The distribution and abundance of lizards relative to habitat structure were studied at Pukerua Bay, Wellington between December 1982 and March 1988 in order to identify options for management of the habitat of the five species of lizards present. One species, Whitaker's skink (Cyclodina whitakeri), is a threatened species with only one known mainland population. Pitfall traps were set for 23 667 trap-days and yielded 2897 lizard captures. Highest capture rate was for common skinks (Oligosoma nigriplantare polychroma) and lowest rate was for C. whitakeri.
Tiritiri Matangi Island (‘Tiri’) in the Hauraki Gulf of the northern North Island of New Zealand was deforested, pastorally farmed, and then farming was abandoned in 1972. This history is typical of many northern New Zealand islands. The island’s modern history is less typical; since 1984 it has been the focus of a major restoration project involving thousands of volunteers. No original forest remains, but grazed secondary forest in a few valley bottoms covered about 20% of the island when farming was abandoned. Tiri’s wild vascular flora was recorded in the 1900s and again in the 1970s.
Pre-human New Zealand had some unusual feeding guilds of birds (e.g. the herbivorous moa fauna), thought to have developed as a result of the absence of a ‘normal’ mammal fauna. Insectivorous birds, on the other hand, are an integral part of all the world’s ecosystems, regardless of the presence or absence of mammals.