Study

Distribution and abundance of a threatened stem-boring moth, Houdinia flexilissima (Lepidoptera: Batrachedridae) in New Zealand peat bogs

  • Published source details Watts C., Thornburrow D., Clarkson B. & Dean S. (2013) Distribution and abundance of a threatened stem-boring moth, Houdinia flexilissima (Lepidoptera: Batrachedridae) in New Zealand peat bogs. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera, 46, 81-89.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore or create new habitats after mining and quarrying

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Replant native vegetation

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Restore or create new habitats after mining and quarrying

    A site comparison study in 2013 in a restored peat mine and three native peat bogs in Waikato region, New Zealand (Watts et al. 2013) found that a peat bog restored after mining supported a similar density of Fred the thread moth caterpillars Houdinia flexilissima to three undisturbed bogs, and caterpillars were a similar size at each site. Eleven to 15 years after restoration from mining, a restored peat bog had a similar density of Fred the thread caterpillars (1–2 caterpillars/m of stem) to three undisturbed sites (1–2 caterpillars/m of stem). The caterpillars were a similar size in the restored (9–11 mm) and undisturbed bogs (5–10 mm). Within a 150-ha peat mine, mined strips (45 m wide, 950 m long) had been restored 11–15 years earlier by creating raised islands of processed peat (5 m diameter, 30 cm high, 30 m apart) which were seeded with mānuka Leptospermum scoparium, which was eventually outcompeted by bamboo rush Sporadanthus ferrugineus. The islands reached 100% vegetation cover in two years. The restored areas were adjacent to 40 ha of unmined peat. From March–April 2013, twenty 60-cm-long sections of bamboo rush stems were collected from a 33-cm-diameter plot on each of two islands (20 m apart, 600 m from unmined peat) in each of three restored strips, and from 6–14 plots in each of three undisturbed bogs (114–10,201 ha). Stems were dissected in the lab to count caterpillars.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Replant native vegetation

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2013 in three created peat bogs and three native peat bogs in Waikato, New Zealand (Watts et al 2013) found that following the translocation of bamboo rush Sporadanthus ferrugineus plants, three populations of Fred the thread moth Houdinia flexilissima established and had a similar density of caterpillars to three undisturbed bogs, and the caterpillars were a similar size. Five to seven years after transplanting bamboo rush, created peat bogs had a similar density of Fred the thread caterpillars (1 caterpillar/m of stem) to three undisturbed sites (1–2 caterpillars/m of stem). The caterpillars were a similar size in the created (7–10 mm) and undisturbed bogs (5–10 mm). From 2006–2008, at three sites, existing non-native vegetation was removed, the soil was excavated to 30 cm depth, and the depression was back-filled with peat. Bamboo rush plants (0.5–1.5 m tall) were transplanted from a peat mine and planted at 0.75 plants/m2 across 180–270 m2 at each site. It was assumed that Fred the thread moth caterpillars would be translocated within the bamboo rush plants. From March–April 2013, twenty 60-cm-long sections of bamboo rush stems were collected from each of four 33-cm-diameter plots/site, 2 m inside each corner of each replanted area. Stems were dissected in the lab to count caterpillars.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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