of the diet, with the megaherb Anisotome antipoda being the largest dietary item at 38% by dried weight.
We studied the ecology of a high-density population of stoats in Fiordland, New Zealand, in the summer and autumn of 1990-91 following a Nothofagus seeding in 1990. Results are compared with findings from the same area in 1991-92, a period of lower stoat density. In the high-density year, minimum home ranges (revealed by radio-tracking) of four females averaged 69 ha and those of three males 93 ha; range lengths averaged 1.3 km and 2.5 km respectively. Neither difference was statistically significant.
The objective of this study was to quantify the population dynamics, morphological characteristics, and diet of rodents on Rangitoto Island (Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand) to provide information for the future development of an eradication strategy. An aerial 1080 operation to eradicate possums and wallabies was carried out two months after the study began. The effects of this operation on rodent population dynamics are discussed. Both ship rats (Rattus rattus) and mice (Mus musculus) were trapped on Rangitoto Island over a 15 month period.
The ability of feral goats to become pests is partly a consequence of the process of domestication. Neolithic people selected biological characteristics from wild goats, such as higher intrinsic rates of increase and increased sociability that have resulted in their domestic descendants becoming a particular nuisance when they escape to become feral. Feral goats live in about 11 % of New Zealand, mostly on land reserved for conservation of the indigenous biota. Their uncontrolled densities are usually less than 1 ha-1, but have reached 10 ha-1 in one area.
Prey collected by Vespula vulgaris and V. germanica were sampled by intercepting foragers returning to nests at two sites in scrubland-pasture near Hamilton. About 12% of returning foragers carried animal prey and 5% carried wood pulp. The remaining 83% carried no external load. The most common prey item for both species was Diptera, followed by Lepidoptera and Araneae (spiders). Even in similar habitats the two species collected different prey, with V. germanica collecting more Diptera and V. vulgaris more Lepidoptera.
The abundance and diet of stoats (Mustela erminea) were compared before and after an aerial 1080-poison operation for possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in a New Zealand podocarp- hardwood forest. Poisoning dramatically reduced ship rat (Rattus rattus) abundance. Although rats were the main prey item of stoats before the poisoning, stoat abundance was unaffected by the operation and there was a change in stoats' diet from rats to birds. The conservation benefits and risks of undertaking such operations are not clear.
The fish prey consumed by New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) was investigated by analysis of faeces collected between February and August at sites on the east and west coasts of South Island, New Zealand. Twelve species were identified from otoliths recovered from faeces. Lanternfish (Symbolophorus sp. and Lampanyctodes hectoris), the most frequent fish prey, comprised 79% of all otoliths, followed by anchovy (Engraulis australis) at 12%, ahuru (Auchenoceros punctatus) with 3.9%, and hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) at 3.7%.
Low acceptance of protein baits by common (Vespula vulgaris) and German (V. germanica) wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) occurred after rain in honeydew beech forest. This corresponded with a sharp decrease in the proportion of natural protein in the diet of V. vulgaris and V. germanica, and a reduction in the concentration of carbohydrate-rich honeydew in the crops of foraging wasps carrying liquid.
Feral cats became established on Raoul Island some time between 1836 and 1872; the prey available to them included a great variety of nesting seabirds, few of which are present now, landbirds and kiore (Rattus exulans). Norway rats reached the island in 1921, providing additional prey for cats, but also another potential predator of seabirds. The diet of cats is described from guts and scats collected between 1972 and 1980. Rats are the main food, with land birds second in importance, and seabirds are now a minor item.
Fallow deer did not prefer either of the two main canopy species (silver beech, Nothofagus menziesii, and radiata pine, Pinus radiata), or any of the common indigenous shrubs, ferns, herbs and monocotyledons in three habitat types (beech, shrub-hardwood, and exotic forest). They did prefer all the common sub canopy tree species, and these comprised the bulk of diet in all habitats. Broadleaf (Griselinia littoralis) was the most important single food, with litterfall being its dominant source.