Introduction

View images of dactylanthus flowers, showing the flow of nectar and the animals that visit the plant.

Highlights

In 2011, David Mudge set up cameras in Rangitikei and Wairarapa to capture thousands of images over several weeks.

His images revealed dactylanthus as a magnet to bats, insects, birds, and pest animals.

David's images are copyrighted to Waikanae’s Nga Manu Nature Reserve, but can be downloaded free for personal use and for advocacy, conservation and other educational purposes from the Nga Manu Images.

Video

Ohau photographer and volunteer conservationist David Mudge set up four cameras at dactylanthus sites in Rangitikei and Wairarapa to film his time-lapse series, at the rate of one image every 20 minutes over 140 days in 2011.

The video shows dactylanthus flowers opening and closing repeatedly as if slowly breathing in and out. Insects are drawn to the flowering shoots, some tucking into the nectar, others feeding on insects eating the nectar, and the smallest of all, the micro invertebrates, feasting on the decaying remains of the flowers. Nectar pulses from flowering shoots, drenching the forest floor around each plant in scent and nutrients.

David also  took around 20,000 photographs of the plants in Rangitikei and Wairarapa, using digital cameras powered by old car and tractor batteries.

His project revealed the plant as a magnet to range of forest animals - invertebrates (including ground weta, cave weta, native cockroaches, flies and spiders), bats, birds, and animal pests (including rodents, hedgehogs, and possums).

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