Plague skink caught in the act

22 March 2018

Plague skink kill 2x650

Here is compelling evidence of plague skink predation.

The moth is of Family Noctuidae and is probably Graphania mutans (New Zealand cutworm also known as grey-brown cutworm) which is one New Zealand's larger native moth species. A second photograph in our plague skink kill sign section shows the moth remains.

John Stanford, who photographed this animal on the deck at his home in Muriwai, said there are a lot of plague skinks in the area.

"Normally, they move off quickly, but this one was more interested in the moth than me and my camera," says John.

Last year John caught 110 rats and 90 mice on his property and thinks there are now more young plague skinks than previously.

"With all the predator control happening I think they will become more of a problem. We have a good population of Ornate skinks in Muriwai so hopefully they don't suffer."

Plague skinks, which have the capacity to reproduce rapidly in large numbers, are Unwanted Organisms in New Zealand. Preventing their spread is a priority. See our plague skink section to find out what signs of their presence to look for.