Understanding when a species is active in its’ environment is essential when designing inventory and monitoring protocols, especially for ectotherms whose activity depends on local weather conditions. The New Zealand alpine zone hosts a diverse native assemblage of invertebrates that are poorly understood yet likely to face an increasing number of threats, particularly associated with climate change and the range expansion of introduced pests.
The eradication operations to remove stoats (Mustela erminea) from islands in Fiordland provided an opportunity to assess the diet of stoats in areas with no rodents or with only mice (Mus musculus) available as mammalian prey. The carcasses of stoats trapped on Chalky Island in 1999, Secretary Island and the adjacent mainland in 2005, and Resolution Island in 2008 were collected and their gut contents analysed. On rodent-free Chalky Island, most of the stoats had consumed birds, mostly passerines.
European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) have recently been identified as a conservation threat in New Zealand. Hedgehogs were kill-trapped at 14 wetland and braided riverbed sites in the upper Waitaki Basin between late October 1997 and early February 1998 and their gut contents described. The most commonly eaten prey were Coleoptera (present in 81% of 192 guts), Lepidoptera (52%; n = 192), Dermaptera (49%; n = 192), Hymenoptera (42%; n = 192) and Orthoptera (31%; n = 319).
To examine the seasonal availability of the major bellbird (Anthornis melanura) food sources in a mountain beech (Nothofagus solandrivar. cliffortioides) forest at Craigieburn, the invertebrate, honeydew, and mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetala and Alepis flavida) fruit and nectar resources were sampled over 12 months. The total available food varied 2.6-fold from a low in October (8798 kJ/ha) to a high in December (22,959 kJ/ha) with an annual mean of 15,782 kJ/ha.