Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 261–268 | Cite as

An appraisal of simple tree-mounted shelters for non-lethal monitoring of weta (Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae and Rhaphidophoridae) in New Zealand nature reserves

  • Mike H. BowieEmail author
  • Simon Hodge
  • Jonathan C. Banks
  • Cor J. Vink


When monitoring rare insect species, or when surveying faunas within nature reserves, it is desirable not to use indiscriminate lethal sampling techniques. In this investigation we assessed the usefulness of simple tree-mounted wooden shelters to monitor endemic weta (Orthoptera) in nature reserves in Canterbury, New Zealand. Fifty shelters were placed out at six sites and examined at three-monthly intervals for a year. A wide variety of invertebrates were found utilizing the shelters, with Arachnida, Blattodea and Collembola being the most common occupants. After three months over 80% of the shelters exhibited signs of use by invertebrates, increasing to 96% after 12 months. Only seven tree weta (Anostostomatidae) and one (dead) ground weta (Hemiandrus sp.) were observed in the shelters over the full 12 month period. There were 52 observations of cave weta (Rhaphidophoridae) in the shelters, 36 of which occurred at one site, Orton Bradley Park. Occupation of the shelters by cave weta was not affected by soil conditions, light intensity or aspect of the shelter. However, cave weta exhibited a preference for shelters less than 50 cm above the ground and for shelters attached to kanuka and vines. Although weta were found in only a small proportion (9%) of the shelters, this method proved useful in confirming the presence of weta without risk of harming vulnerable populations. These shelters are inexpensive and easy to manufacture and have potential for long-term non-lethal monitoring of weta and as a collection/carriage device for live specimens used in conservation translocations.


New Zealand Non-lethal monitoring Restoration Shelters Weta 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike H. Bowie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Simon Hodge
    • 2
  • Jonathan C. Banks
    • 3
  • Cor J. Vink
    • 4
  1. 1.Bio-Protection and Ecology DivisionLincoln UniversityNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural SciencesImperial College LondonWyeUK
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyUniversity of IllinoisIllinoisUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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