New tools for weta (DNA) workshop

Banks Peninsula is home to an endangered tree weta rather imaginatively called the Banks Peninsula tree weta (or Hemideina ricta to its friends). This species is only found on the eastern edges of the peninsula and there is a concern that its range is still shrinking. Lincoln University scientists have…

Vegetarian zombie weevils rise from down under

A Canterbury Knobbled Weevil on Aciphylla.Photo by Mike Bowie, Lincoln University(used with permission). In 2004, in an unsuspecting sleepy town in South Canterbury, zombies rose from the dead. Headlines were dedicated to spreading the news, zoologists world-wide were excited, all due to the rediscovery of a species thought to be…

Parasites lost

One aspect that is often overlooked when thinking about biological invasions is that in addition to the invading species, be it a bird, beetle or banana, there are usually associated parasite species that come along for the ride. More intriguingly, sometimes one of the reasons why invasive species are so…

More ‘What did you do in your summer holidays’

Hamish Patrick, an undergraduate at Lincoln University, was awarded a summer scholarship to survey the Lepidoptera fauna of Otamahua from November 2009 to February 2010 with his supervisor Mike Bowie. Light-trapping on Otamahua involved using a powerful mercury-vapour lamp powered by a portable generator. During his nocturnal forays Hamish collected,…

Two bees or not two bees?

The short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus) is the rarest of four bumblebees introduced to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century for pollinating clover and other important crops. Recently the same species has gone extinct in the UK, the last recording of it there being in 1988. Not…

Flower power and its effects on the biocontrol activity of an omnivorous insect

This blog post was written by postgraduate student Marlene Leggett as part of the course, Research Methods in Ecology (Ecol 608). Omnivorous insects are interesting and important beings, consuming both plant and animal matter. In agroecosystems they have been identified as potential biological control agents since they eat pest insects….

BioBlitz Lincoln 2009: 1637 species in 24 hours!

On the 3–4 April 2009 hundreds of people gathered at the Liffey Stream in Lincoln to experience the chaos of exploration and discovery that is a BioBlitz. This 24 hour scientific race against time and educational event was held in conjunction with Lincoln Envirotown, Lincoln University and Landcare Research. The…