Archive for the ‘insect’ Category


Tree weta/ Putangatanga
hemideina species

Common in forest, orchards and gardens, especially in firewood sheds. They hide during the day in holes in trees, coming out at night to eat mostly fresh leaves, but also small insects. If handed roughly, they can inflict a painful bite , kick or scratch with their legs.

M5 found this weta in the garden


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GIANT Dragonfly

As we were finishing dinner outside we saw a BIG Dragonfly. As I (J12) raced to get the camera after he landed on the wall, mum got Andrew Crowe’s Which New Zealand Insect? . This is what he said:

Bush Giant Dragonfly/Kapokapowai
The male has broad claspers at back. Seen early summer to autumn, near the edge of   native forest. With a wingspan often reaching 13cm & a body length 79-86 mm, this is New Zealand’s largest Dragonfly. Clattering flight. Large eyes, far apart. It can eat 20 house flies in one hour and has been seen catching insects as large as cicadas. Yet the adults themselves are often eaten by rats, wild cats, kingfishers, and even wasps. The Maori name has been used for all large dragonflies and means “water snatcher”.  *Our* one was easily as big as they are supposed to get. It landed on K9 and gave her a bit of a fright, but took off before she had time to get too worried about it!      

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The Butterfly Emerges

Last night a saw this butterfly coming out of his chrysalis. Unfortunately his wings hardened before he (or she) could straighten them. I do not think he will survive. 

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metamorphosis miracle

This morning I saw that overnight one of the chrysalises that we had hopefully saved had hatched open. T3 was not as keen to have the butterfly on her hand as M5 was.

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famine on the way

On our seven swan plants I counted at least 70 caterpillars, one of which is making his chrysalis. In his book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, Eric Carl suggests caterpillars stay inside their cocoon (as he calls it) for “more than two weeks”, but we have noticed our monarchs stay in for only four to eight days. I’m not sure how many are going to survive, because there may not be enough food for the huge number of crawlies.   

When we weeded the garden we found two chrysalises lying on the path, so we tied them to some string hoping that they will survive (and that we will see them hatch open). K9 found the middle already staring to make its chrysalis one on a leaf which was on the ground. The chrysalis has finished  

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Caterpiller Chyisalis

By J11

This morning I saw a caterpillar on our swan plant starting to make his chrysalis. I thought that he would finish it in the night. But I just thought about it a few moments ago and went to see how much he had done and to my surprise he had finished it. The chrysalis is a lot more light and green than the other one that was done this morning.

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We found a moth on the curtain in the dining room and we wondered what it was. So we checked in Andrew Crowe’s “Which New Zealand Insect?” book. This is what he said:

 Northern Wattle Moth

From Australia. Common as far south as Nelson, February to April. Attracted to lights. The caterpillars eat the leaves of wattle trees. Known to early Maori who found the odd moth blown in from Australia beforethe first wattle trees were planted here, hence the Maori names: pepe kehue, pepe atua, para kori taua, all of which refer to the belief  that these mysterious moths were the returning spirits of ancestors. (A similar belief about noctuid moths is found in Madagascar.) Also known as owl, moon or peacoock moth from the ‘eye’ pattern on the wings, shining like a new moon or like the tail feathers of a peacoock.

Dasypodia species

I tried taking a photo, but they all turned out blurry. Better luck next time!

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