Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland, New Zealand
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Gill B.J.,Auckland War Memorial Museum | West R.C.,1 12 Odessa Crescent
Notornis | Year: 2016

Waterbirds were counted over ~ 12 ha of Western Springs Lakeside Park, Auckland, twice-monthly from November 2012 to October 2014. On average there were 742 water-birds per count (s.d. = 151.7, range = 511-1081), equating to a mean density of about 62 birds/ha within the study area. The 3 commonest species (mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, black-backed gull, Larus dominicanus and feral goose, Anser anser) made up 63% of all waterbirds counted. Mallard (and all waterbirds combined) were most abundant in summer and autumn. Black-backed gull, Eurasian coot (Fulica atra) and New Zealand scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae) were seasonally uniform in numbers but red-billed gull (Larus novaehollandiae) were virtually absent from September to December. Spring was the peak season for numbers of black swan (Cygnus atratus), but the seasonal minimum for feral geese. Incidental historical counts trace temporal changes at Western Springs Lake, with a rapid increase of coots in the 1980s and of scaup in the 1990s. Royal spoonbill (Platalea regia) arrived more recently. The counts quantify for the first time the importance of the lake as a habitat for common water-birds on the Auckland isthmus. © The Ornithological Society of New Zealand Inc.

Cameron E.K.,Auckland War Memorial Museum | Davies N.C.,Glenfield College
New Zealand Journal of Ecology | Year: 2013

Tiritiri Matangi Island ('Tiri') in the Hauraki Gulf of the northern North Island of New Zealand was deforested, pastorally farmed, and then farming was abandoned in 1972. This history is typical of many northern New Zealand islands. The island's modern history is less typical; since 1984 it has been the focus of a major restoration project involving thousands of volunteers. No original forest remains, but grazed secondary forest in a few valley bottoms covered about 20% of the island when farming was abandoned. Tiri's wild vascular flora was recorded in the 1900s and again in the 1970s. From 2006-2010 we collated all past records, herbarium vouchers, and surveyed the island to produce an updated wild flora. Our results increase the known pre-1978 flora by 31% (adding 121 species, varieties and hybrids). A further six species are listed as known only from the seed rain; 32 species as planted only; and one previous wild record is rejected. These last three decades have seen major changes on the island: the eradication of the exotic seed predator Pacific rat, Rattus exulans, in 1993; the planting of about 280, 000 native trees and shrubs during 1984-94 as part of a major restoration project along with a massive increase in human visitation; and the successful translocation of 11 native bird species and three native reptile species. More than two-thirds of the additions to the flora are exotic species, and over half of these are being controlled because of their weedy nature. The 32, 000 humans who visit Tiri each year are suspected to be the main vectors of the new exotic plant species added to the flora. The recent planted forest, which covers 64% of the island, has transformed most of the former pasture and bracken fern cover; many of the exotic herbs of open areas are surviving in anthropogenic habitats (mown tracks and lawns); however, 75 species recorded during 1905-1977 appear to have become extinct. We recommend adoption of tighter quarantine requirements, control of more weed species, removal of hybrid ngaio and certain native species, more regular plant surveys, specific rare herb management, and promotion of the Hauraki Gulf threatened flora. We conclude by predicting that over the next 20 years there will be an increase in bird-dispersed seed, increase in seabird guano habitat, few new native tree species, and a continued increase in the proportion of shade-tolerant trees. © New Zealand Ecological Society.

