The striped gecko (Hoplodactylus stephensi) is one of the rarest and most elusive of New Zealand’s lizards. It is currently known from just three locations; Stephens Island (Takapourewa) in Cook Strait, Maud Island in Pelorus Sound, and the Coromandel Peninsula. The striped gecko is a relatively poorly studied species with little data available on many aspects of its biology. We report on the first estimate of longevity in H. stephensi (a minimum of 16 years) and provide baseline data on population structure, habitat use, morphometrics and pregnancy rate.
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.
The longevity of common geckos (Hoplodactylus maculatus) on predator-free Motunau Island, North Canterbury, was investigated. Sixteen of 133 individuals marked between 1967-75 were re-captured in the summer of 1996/97. A growth curve was generated to estimate the age of these geckos at first capture, and from this their age in 1996/97; 10 were estimated to be at least 36 years old. In this cool-temperate habitat, H. maculatus matures late and has a low annual reproductive output over an extended lifespan.
Nectar is an important factor influencing the level and persistence of butterfly populations, but particular sources of nectar may not be optimal for all species. In a farmland context, it is not always clear whether nectar sources used by butterflies are good quality species. They may be used opportunistically in the absence of true preferences, therefore possibly limiting maximal reproduction.
We highlight three areas of significant progress in ecology since 1989 which are particularly relevant to New Zealand, and three major challenges for the next two decades. Progress: (1) The unusual life histories of New Zealand organisms, including extreme longevity and low reproductive rates, are now seen as efficient responses to the low-disturbance environment present before the arrival of large mammals, including humans.