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Tuatara: Volume 9, Issue 3, January 1962

Spread of the German Wasp in New Zealand

Spread of the German Wasp in New Zealand

Since the article 'Notes on the German Wasp Vespula germanica' appeared in Tuatara Volume IX: No. 1, Dr. R. L. C. Pilgrim of the Zoology Department, University of Canterbury, has kindly supplied some fuller information. His letter has prompted a search for additional data which now reveal the following distribution.

Dr. R. R. Forster, of the Otago Museum, reported that he received specimens in Christchurch in about 1952, and that by 1955 the wasp was extremely common about the Hope River area in the Lewis Pass. Dr. Pilgrim has specimens from Hanmer and Lees Valley, collected in 1957 and 1958 respectively, and from Central Otago prior to 1959; he also reported that the wasp is now quite abundant around Christchurch. Mr. I. G. Forbes, Department of Agriculture, Dunedin, stated that he had reports of the wasp in 1961 from Timaru, Oamaru, Queenstown (1960), Dunedin and Invercargill. During the summer of 1960-1, scores of enquiries concerning the wasp were received by the Dunedin office of the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Forbes had no information on the occurrence of the wasp on Stewart Island, but considers it to be a matter of time before it is recorded there.

Mr. R. Mander, Department of Agriculture, Wellington, supplied the information that Vespula germanica has been found nesting on the following islands: Mokohinau, north of Great Barrier Island; page 130 Cuvier, east of Coromandel Peninsula; and Tiritiri Matangi, in the Hauraki Gulf. The wasp has also been seen on Stephens Island in Cook Strait, and is thought to have arrived in groceries, but is not known to nest there.

Mr. G. Fox, caretaker of Kapiti Island, has seen the wasps several times on the island, but thinks they are only occasional visitors from the mainland, since no nests have been located. Surprisingly the wasp has not yet been found on Somes Island in Wellington Harbour, although a prolonged search has been made by the writer.

It is clear, therefore, that Vespula germanica has, since its establishment in Hamilton in 1945, become widespread in New Zealand, and that its position will no doubt strengthen with time.

I am grateful to all the persons mentioned above for supplying such information as they had.