On the Case

Pest detection news.

Using Pest Detective in the Field

16 June 2018

Did you know that Pest Detective is usable on mobile devices, including phones? No special app is required.

However, Haydn Butler pointed out that he often goes out of cell phone range. He wondered if there is a printed field guide with the same clue information that could be used for people doing pest work in remote areas.

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Rat or wētā droppings?

2 May 2018

New Zealand’s native wētā droppings can be similar in size and texture to rat droppings but there can be distinguishing features.

As illustrated in this photo recently supplied by Peter Sweetapple, wildlife researcher at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, wētā droppings have blunt ends and often have longitudinal ridging. The ridging can be darker in colour on fresh droppings, resulting in a striped appearance, which fades with time.

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Plague skink caught in the act

22 March 2018

Here is compelling evidence of plague skink predation.

The moth is of Family Noctuidae and is probably Graphania mutans (New Zealand cutworm also known as grey-brown cutworm) which is one New Zealand's larger native moth species. A second photograph in our plague skink kill sign section shows the moth remains.

John Stanford, who photographed this animal on the deck at his home in Muriwai, said there are a lot of plague skinks in the area.

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Scavenger or killer?

2 November 2017

It's not easy to distinguish between original predator kill sign and scavenging.

Earlier this spring, Eliane Lagnaz sent us photos of just such an instance near Waipu in Northland. She had noticed a pair of paradise ducks, sounding vigorously, and spotted the entrance to their nest. Three weeks later, when she returned to the area, there was no sign of the birds but she saw a native swamp harrier fly up from the nest area. Eliane investigated and describes what she found.

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Pest Detectives at Sylvia Park School

12 August 2017

We were delighted to recently receive twenty hand-written and beautifully illustrated letters from enthusiastic young pest detectives at Sylvia Park School.

The Year 2 pupils described how they had discovered that there were resident hedgehogs at the school and that hedgehogs are pests.

As part of an inquiry project investigating animals, they had made an animal tracker to see what pests they had at the school. They used peanut butter as a lure and red food colouring to record footprints from any animals that visited the tunnel.

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Eleven more culprits featured

3 July 2017

We're marking Biosecurity Month 2017 with the addition of eleven more pest animal species to our list of culprits on Pest Detective.

Many thanks to the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board for enabling us to complete this extra content with the support of a generous grant, which also covered some technical work behind the scenes to improve aspects of the website's functionality.

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