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Adding Value To The Business of Cropping

Garden creature spotter

Learning Intentions:

    Students will be able to:
  • appreciate the diversity of creatures in a garden
  • begin to recognise and name some of them.

Spot creatures found in a garden

  1. Use the spotter guide below to find and name some New Zealand garden creatures. To do this, find a garden that has a variety of plants, especially ones that are in flower. Another option is to search a wasteland area, a mixed native tree shelter belt, or the unkept margins of fields.
  2. Carefully search high and low to find as many creatures as you can.
  3. Record what you find by ticking the boxes and recording your observations by writing about them, drawing, or taking photos.

Garden creatures spotter pdf download (optimised for colour printing on A4).

Hints and tips

  • For best viewing of detailed structures, view the spotter guide pdf pictures on-screen.
  • Print the spotter sheet on heavy weight paper. 
  • Laminate the sheets so students can tick the boxes with marker pens when they find a creature. Erase with methylated spirits for re-use.
  • Students can share what they have found by showing others or taking photos.
  • Records: Students record observations of: 1) where the creatures are found and 2) what they are doing.

Supporting information

English nameMāori nameNative /
Pest /
Adult able to fly
wolf spiderpūngāwerewerenativehelpfulno
hover flyngaro pairanativehelpfulyes
red admiralkahukuranativehelpfulyes
ladybird larvauhu mumutawaintroducedhelpfulno
NZ blue blowflyngaro ironativepestyes
drone flyngaro pairaintroducedhelpfulyes
European earwighiore kakatiintroducedpestyes (rarely)
spittle bugtātaka hūareintroducedpestyes
NZ vegetable bugtākaka huawhenuanativepestyes
NZ praying manitsnativehelpfulyes
bumble beepī rorohūintroducedhelpfulyes
honey beepī miereintroducedhelpfulyes
white butterflypere māintroducedpestyes
garden snailngataintroducedpestno
orbweb spiderpūngāwerewereintroducedhelpfulno
grass grubtūtaerurunativepestyes
ground beetlepāpapanativehelpfulno

The table information is based on species shown in the 'Garden Creatures Spotter' and is necessarily simplified for young students. It should be noted that some species can be considered pests or helpful in different circumstances.

Related resources

Pollinators in New Zealand