Hodge S.,Lincoln University at Christchurch | Early J.W.,Auckland War Memorial Museum
New Zealand Entomologist | Year: 2016

A number of species of Hymenoptera are associated with marine strandlines or wrack, where they are generally parasitoids of dipteran larvae and/or pupae. However, few records appear to exist of Hymenoptera associated with strandlines in New Zealand. We recorded the adult Hymenoptera obtained in 30 minute hand searches in strandlines at 36 sites at Christchurch and Banks Peninsula over the course of 3 years. Twenty-five species were recorded, consisting of four species of ants, one sawfly, one bee and 19 parasitoid wasps. The most commonly encountered species, in terms of both numbers collected and sites recorded, was Kleidotoma subantarcticana (Figitidae: Eucoilinae). Trichomalopsis sp. (Pteromalidae), two species of Spilomicrus (Diapriidae) and Trichopria sp. (Diapriidae) were also relatively widespread. There were no statistical differences in the number of Hymenoptera species recorded on sandy, shingle or boulder beaches on Banks Peninsula. Adult wasps were collected in all calendar months, although there was a decrease in occurrence in autumn and early winter. Hand searching proved a valuable method to obtain adult specimens of wasps for information on biogeography and seasonality. However, the rearing of wasps from different species of dipteran larvae or pupae is required to provide details of host species usage and attribute specific ecological functions of parasitoids within the strandline habitat. © 2016 Entomological Society of New Zealand

Gill B.J.,Auckland War Memorial Museum | Hauber M.E.,York College - The City University of New York
Notornis | Year: 2013

Plumage states of the long-tailed cuckoo (Eudynamys taitensis) are reviewed and summarised from examination of museum study-skins. Besides the distinctive adult plumage (barred above, white background colour below) and immature plumage (spotted above, pale brown below), some birds (13% of those in the wintering grounds, plus 1 bird from New Zealand) show a "transitional" plumage presumed to be intermediate between the immature and adult condition. Also, some pale birds found in New Zealand may represent a hitherto-unrecognised juvenile plumage. A review of distribution records (museum specimens plus published sight-records) in both the summer and winter ranges of the cuckoo confirms a vast fan-shaped distribution extending 6,000 km north from New Zealand to the tropical Pacific, and 11,000 km from east to west in the tropics. Wake Island (19.3°N) in the north, Palau (134.5°E) in the west, Henderson Island (128.3°W) in the east and the Snares Islands (48.0°S) in the south are the extreme records in this range. Records of museum specimens reveal that almost all long-tailed cuckoos returning to New Zealand in October are in adult plumage. Autumn records show a gradual northward retreat of cuckoos within New Zealand, with a stronger-than-average bias in North Island records from March to May. There is no equivalent North Island bias for the spring influx in September and October. Museum specimens from eastern Polynesia exhibited an uneven sex ratio biased towards males (74%), whereas the sex ratio elsewhere was more even. Our study confirms the vast total range of the long-tailed cuckoo and provides age-specific details of the seasonal waxing and waning of the migratory patterns of the breeding population within New Zealand. © The Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Inc.

Gill B.J.,Auckland War Memorial Museum | Hauber M.E.,York College - The City University of New York
Emu | Year: 2012

Long-tailed Cuckoos (Eudynamys taitensis) breed in New Zealand and winter in an arc of small Pacific islands extending 11000km from west to east. To understand this migration better, we compiled records of Cuckoos in time (month) and space (latitude, longitude), using museum voucher specimens and literature records. At the start of the breeding season (October-December) virtually all birds in New Zealand are in adult plumage; non-adult Cuckoos are almost entirely absent until late summer and autumn. In the northward post-breeding migration, adults move first and non-adults show a lag of up to 3 months in the timing of their departure. Non-adults are scarce after June in the Pacific wintering islands, and transitionals (with plumage between that of adults and non-adults) are very scarce after September, suggesting that they quickly moult into adult plumage. From June to October the average longitude of Cuckoos wintering north of New Zealand decreases progressively, consistent with a movement westward. This suggests that a portion of the Cuckoo population may undertake an anticlockwise loop-migration. This may also partly explain the unusual distribution of the species fanning out from the breeding to the wintering grounds. © BirdLife Australia 2012.

