The long history of human-mediated species introductions has resulted in a multitude of novel interactions around the globe. Many of these interactions have been to the detriment of native species. In New Zealand, the ship rat (Rattus rattus) is considered culpable for the rapid declines in the populations of numerous bird species. While seed masts have been implicated in rat population booms, alternative food resources, such as floral nectar, may play an underappreciated role in rat-bird interactions.
To be considered an effective pollinator, a floral visitor must not only be able to remove pollen but also transfer this pollen to a receptive conspecific stigma. While studies of diurnal pollination are commonplace, our understanding of the effectiveness of nocturnal pollinators is limited largely because of the difficulties of doing these studies at night. As a result of this, the way in which moths transfer pollen between flowers has been understudied globally, despite many authors suggesting they could be significant contributors to pollination.
The unique relationship between Dactylanthus taylorii and its pollinator, the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata), is poorly understood despite both species being threatened. We used data collected over two summers (2016 and 2017) to determine if mean ambient temperature and total daily rainfall during the flowering period affected flower visitation by bats. We placed dataloggers around D. taylorii inflorescences to monitor bats with implanted passive integrated transponders (PIT-tags).
Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that can be affected by habitat features in the immediate environment, termed here ‘local landscape features’. This study tested how five local landscape features (bare ground, native biodiversity plantings, homestead gardens, shelterbelts, and control areas of pasture) affect local pollinator communities on Canterbury farms. We also compared two sampling methods (flower visitation to native potted plants vs sticky traps) to determine if the sampling method affects the results of landscape-feature comparisons.
On a global-scale, moths (Lepidoptera) are considered to be important pollinators for many plant families. However, the assumption that moths are also involved in pollination in New Zealand is underpinned by relatively little research. Here we review the evidence for moth pollination of flowering plants in New Zealand and compare the quality of evidence available with that of the global literature.
Dactylanthus taylorii is thought to be the only ground-flowering plant to be pollinated by a bat; the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata). This unique mutualistic relationship is poorly understood despite both species being threatened. We placed dataloggers around distinct clumps of D. taylorii inflorescences to monitor bats with implanted passive integrated transponders (PIT-tags) and quantify visitation rates and demography during the late-summer flowering season.
With concerns about declines in pollinating bee species worldwide, there is renewed interest in solitary native bee species and their role in pollination services. We studied the foraging preferences and foraging distances of Lasioglossum sordidum (Halictidae), New Zealand’s smallest solitary bee, in urban Christchurch. Lasioglossum sordidum were abundant within the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Pollen samples taken from 40 bees at each of two nest sites were identified using a pollen reference collection from the sites.
There are currently many attempts in New Zealand to restore native ecosystem functioning through the intensive control of introduced mammalian predators. One system that is faltering is bird pollination of endemic mistletoes (Peraxilla tetrapetala) by bellbirds (Anthornis melanura), apparently because of stoat (Mustela erminea) predation. We used a paired-catchment experiment in Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides forest at Craigieburn, central South Island, to measure whether stoat control could restore bellbird densities and mistletoe pollination.
Native birds may have been underestimated as pollinators of the New Zealand flora due to their early decline in abundance and diversity on the mainland. This paper reconsiders the relative importance of birds and insects as pollinators to eight native flowering plants, representing a range of pollination syndromes, on two offshore island refuges. Experimental manipulations were made on five of these plant species to assess the relative effectiveness of bird and insect visitors as pollinators.
New Zealand flowers are frequently considered unspecialised allowing easy access to pollen and nectar by a wide range of visitors. Most conform with a syndrome of insect pollination (entomophily). Pollination of forest flowers by birds has been described for a range of species whose flowers are morphologically ornithophilous. On Kapiti Island and Little Barrier Island, all three species of New Zealand honeyeaters have been described feeding on flowers currently assumed to be entomophilous or where the pollination system is unknown.