3. " On the Mole-cricket in New Zealand (Gryllotalpa vulgaris)," by T. W. Kirk, F.R.M.S. (Transactions, p. 233.)
Mr. Hudson remarked that the mole-cricket had been the subject of many interesting memoirs on the anatomy of insects, and its arrival would therefore be interesting to entomologists. He did not think it was likely to do as much harm as the author thought.
Mr. Brandon said it was a pity this insect should have been introduced, and he thought information should be circulated as to the best means of getting rid of it.
The President remarked that from an entomological point of view the occurrence here of these mole-crickets was interesting. As for their hurtful propensities, opinions seemed to be divided; but it should always be remembered that comparisons between New Zealand and England were not always correct, on account of the difference of climate. He, however, took the opportunity of saying that experience in this country seemed to point to the fact that imported animals, probably both useful and noxious, unless fostered in some special way, after greatly increasing for some time, appeared to decrease. As instances of this, in connection with useful animals, might be taken the pheasants and partridges, which in some parts of the colony—for example, North Canterbury and Amuri— after growing into such numbers that they might be seen in every paddock, were now becoming rare, if not very rare. Doubtless poachers, cats, fires, rats, &c, had something to do with this; but he thought they did not account for all of it. Nor could it be said that these birds were not adapted to the country, else why had they increased so largely ? In like manner, he was informed, one of our worst insect-enemies, Icerya purchasi, is supposed to be doing much less damage than formerly, if it is not, indeed, dying out altogether. It may be that some law obtains whereby new importations, good or bad, useful or noxious, flourish with excessive fertility for a while, and then are apt to die out. Perhaps this would be the case even with the rabbit; perhaps also these mole-crickets would come under the same law.
Mr. Park did not think there was any great danger to be apprehended from the rapid spread of the mole-cricket, which, according to Mr. Kirk's own statement, had only increased at the rate of 100 per cent, in seven years. He thought there was nothing in this to alarm farmers or gardeners.
Mr. Kirk, in reply, said that the farmers and market-gardeners had a much more lively interest in the mole-cricket than entomologists had, as they would be direct losers should the insect increase rapidly, while the scientists' interest was purely intellectual. He had not stated that the insect had only increased at the rate of 100 per cent.; he merely said that only three specimens had fallen into his hands: but he had not looked for them, and probably, now attention had been directed to the subject, we should find that many other persons had observed the creature without knowing what it was.