New Zealand Fauna is a collection of my natural history related rambleings and photography.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Praying Mantis Cannibalism

Praying Mantis, Miomantis caffra.

Regrettably one my free range pet mantids had an unfortunate meeting with a door.

I put it outside for my favourite ant colony, theyre Rhytidoponera chalybea, but guess what turned up for dinner.

Certainly in the case of this mantis at least it proves that mantis are opportunistic feeders and will take dead animals at times.

More images

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mauao, Mt Maunganui.

Mauao, Mt Maunganui.

Mauao is the sacred mountain at the entrance to Tauranga Harbour. Its name, meaning "caught by the dawn", comes from the following Maori legend.

There was once a nameless hill. He was a pononga or slave to the great mountain called Otanewainuku. Nearby there lived a hill called Puwhenua,she was beautiful clothed by Tane Mahuta, the God of the Forest in his many varied colours. The nameless one desired Puwhenua, but her heart had already been won by Otanewainuku. So in despair he decided to drown himself in Te Moananui-a-Kiwa the Pacific Ocean.He called upon his friends the Patupaiarehe fairy people who dwelt in the dark of the forest. The Patupaiarehe were people of the night and possessed magical powers. The nameless one knew with their help he could fulfill his wish. When night fell they wraped the nameless one with ropes and began to pull him towards the ocean. As the Patupaiarehe pulled the nameless one along they carved a valley as they went. The tears of the nameless one filled this valley and became the Waimapu River,which still flows to this day.By the time they got the nameless one to the ocean shore the first rays of the sun were lighting the eastern sky.The Patupaiarehe being people of the night retreated back to the shadows of the forest leaving the nameless one at the place where he now stands.He was given the name Mauao,"caught by the dawn".

Images can be found here:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tauranga Harbour

Tauranga with a population of approxomately 108,000 is the sixth largest city in New Zealand.

Tauranga is located at the head of a large harbour which extends along the western Bay of Plenty, and is protected from the Pacific Ocean by Matakana Island.

Matakana Island extends 24 km between the Katikati entrance at Bowentown and the Tauranga entrance at Mt Maunganui.

The harbour is a large tidal estuary with an area of some 200 square km. Approximately 290,000,000 tonnes of water flow through the entrances at each tidal change.

The Tauranga harbour entrance is the shipping channel provideing access to the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand’s largest export port.
Total cargo through the Port for 2005 was 12.6 million tonnes.Compriseing import cargo of 5.2 million tonnes and export of 7.3 million tonnes.

The port is also a stopping off point for cruise ships during the summer season.

Tauranga is a Maori word meaning "sheltered anchorage".

The town and headland of Mount Maunganui stand at the entrance to the harbour,dominated by Mauao(Mt Maunganui)a 230 meter high extinct volcanic cone ,five kilometres north of Tauranga.

Tauranga is connected to Mt Maunganui by a 478 meter long road bridge built between 1986 and 1988.

Pictures can be found here:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Albino Mantis

Albino Mantis: "Praying Mantis, Miomantis caffra albino.

Mid May 2006 and getting towards the end of the Mantid season here in New Zealand.

This partially albino mantis payed me a visit one afternoon.

There are several colour variations in this species ranging from the normal bright green through browns to yellow.This female seems to be lacking in the normal pigmentation.There was a definite pink colour to her wings and body.Her pink eyes are quite striking."

Pictures can be found here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Zealand Fauna

New Zealand Fauna: "The biodiversity of New Zealand, is one of the most unusual on Earth, due to its long isolation from other continental landmasses.

New Zealand separated from Gondwanaland approximately 82 million years ago.

Our fauna shares some links to that of New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island, both of which are part of the same continental plate as New Zealand and in part from Australia.

The majority of the fauna being insects and birds. New Zealand only has one endemic land mammal,long and short tailed bats.

More recently humans have introduced many species to New Zealand both intentional and unintentional.

As an example,the Praying Mantis section contains several pages showing the lifecycle of Miomantis caffra,an imported mantid from South Africa. It was first recorded in Auckland in 1978 and is now widespread through the northern part of New Zealand,displacing our native mantid, Orthodera novaezealandiae as it goes.

Pictures can be found here:

Hellow Cyberverse

Just seeing how this works ;)