New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2000) 24(2): 209- 214

Mark-recapture study of mountain stone weta Hemideina maori (Orthoptera : Anostostomatidae) on rock tor 'islands'

Short Communication
Ian G. Jamieson 1
Mark R. Forbes 2
E. Brooke McKnight 1
  1. Department of Zoology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. Department of Biology, 2240 Herzberg Labs, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6

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. Few weta moved further than the rock adjacent to where they were first captured and only one dispersed to a neighbouring tor. On one tor, a relatively stable group of 6-8 females and 2 males was resighted during most of the summer period under one large rock. An analysis of our mark-recapture methodology and results indicates that H. maori may be an appropriate species for investigating population structure in a metapopulation context as well as local mate competition.