Diary: Friday 5th April 2002
‘The surge of water up the beach from four feet waves made looking for tracks at the wet zone impossible. All in dunes very active.’
Diary: Sunday 7th of April 2002
Conditions at New Brighton
SUNRISE: – 6:52 am
TIDE: – Low 6:54 am (0.5m)
MOON: – Two days after last quarter.
‘Sixteen days in sandpit and nothing up. Doesn’t look too good. A new find on the beach. A small golden coloured grass grub beetle found wandering around in the very wet area of the low tide as SSL and CP do. What’s going on here?! Thought it may have flown down there but am suspicious of all creatures down that way in the wet now. There were wandering tracks to where it was found. I beat the gulls. I guess it was simply lost as to postulate a grass grub beetle (GGB) at the wet low tide zone would defy credibility somewhat. As of around this time there are no more tracks of SS nor CP Larvae in the wet. Hedgehogs very active in dunes still. Sent golden beetle picture to Dr Palma.’
Sketch of beach area where Grass Grub beetle was found.
This time the GG Beetle was sent up to Te Papa for identification just in case another insect was performing this peculiar dig in feat and subsequently a letter arrived back stating that the golden beetle belonged to a species of New Zealand Endemic genus Odontria, which includes at least 37 species of so called grass grub beetles which he had narrowed down to a group of 3 species, but considering the fact that he is not a specialist in this group of beetles, it was difficult to risk a definite identification. He also mentioned that interestingly enough, a paper published in 1952 describing all these beetle lists 2 Odontria species as living in the sand dunes, usually associated with Cassinia plants. He also explained further, that the specimen sent to him definitely did not belong to either of these 2 species.
These interesting finds on the beach were acquiring a new dimension.
I’d like to take the opportunity here to thank Dr Ricardo Palma, Curator (Entomology) of Te Papa Museum, Wellington, for his time taken to assist me while I was finding this curious insect activity at the South New Brighton beach.