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Sam at our festival launch in March wearing a live corsage of kānuka and native stick insect.
Photo by Jeannie Hayden

Backyard Critters

Wild Dunedin —

Wild Dunedin is lucky to have Samuel Purdie as our bug identifier. You might find these invertebrates in your backyard or in some native forest close by.

Pictured is a species of native stick insect from the Acanthoxyla genus.  — Image by: Samuel Purdie

"This is a species of native stick insect from the Acanthoxyla genus.  These beautiful, large stick insects are commonly called prickly stick insects due to their defensive spines that also likely help add to their camouflage strategy. They can vary greatly in colour. Being parthenogenic they reproduce via cloning themselves and are all females. They like to hang out on people's rose bushes, blackberries and in the wild they will consume bush lawyer, kānuka, mānuka... to name a few. "  Samuel Purdie

I discovered this rather big spider on my apple tree and sent it to Sam for identification.

Nursery web spider out on the underside of an apple tree leaf. — Image by: Jeannie Hayden

"That's a nursery web spider, Dolomedes minor. They make a wee 'nursery' web for all their babies and will often be seen on the web :) They are a nocturnal species and will generally hunt at night. 
At night you'll see them (and their babies when they grow up) if you shine a torch because they have a reflective tapetum lucidum to maximise incoming light so their eyes STAND OUT!"  Samuel Purdie

You often see their nursery webs on gorse.

Last year we opened the festival at Sinclair Wetlands and from the boardwalk we saw quite a few nursery web spider webs. — Image by: Izumi Schmidt-Uchida

 What is the City Nature Challenge?

The City Nature Challenge is an international challenge for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. The idea is to make observations of nature. It could be a bird, insect, plant, or any other sign of life - it just has to be within your city limits.

Taking part is easy!

· Find wildlife. It could be a bird, insect, plant or any other sign of life - it just has to be within the Dunedin City limits.

  • Take a picture. Snap a photo of what you find (and be sure to note where you took it) with your smart phone or digital camera.
  • Share! Upload your observation to iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao and it will be automatically added to the project.

To use iNaturalist NZ, either visit their website (www.inaturalist.nz) or download the mobile app. 

More about iNaturalist.nz...

"iNaturalist NZ — Mātaki Taiao is the New Zealand community inside the global iNaturalist network. All observations you make on iNaturalist NZ simultaneously become part of iNaturalist.org. You get all the world's naturalists looking at your hard to identify plants and creatures and we share all of New Zealand nature with the world. It's an amazing mutualism."

To start out on I naturalist you can check out this page...