There are at least three hypotheses to account for the abundance of divaricating shrubs in New Zealand: 1) Ratites in the form of 11 species of moa, led to divarication for browse protection (Greenwood and Atkinson, 1977); 2) Divarication evolved as a microclimatic shield (McGlone and Webb, 1981); 3) Divarication evolved to aid leaves in light harvesting (Kelly, 1994). In Patagonia before human arrival, there were browsing mammals in addition to the ratite rhea.
Assays for the toxin sodium monofluoroacetate (compound 1080) were undertaken on arthropods collected from toxic baits after a brushtail possum (Trichosorus vulpecula) control operation in Nothofagus forest in central North Island, New Zealand. The 1080 concentrations measured (mean 57 mu g per g, max 130 mu g per g) are considerably higher than those reported by other researchers who collected arthropods randomly after control operations.
We monitored the behaviour of 62 radio-collared ferrets and 25 radio-collared cats in dry, tussock grassland habitat in New Zealand's South Island. The total home range of adult male ferrets (102 ± 58 ha, mean ± 1 s.d.) was marginally greater than that of females (76 ± 48 ha), and averaged 90 ± 55 ha. Male ferret core ranges (27 ± 15 ha) were larger than those of females (16 ± 8 ha). Adult cat home ranges were similar between sexes, and were larger and more variable than those of ferrets (225 ± 209 ha). Core range size of cats was similar between sexes and averaged 54 ± 24 ha.
Food of the North Island kaka (Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis) on Kapiti Island was identified while quantifying the foraging activity of nine radio-tagged birds from March 1991 to January 1992. Additional food types were identified by opportunistic observation of feeding birds and qualitative examination of nestling faeces. A diverse range of food was taken, including wood-boring invertebrates, scale insects, seeds, nectar or pollen, fruits, and sap.
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.
We examined possum trapping data collected from 1945 to 1989 in the Pararaki catchment to assess whether there was any evidence for a major natural decline in possum numbers several decades after colonisation and whether the population has subsequently shown any long-term trend in abundance. The catchment was probably colonised by possums around 1915-20. We found evidence for a major decline (c. 80%) in possum numbers between 1945 and 1965. There was no significant trend in our trap catches from 1965 to 1976, but in 1977 there was a further abrupt decline.
Introduced feral pigs (Sus scrofa) include native fruit and seed in their diet, and thus may act as seed dispersers if seeds are passed intact. The aim of this study was to determine whether pigs consume, and subsequently disperse, intact seeds of the New Zealand native tree matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia). Two captive pigs were fed 100 ripe fruit of matai and their faeces were checked for seeds for 4 days. Fourteen intact seeds (14%) were recovered and 57% of these germinated under glasshouse conditions, comparable with germination from hand-cleaned seeds.