Tag archives for New Zealand
The common wasp is an invasive species in New Zealand. These wasps compete for food with an ant species called Prolasius advenus, which is a native species. Scientists performing an experiment with the insects noticed the wasps doing something unique: picking up ants crawling on food, flying a short distance away, and then dropping the ants. The scientists noticed that while the two species competed for a food source, the ants could be aggressive towards the much larger wasps, trying to bite them or spraying them with formic acid. The researchers think that the wasps might drop the ants, rather than killing them, to touch as little of the formic acid as possible.
Photograph by Julien Grangier, Victoria University of Wellington
A destructive 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand yesterday. At least 65 people were killed, and people remain trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings. This quake is the latest aftershock to follow a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Christchurch in the fall of 2010.
Photograph by Mark Mitchell, New Zealand Herald/AP
New Zealand’s birds have a problem–they’re too smelly for their own good. The birds produce a special wax that helps to keep their feathers healthy. The wax also tends to give off an odor. In the past, this wasn’t a problem because New Zealand doesn’t have any native mammal predators. But now that humans have introduced predators such as dogs, stoats, and cats to the country more than 40 bird species have gone extinct.
Biologist Jim Briskie of Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand, suggests that deodorant might be the answer. “If we prove that this is a problem, we might be able to envision some kind of odor-eater or deodorant we could put into the nest to absorb some of those odors and protect them more effectively,” Briskie said. But deodorant may not be the best solution. The birds’ smells might be a way that the birds communicate with their mates or offspring.
Can you think of any ideas on how this problem might be solved?
Read more about bird B.O. on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on Australia, a country home to many unusual animals.
Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic