303 Radcliffe Road, Trip #69

In May, we searched in and around the small lowland stream that runs through the reserve at 303 Radcliffe Rd.

Searching around the stream.
Rushes and sedges lining the stream.

 

We found quite a few different creatures. Below is some of what we saw – arranged in approximate order from the top of the water, then moving deeper:

Retoreto

This is a native fern that floats on the surface of the water.

Retoreto (Azolla rubra).

Duckweed

Another small native plants, that floats on the surface.

Duckweed (Lemna minor).

Ripple bug

These chaps can occur in large numbers, and they run across the surface of the water. They feed on both live and dead prey – there is more (gruesome!) detail here.

Ripple bug (Microvelia macgregori).

Water boatman

Water boatmen eat small plants and algae. To breathe, they carry a bubble of air down with them.

Water boatman (Sigara sp.).

Below is a short video we took of a red damselfly larvae, water boatman and an acute bladder snail. The the speed in the middle part of the video slowed down so that you can see the water boatman’s swimming technique:

 

Midge larvae

These were numerous in the stream. There is a diagram of the stages of their life cycle here. When they are adults they emerge from the water – there is a photo further down of an adult midge (possibly of the same species).

Midge (Family: Dixidae).

Red damselfly larvae

The larvae eat aquatic insects. Eventually they climb up out of the water and shed their exoskeleton, to reveal wings. There is a photo of an adult red damselfly we saw on the Port Hills (near a pond) here.

Red damselfly (Xanthocnemis zealandica).

Gammarid amphipod

Gammarid amphipod (Paracalliope sp.).

Acute bladder snail

 

 

 

The creatures in the pictures below were the ones around the site, rather than in the water.

Non-biting midge

This midge may be an adult of the same species we found as a larvae, as shown at the start of this post.

Non-biting midge (Family Chironomidae)

Fungus gnat

These small flies are typically found in damp habitats, as their larvae feed on fungi.

Fungus gnat (Family Mycetophilidae), with ‘spinose’ legs.

Spear-winged fly

Spear-winged fly (Lonchoptera bifurcata).

Plant bug

Plant bug (Family Miridae).

 

Our thanks to the folk at iNaturalist NZ for help with identifications.

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