Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 34, 1901
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5. “Notes on the Entomology of New Zealand,” by Captain J. J. Walker, of H.M.S. “Ringarooma.”

The President, in introducing Captain Walker, said that probably he had collected in more countries than any other entomologist.

Abstract.

In the course of an interesting address Captain Walker commented on the way in which the indigenous flora had disappeared from the older settlements in New Zealand. It was astonishing, however, what a number of the original insects seemed to hold their own where a little native bush was left. When he was at Westport recently he was kept to his hotel for three days and a half by continuous rain. All that time, however, the Buller River was working for him by bringing beetles down from a hundred miles up-country. On going to the beach when the rain ceased he collected specimens of no fewer than 105 species of beetles. There was a prevalent idea in England that New Zealand was a very poor country for beetles. He considered, however, that it was on the average quite as rich in them as any country in corresponding latitudes, north or south, though possibly not so rich as Australia or Tasmania. There were fully as many species of Coleoptera in New Zealand as there were in the British Isles. The South Island was far better from a collector's point of view than the North. At first sight the statement that New Zealand was a poor country for beetles seemed to be quite true. Save for members of certain species, a person might go all day and see only a few beetles. Most of the beetles had to be rooted and worried out. If patient and persistent, a collector could be sure of getting his bottle full. The beach collecting in New Zealand was very interesting, and Lyall Bay, near Wellington, was a good ground. He had been only five months in New Zealand, and he had secured specimens of all the important coast beetles save one, and that he hoped to get every time he went to Lyall Bay. The fauna of New Zealand was most interesting, not only on account of what was represented in it, but because of what was not represented. It embraced the most curious and most beautiful collection of weevils in the world. The weevils of New Zealand ran into most bizarre and striking forms.

Mr. R. C. Harding and Sir James Hector spoke of the intimate knowledge of his subject which Captain Walker had displayed in his impromptu talk.