Ben Atkinson, of Balclutha School, asks :-

What kind of native insects are there in New Zealand.

Ruud Kleinpaste, the TV bugman, responded.

As you may well know, New Zealand is a really "old" country; that means that it has been a group of islands for something like 80 million years and has therefore been isolated from Australia and other parts of the world.

This means that evolution has played around with our insect species in remarkable ways. Our New Zealand native insects are wonderfully adapted to life in New Zealand, so a lot of our insects occur nowhere else but here; we call those endemic.

We have an endemic Family of moths (the Mnesarchaeidae - what a strange name, eh?) that has caterpillars that live in mosses and lichens; we also have a lot of insect species that are flightless: weevils, beetles, moths, flies, you name it! It makes sense if you think that New Zealand has a windy climate (especially on the sub-antarctic offshore islands!) and when you are a small insect and would fly high into the sky, you might be blown off your island, never to be seen again! And then we have our really special creatures that only live in NZ: the weta, huhu beetles, giant centipedes... I can go on for page after page.

Better to point you in the direction of your library and find that magnificent book by David Miller: "Common Insects in New Zealand". It has an incredible range of stories about our native and endemic insects... and it is the Bugman's bible! Have fun with Bugs.