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Botanic Gardens are always interesting to visit, any time of year. Since there are 1,775 botanic gardens in 148 countries world-wide*, you may find one near you (you can search here).

The Cuningham House conservatory, which houses sub-tropical plants.
Winter roses (Hellebore sp.) – members of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).
Hyacinth flowering.
Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris).
Rosehips in The Heritage Rose Garden, near the Hospital.
Bark of Père David’s maple (Acer davidii).
Pine mound.
Nursery, near the Visitor Centre
Native plants, near the Visitor Centre.

There is a summary of the collections in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens here, more detail here, and a map here.


On a recent visit to Travis Wetland we saw many webs of the nursery web spider (Dolomedes minor), which builds a nest to protect its young.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2520

The spiders typically build these nursery in low growing shrubs, such as this Coprosma bush. The nest below is probably about to be vacated by the spiderlings.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2524

We did get a (somewhat blurry!) video of the seething mass of spiderlings.

We didn’t see any of the adult spiders, though apparently the females were probably hiding nearby – they guard the nests at night. The nest below is now empty, though there is a spider on the bottom left, perhaps a juvenile?

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2605

There is detailed information about the Dolomedes genus in New Zealand here. There are four species here, with Dolomedes minor being the most common.

For more photos, including of the adult spiders, see here.

We had a short visit recently to one of the waterways that runs through Styx Mill Reserve, in Christchurch. The ~60 ha site has an interesting mix of vegetation types (mainly wetland and riparian areas), and even some locally rare plants. But on this occasion we went to look for arthropods – both in and around the water.

Below are a few of our finds. Our thanks to the folks at NatureWatch for help with the identifications.

The forest shield bug (Oncacontias vittatus):


Another immature shield bug, probably a Rhopalimorpha sp.

CINJAT Rhopalimorpha sp IMG_2680

The New Zealand pond-skater (Microvelia macgregori):


The larvae of a mosquito/midge (Family Dixidae)

CINJAT Family Dixidae Aquatic larvae IMG_2670

A longjawed orb weaver spider (genus Tetragnatha):

CINJAT longjawed orbweaver

And this is the same spider making itself as thin as possible, presumably for hiding:

CINJAT Swamp orbweb spider Tetragnatha sp IMG_2714

There is a guide to many of the species in the reserve on the Landcare website here and the reserve is part of the Styx Project. There is also a comprehensive booklet about Christchurch Waterways available from Environment Canterbury here.


Flickr Photos

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