New Zealand

Biomass allocation in subantarctic island megaherbs, Pleurophyllum speciosum (Asteraceae) and Anisotome latifolia (Apiaceae)

We analysed biomass allocation of Pleurophyllum speciosum (Asteraceae) and Anisotome latifolia (Apiaceae) to explore the 'megaherb' phenomenon, the apparent importance of large-leaved, colourful forbs on southern oceanic offshore islands. The two species had similar shoot dry weights, with high leaf:stem ratios. Even within the megaherb form there are differences in shoot allocations, with Pleurophyllum investing more biomass in rhizome than foliage, compared with Anisotome.

A pragmatic approach to characterising insect communities in New Zealand: Malaise trapped beetles

Insect communities from a range of successional vegetation stages on the central North Island volcanic plateau were characterised and compared using Malaise trapped beetle samples. Results were derived from sampling series conducted in a total of ten sites over three separate summers. Divisive classification successfully grouped samples according to four main habitat types despite temporal and spatial separation of samples within these groups. A four-week period in early summer was found to be optimum for sample discrimination according to the main vegetation types.

Genetic variation in Aciphylla glaucescens (Apiaceae)

Population structure, diversity and gene flow in four populations of Aciphylla glaucescens were studied using allozymes. Six of the seven putative loci were polymorphic in at least one population. Within populations the mean percentage of polymorphic loci was 68%. Gene diversity for Aciphylla glaucescens (H-e = 0.258) was greater at the species level compared with other outcrossing, wind pollinated plant species (H-e = 0.162). The mean diversity among populations of A.

An evaluation of the efficiency of rodent trapping methods: The effect of trap arrangement, cover type, and bait

Eradication of rodent species from some offshore islands has proved to be an effective means of conserving native animal communities and restoring natural ecological processes on the islands. As methods of eradication differ fur different rodent species, a truthful monitoring method to detect species presence and relative density is essential for a successful eradication programme.

Rediscovery of short-tailed bats (Mystacina sp.) in Fiordland, New Zealand: Preliminary observations of taxonomy, echolocation calls, population size, home range, and habitat use

Short-tailed bats (Mystacina sp.) were rediscovered in Nothofagus dominant rainforest in the Eglinton Valley in February 1997, representing the first records of these bats in Fiordland since 1871. Breeding females, adult males and juveniles were captured. This paper presents preliminary observations of taxonomy, echolocation calls, population size, habitat use, activity patterns, home range size, movements, roosting, and singing behaviour. Compared to lesser short- tailed bats (M.

Generalist entomopathogens as biological indicators of deforestation and agricultural land use impacts on Waikato soils

The relative abundance of entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi was estimated for 10 sites in each of indigenous forest, pasture, and cropland habitats by baiting soil samples with Galleria larvae. The steinernematid Steinernema feltiae (Filip) was the dominant nematode, occurring in soils from all three habitat types. The heterorhabditid Heterorhabditis zelandica Poinar was recovered only from soils of podocarp (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (A. Rich.)) forests.

Comparison of two techniques for assessing possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) diet from stomach contents

Two techniques for assessing possum (Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr) diet from stomach contents ("point-sampling" and "layer- separation") are described and compared. Point-sampling involves sieving stomach contents, systematically selecting fragments from the retained material then, identifying and weighing these. Layer-separation involves separation, identification, and weighing of the discrete layers apparent in most possum stomach contents. In 41 of 43 stomachs examined, we were able to separate discrete layers that nearly always comprised a single food item.

Space use and denning behaviour of wild ferrets (Mustela furo) and cats (Felis catus)

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.

Effect of flowering on vegetative growth and further reproduction in Festuca novae-zelandiae

Flowering intensity and plant size were monitored in 155 Festuca novae-zelandiae individuals over four years to determine if trade-offs exist between inflorescence production and vegetative growth, and between inflorescence production in different years. Less than half of the population flowered in any one year, 36% of individuals did not flower at all, and only 17% flowered in all four years of the study. Mean number of inflorescences per individual per year varied from 1.54 to 5.53 (maximum = 85).

The diet of the North Island kaka (Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis) on Kapiti Island

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.