Now that the breeding season is underway, all of our attention will be on birds. However, as author, museum director and entomologist Brian Patrick points out, there are other amazing species in our braided rivers.
One very special insect that lives on riverbeds and terraces in the Mackenzie Basin
, is the Robust grasshopper (Brachaspis robustus), a highly threatened species that epitomises the vulnerability and beauty of these special habitats. Numbers have dropped in recent years as habitat quality and quantity have both decreased (see threats). This is our largest lowland grasshopper, growing to 44mm, and is typically cryptic amongst the stones and boulders of its specialised habitat. Near Twizel, as part of Project River Recovery, the Department of Conservation has created habitat and introduced a population of the grasshopper in an effort to secure this local endemic species.