'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Redwinged Lycid Beetle

Here is a creature I have never seen before, discovered while doing the big Garden Clean-Up.

When I spotted it - and it was hard not to, with its smart grenadier-guard red and black regimentals - I was struck with the thought that it wasn't a native EnZed-er. It occurred to me that most native species are rather drab, and the ones that are not, are (mostly) quite well-known to me.

Sure enough my Andrew Crowe identifies it as Porrostoma rufipenne (was Metriorrynchus) - a beetle from Australia. The grubs live under the bark of fallen trees, and there are plenty of those habitats down our bank. This adult would have been looking for nectar or pollen to feed upon.

The antennae are interesting, being strongly serrated. I expect the colour advertises they are not good to eat, but I didn't taste it to confirm this.


  1. Did porrostoma rufipenne have a pouch on its undercarriage with baby porrostoma rufipennes poking out? That's prinipal way in which you could confirm its Australian heritage. Additionally, did it defecate everywhere and drink all your beer?

  2. Fascinating. Rather splendid antennae.

  3. YP, thank you for that invaluable guideline. Next time I see him, I'll suggest to Andrew that it be included in the next edition.

    GB, they are, aren't they?

  4. How do the fauna get from Australia to New Zealand, do you think? Swim? Fly? Stow away on a freighter?

  5. Robert, probably blown by the prevailing winds. I don't think these have been intentionally introduced. Or it's possible they came in as grubs in timber, but we are usually very careful about what we let in.
    YP only got in because he signed a contract to say he would only say nice things about New Zealand.

  6. That should of course be '...say only nice things...'