Field palatability and degradation of a selection of feral cat bait matrices on Auckland Island

Primary poisoning is an important method to ensure the successful eradication of cats (Felis catus) from large islands. Poison bait options for feral cat eradications and landscape-scale control in New Zealand are limited at present. As part of the development of a toxic bait for cats that can be aerially distributed, a nontoxic palatability trial was undertaken on Auckland Island to compare three types of prototype meat-based bait and one currently registered fishmeal polymer pellet for their palatability to feral cats and non-target species.

Provenance variation in fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) in relation to palatability to possums

Fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) has been heavily browsed and often killed by brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in many New Zealand indigenous forests, but remains healthy at some sites despite long histories of possum occupation. To determine whether fuchsia varied genetically in its palatability to possums, material from six widely dispersed stands (provenances) was propagated, and leaf chemistry, leaf morphology, growth rate, and palatability to captive possums was compared.

Herbivore damage and leaf loss in the New Zealand pepper tree ('kawakawa', Macropiper excelsum, Piperaceae)

The pattern of herbivore damage on the New Zealand pepper tree (kawakawa; Macropiper excelsum) caused by its main insect herbivore (Cleora scriptaria) was investigated in the field and laboratory. In the field, only a small proportion of kawakawa leaves had no herbivore damage and C. scriptaria typically produced a number of small holes in each leaf. Leaves were shed at a rapid rate but leaf shedding was not increased by higher levels of herbivore damage.