Grant-Mackie J.A.,University of Auckland | Gill B.J.,Auckland War Memorial Museum
New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics | Year: 2011

The partial skeletons of two marine turtles are reported from Late Eocene strata of Northland, northern New Zealand. One, from the autochthonous Ruatangata Sandstone near Whangarei, is identified as a new species of the previously monotypic cheloniid genus Eochelone Dollo, 1903. It is larger than the European type species, E. brabantica Dollo, 1903. The new species, E. monstigris, represents a geographic range extension for Eochelone and for the group of Eocene stem cheloniines' to which it belongs, a long-distance interchange that the configuration of Late Eocene-Early Oligocene marine currents and land-sea distribution must have permitted. The other specimen, from the allochthonous Pahi Greensand of northeast Kaipara Harbour, was previously reported as a cheloniid but we believe it more likely to belong to the Toxochelyidae. Given previous records of two dermochelyids (Psephophorus and Maoriochelys), the Middle to Late Eocene of New Zealand hosted at least four species of marine turtle which approaches the modern diversity of five species. © 2011 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Gardner R.O.,Auckland War Memorial Museum
Blumea: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography | Year: 2013

Sixteen climbing Piper species are accepted for New Guinea. The three endemics, P. arfakianum, P. subcanirameum and P. versteegii, are fully described. Eight taxa of unclear circumscription are noted. A new variety of P. macropiper, endemic to Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea, is described. The presence of an ant-plant piper in West New Guinea is noted. © 2013 Nationaal Herbarium Nederland.

Gill B.J.,Auckland War Memorial Museum
Archives of Natural History | Year: 2014

In December 1884 Charles Francis Adams (1857-1893) left Illinois, USA, by train for San Francisco and crossed the Pacific by ship to work as taxidermist at Auckland Museum, New Zealand, until February 1887. He then went to Borneo via several New Zealand ports, Melbourne and Batavia (Jakarta). This paper concerns a diary by Adams that gives a daily account of his trip to Auckland and the first six months of his employment (from January to July 1885). In this period Adams set up a workshop and diligently prepared specimens (at least 124 birds, fish, reptiles and marine invertebrates). The diary continues with three reports of trips Adams made from Auckland to Cuvier Island (November 1886), Karewa Island (December 1886) and White Island (date not stated), which are important early descriptive accounts of these small offshore islands. Events after leaving Auckland are covered discontinuously and the diary ends with part of the ship's passage through the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), apparently in April 1887. Adams's diary is important in giving a detailed account of a taxidermist's working life, and in helping to document the early years of Auckland Museum's occupation of the Princes Street building. © The Society for the History of Natural History.

Froggatt J.M.A.,Auckland War Memorial Museum | Gill B.J.,Auckland War Memorial Museum
New Zealand Journal of Zoology | Year: 2016

We describe the upper portion of the bill sheath (rhinotheca) of the kākāpō (Strigops habroptilus) from three adult female specimens. The external buccal surface of the rhinotheca is deeply concave with a prominent palatal stop and hardened chevrons creating a ‘milling apparatus’ that the kākāpō uses to grind food. The palatal stop presents a working face of 40–50 mm2. The internal surface of the rhinotheca mirrors the overlying premaxilla and provides a distinct thickened abutment consistent with resistance against the increased workload of the mandibles (gnathotheca) due to the kākāpō’s fibrous diet and chewing style. Along the midline, the rhinotheca at the abutment is up to 5.6 mm thick, compared with as thin as 2.1 mm elsewhere on the midline. The closely related Nestor parrots have less developed palatal stops, chevrons and abutments on their rhinothecas consistent with their lower preference for fibrous plant material. The form of the rhinotheca agrees with the kākāpō’s feeding ecology as a generalist herbivore that grinds locally available fibrous material to assist digestion. © 2016 The Royal Society of New Zealand

Gardner R.O.,Auckland War Memorial Museum
Blumea: Journal of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography | Year: 2010

Eleven climbing species of Piper in the Solomon Islands are recognized: P. abbreviatum, P. betle, P. bosnicanum, P. caninum, P. celtidiforme, P. fragile, P. insectifugum (syn. P. austrocaledonicum), P. interruptum, P. macropiper, P. majusculum, and, as the only endemic, P. sclerophloeum, for which a description is provided. © 2010 Nationaal Herbarium Nederland.

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