September 28, 2023

Biodiversity of Omori & Pukawa

Omori & Pukawa is a small settlement on the Southwestern side of Lake Taupō. This species-rich location is often bypassed as people make their way North or South along SH1 towards Taupō. Although this settlement has remained isolated, it is almost a blessing, allowing large patches of native forest to thrive supporting a multitude of invertebrate and vertebrate taxa.

This settlement is a location of special significance to me as I spent my childhood growing up in the Taupō region. As a child, I was naive about the flora and fauna in this location. It was not until the past few years that I began to discover the treasures of this small lakeside remnant. I have come to realise how much more there is to learn and discover within this area.

The forest within the Omori settlement consists of mixed podocarp forests including Rimu, Miro, Mataī and Tōtara. Tall Māhoe and Kōtukutuku are also prominent within the canopy. Further understory and edge species include Kāmahi, Puahou, and Kōhūhū with a dense lower canopy of ponga ferns, Rangiora, Kawakawa, Rewarewa and Porokaiwhiri just to name a few! The forest floor is covered in a soft bryophyte carpet and you can even find the hemiparasite Tupia within these forests. Through the bush, you weave down to the lakeside to find the perfect sheltered spot for a swim.

Within these forests live a plethora of invertebrate taxa ranging from ground-dwelling springtails to arboreal tree spiders. Notable species within this area are Titiwai (New Zealand Glowworm), Enantiobuninae (Harvestmen), Millipeds (Umastigonus), Degithina davidi, Segestriidae (Tunnel Spiders), Pūriri moth and North Island Lichen Moth. Although my opinion of notable species may be subjective, it is important to acknowledge the diversity of other invertebrates in this area such as molluscs, Orthoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Blattodea.

Of course not to forget the avian fauna of Omori & Pukawka. Home to the dawn chorus. Awoken by Korimako and Tūī, where the Kererū makes its appearance in the late morning. Walking through the forests you are always trailed by erratic flying pīwakawaka and glimpses of tauhou and welcome swallow. The native avian fauna is dominant in this area, but also closely followed by the abundance of introduced quails, green finchs and blackbirds.

Omori & Pukawa is a biodiversity haven which I hope is sustained and thrives into the future for others to enjoy and appreciate. This story acknowledges some of New Zealand's important taxa, but this does not go without saying; that this area is not resilient to change. Exotic species have still spread into certain areas of the forest. Invasive plants include Himalayan honeysuckle, willows, and blackberry which smoother some areas of the forest. In addition, German yellowjacket wasps, wild European rabbits and undoubtedly other predatory mammals flourish in this area. Despite these challenges, Omori & Pukawa's natural allure remains intact, sustaining a diverse range of species.

Through the knowledge that has been passed down to me, I hope to find Northern Kōura and Kōaro within the streams which were known to be abundant back in the 1950s as well as the remaining Herpetofauna and many more invertebrates.

First journal post, hope it came out alright :).
28th September 2023

In memory of Bryan Fedrick Hayes.

Posted on September 28, 2023 08:47 AM by jupal04 jupal04 | 80 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment