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One of the pleasures of visiting Waiheke Island this summer was seeing native stick insects in abundance.

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One of the things I’ve noticed the last few years, is that a lot of common insects, have just stopped being common. Ten years ago, it was easy finding stick insects around this area of Auckland. Now they’re largely gone.

This seems to have happened also with Red Admiral butterflies. Once common in my childhood, I haven’t seen such butterflies in quite a while. I appreciate that in some areas they are likely to be still ‘locally’ common. They’re no longer however, quite as ubiquitous.

There also seem to be some loss in many of our native spiders. We have a very intriguing spider Celenia sp that is camouflaged extremely well. It looks like a bird-dropping. It also has the knack of only catching male moths. It produces the same sex pheromone as female-moths. Chemical warfare at its best. I haven’t seen any of these spiders now, since the 1980s. They used to be quite easy to find.

Now, what makes this a little more worrying, is that it’s not just me. I know of other people who are starting to wonder the same thing. Lots of insects, spiders etc that were nationally common, seem to have really disappeared.

I’d be very interested to learn if other people reading this blog have noticed the same thing.