Radio collaring reveals long-distance movements of reinvading ship rats following landscape-scale control

Understanding rates of reinvasion is critical for determining what drives ship rat population recovery following large-scale control operations. We radio-tracked 23 adult ship rats on the edge of a forested area where rats had been suppressed by aerial compound 1080 in the Hollyford Valley, Fiordland. Eleven individuals died within two months of collaring and two individuals were never detected again, leaving us with data from 10 rats.

Movement behaviour of a translocated female ship rat and her offspring in a low rat density New Zealand forest

Dispersal is a fundamentally important aspect of animal behaviour, but empirical data describing it are lacking for many species. Here, we report on a field study aimed at measuring post-weaning movement distances of juvenile ship rats (Rattus rattus) and their mother away from a known natal nest site in an area with low conspecific population density. The movement behaviour of invasive species at low density is of particular interest, as it can inform design of surveillance arrays to detect incursion into predator-free areas.

Liberation and spread of stoats (Mustela erminea) and weasels (M. nivalis) in New Zealand, 1883–1920

This paper reviews the timing and spread of weasels and stoats across the South and North Islands of New Zealand during the late nineteenth century, entirely from historical records. The flavour of the debates and the assumptions that led to the commissioning of private and government shipments of these animals are best appreciated from the original documents.

The GPS craze: six questions to address before deciding to deploy GPS technology on wildlife

GPS and satellite technology for studies on wildlife have improved substantially over the past decade. It is now possible to collect fine-scale location data from migratory animals, animals that have previously been too small to deploy GPS devices on, and other difficult-to-study species. Often researchers and managers have formatted well-defined ecological or conservation questions prior to deploying GPS on animals, whereas other times it is arguably done simply because the technology is now available to do so.

Testing models for equilibrium distribution and abundance of insects

The Kean–Barlow model predicts how the equilibrium distribution and abundance of a population may be affected by local rates of increase, dispersal, colonisation, and extinction. Here, the model is parameterised for three insects: the Glanville fritillary Melitaea cinxia in Åland, Finland, the ribbonwood aphid Paradoxaphis plagianthi in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the coxella weevil Hadramphus spinipennis in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. The model was modified for the weevil to accommodate its unusual habit of overexploiting local resources.

Invasibility of native habitats by Argentine ants, Linepithema humile, in New Zealand

The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, was found established in New Zealand in 1990. During summer 2001/2002 the spread of Argentine ants from urban environments into native habitats was investigated. During an initial large-scale survey around the northern cities of Auckland and Whangarei, Argentine ants were observed at 35 of 211 sites. Eight sites in Auckland were subsequently surveyed in greater detail to determine the extent of movement by Argentine ants into native habitats.

Protected areas for kiwi in mainland forests of New Zealand: how large should they be?

This paper examines, theoretically, how dispersal affects the viability of brown kiwi populations in protected areas of different size. Brown kiwi are threatened by introduced mammalian predators in mainland forests and are likely to persist only in managed forests where predators are controlled. In each protected area, the kiwi population will function as a net source, with an outflow of juveniles into the adjoining forest and minimal backflow into the reserve.

Summer/autumn movements, mortality rates and density of feral ferrets (Mustela furo) at a farmland site in North Canterbury, New Zealand

For two summer/autumn periods (1999, 2000), we studied the movements and survival of feral ferrets (Mustela furo L.) at a site in North Canterbury that had been previously subjected to intensive control of ferrets. Movement distances of juvenile ferrets from the place of initial to final capture were generally low (median = 1.2 km) though variable [mean = 2.5 ± 1.0(±S.E.M.), range 0.1-21.7 km]. The estimated instantaneous mortality rate of juvenile ferrets was high (mean = 0.8 per year), though imprecise (95% C.I.

Fruit features in relation to the ecology and distribution of Acaena (Rosaceae) species in New Zealand

Fruit features of 17 Acaena species in New Zealand were investigated to determine the relations between reproductive allocation patterns, mode of dispersal and species ecology. Three basic morphological types, corresponding to major sections within the genus, are represented: spineless fruits (Sect. Pteracaena—one species), spined fruits lacking barbs (Sect. Microphyllae—6 species), and spined fruits with barbs (Sect. Ancistrum—10 species).

Mark-recapture study of mountain stone weta Hemideina maori (Orthoptera : Anostostomatidae) on rock tor 'islands'

Mountain stone weta (Hemideina maori) on the Rock and Pillar Range in the South Island, New Zealand, are found primarily in cavities under flat rocks on isolated outcrops or 'tors'. We marked 66 adult weta on one tor and 30 adults on an adjacent tor and recorded their location during the summer and for the following three years to obtain baseline data on survival, longevity, dispersal, and movement within tors. It was not uncommon for adult weta to live for two to three years. Most marked weta were resighted at least once, usually under the same rock.