Nothing to see here: the case of the disappearing katipo

 Mislaid. We’ve all done it. We all have things that we know that we had once but can no longer find. From a stray sock to our hopes and dreams, life is full of lost things. Sometimes things are just gone. The broken vase, the wrecked lamp, the old decrepit chair…

What’s up with NZ sand dune habitats? Do a PhD and find out

Opportunity for PhD study: Quantifying ecosystem function in New Zealand sand dune habitats Understanding causes of variation in ecosystem function is critical for conserving and restoring ecosystems in the face of global change processes, such as climate change, land use change and species invasions. Key functions of sand dune ecosystems…

Staying with your relatives at the beach

Most years of my life I have spent the summer holidays staying at a beach. Usually the beach is at Kaka Point, a great sandy beach at the northern end of the Catlins in southern South Island. New Zealand has an enormous coastline full of beaches, most  further north and…

There is only one species of katipo in New Zealand

About the katipo The katipo spider (Latrodectus katipo) is a small spider, their abdomens are about the size of one of your fingernails. They are black and often have a pretty red stripe down their back,   hence their Australian cousins are called “Red Backs”. In the North Island there is…

Handling live redback spiders: keep cool?

Mortal peril, danger, excitement, injuries, scientist. Not all of these words usually go together. People would rarely equate being a zoologist as a high risk professions. These same people are quite happy to accept the Steve Irwins and Bear Grylls of this world and appreciate the danger that they are…

Counting Katipo and the known unknowns

Former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld made the following observation: “because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But…