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    Sporulation and spore viability in Nephrolepisexaltata (L.) Schott, Nephrolepidaceae, collected from a naturalised population (Oratia, Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, Aotearoa / New Zealand)
    (Unitec ePress| Te Pūkenga, 2023-11) James, C.; Large, Mark; Unitec, Te Pūkenga
    This paper examines fertile material of Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott grown in cultivation, but originally obtained from a naturalised population in Oratia, Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, Aotearoa / New Zealand. Spore viability is assessed, with material showing c.40–50% spore abnormality. The presence of spores with a more regular morphology are recorded. However, viability assessed with fluorescein diacetate (FDA) is low to negligible.
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    Additional bryophyte taxa from the Cook Islands
    (Magnolia Press, 2023-12-29) Game, J.; de Lange, Peter; von Konrat, M.J.; Tabua, M.; Toren, D.R.; McCormack, G.; Engel, J.J.; Pócs, T.; Merrll, G.; Sass-Gyarmati, A.; Unitec, Te Pūkenga; Te Pūkenga; University of California (Berkeley); National Tropical Botanical Garden (Kauai, Hawaiʻi); Field Museum (Chicago, Illinois); Pacific Islands Development Forum (Suva, Fiji); California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco, California); Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust; Eszterházy Károly Catholic University (Eger, Hungary)
    It is evident that the bryophyte flora of the Cook Islands remains poorly documented. Here, ten moss species and five liverwort species of Lepidoziaceae are newly reported for the Cook Islands. These records include Calomnion denticulatum, previously known only from Samoa, Ectropothecium viridifolium, previously known only from Hawai’i, and Tricholepidozia quadriseta, previously known only from Australia. Also, thirteen new island records of mosses are reported for Outer Islands of the group and additional information is provided for some previously published reports
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    Attitudes to preventative healthcare for cats and dogs in Aotearoa / New Zealand in 20–30-year-olds
    (Unitec ePress, Te Pūkenga, 2023-12-20) Scott, Mikayla; Harvey, Laura; Cameron, Kristie; Unitec, Te Pūkenga
    Pet ownership has increased in Aotearoa / New Zealand over the last decade, with the largest jump in dog ownership attributed to 18–34-year-olds. With the transitional nature of this age group, considering the increase in independence and responsibility, this survey aimed to measure the attitudes of 20–30-year olds to preventative healthcare of their pets. A survey was disseminated through social media; respondents self-selected their participation and were asked questions about their living situation and management of components of preventative care in their animals, including vaccinations, parasite control and veterinary check-ups. There were 93 usable responses. The findings revealed that most pet owners were renting or were homeowners, with the number of cats owned and the incidence of dog ownership higher than expected in rented homes. Most respondents had knowledge about worm transmission, with living situation and number and type of pets affecting knowledge of worm and flea infestations. The responsibility of health management was assumed by those that made decisions about what types of preventative care was given and who paid for services and treatment. Overall, owners tended to know more about, and provided preventative care and treatment for, parasites that directly affect humans, such as worms, and two thirds of respondents would deworm the household, including pets and humans. Fewer respondents were aware of the effect of fleas, with a variety of treatments used. Knowledge of preventative care, in line with the standards of animal care in Aotearoa / New Zealand, by this age group is reassuring but there could be further compliance with increased awareness of the effects of worms and flea infestations on humans.
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    Monitoring infection load of oxyurid (nematoda) and Isospora (coccidia) in captive inland bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps)
    (Unitec ePress, Te Pūkenga, 2023-12) Pike, C.; Hsieh, Sally; Baling, Marleen; Unitec, Te Pūkenga; Applied Biosecurity Solution (Auckland, N.Z.)
    Endoparasites, such as helminths and protozoans, have been associated with mortality and gastrointestinal disease in reptiles, with particularly high prevalence observed in pet reptiles. We conducted an observational study on six juvenile captive inland bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps), to monitor the presence and estimate the abundance of intestinal endoparasite via faecal samples (egg counts using modified McMaster) over three months. We detected two types of endoparasites, coccidia Isospora sp. and oxyurid Phyrngodon sp. Oxyurid nematode ova shed almost 2.5 times higher egg count per gram of faeces in the afternoon compared to the morning, but the estimated egg counts did not significantly vary from August to October 2022. In contrast, for Isospora, there was no difference in oocyst counts between the two times of day sampled, but the shedding of Isospora oocyst increased over the three months. Often Isospora sp. are recorded to be highly pathogenic and can cause mortality in juvenile reptiles, whereas oxyurid are regarded as beneficial to their host unless they are found in high burdens. In this study, we did not find any significant association between the estimated quantity of egg / oocyst and the body condition of the dragons during the three months. Further studies are required to investigate pathogenicity or benefit of oxyurid to their hosts at different development stages. Finally, the storage period between collection and egg / oocyst quantification varied in this study, which may affect the estimated count of the eggs or oocysts. However, we did not find any apparent influence on time when faecal samples were processed to the number of eggs / oocysts that we counted.
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    Biological control of weeds in Aotearoa/New Zealand: History, science and achievements to date
    (Unitec ePress. Te Pūkenga, 2023-11-29) Matthews, Jade K.; Fraser, Diane; de Lange, Peter; Unitec, Te Pūkenga
    Aotearoa / New Zealand is the leading country globally in the use of biological control agents to combat introduced pest weed species. Here we review the history of biological control in Aotearoa / New Zealand, compile a list of current, self-introduced and accidentally introduced biocontrol agents, and list the agents currently under consideration for introduction to Aotearoa / New Zealand (accurate to 2021). We discuss the science and procedures in place for the safe introduction of a new biocontrol agent and discuss the public’s perception of biological control within Aotearoa / New Zealand. Since the 1920s there have been 79 control agents released; 68 of those species were deliberate introductions, eight self-introductions and three accidental introductions. Additionally, there have been eight reported occurrences of non-target-species attack by biological control agents in Aotearoa / New Zealand, all of which cause minor damage to their unintended hosts. Prior to their introduction to Aotearoa / New Zealand, potential biological control agents are required to undergo rigorous research and host-specificity testing to ensure that the agent does not pose a risk to indigenous taxa through non-target attack. This research is essential, as it ensures a precautionary approach is taken prior to introductions, which, in turn, provides the wider public with confidence in the validity of biocontrol agents as a means to manage weed species in Aotearoa / New Zealand.