To: "Purcell's" <>
Subject: Foxes
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 23:20:53 +1100
Hello Purcells

What an interesting observation !  One of the reasons foxes do
so well is because they have such a wide range of prey.

Perhaps other subscribers will be aware of birds which take
Christmas Beetles - I am not.  But the natural way of
controlling them is also good for birds.  This is a quote from
the Victorian DNRE's Land for Wildlife Note no 32:

"The understorey layer provides habitat for predators which can
assist in natural pest control. For example, more than ten wasp
species parasitise the larvae of leaf-eating beetles such as
Christmas Beetles. The adult wasps feed on nectar and protein
from native trees and shrubs, such as Burgan and wattles. Lack
of understorey species has decreased nectar sources and
consequently the wasps cannot survive in these cleared areas.
The larvae and adults of other beetles and flies also feed on
Christmas Beetle grubs but require  shelter by day in leaf and
bark litter and do not thrive in open cleared pastures."

The Note can be found on the NRE website by doing an
"information series" search for "understorey" or, possibly, by
going direct to:[/4A25676D00283C7B/BCVIEW/34933B99F789EF0E4A25677800115944?OPENDOCUMENT]

An earlier version was published by BOCA in The Bird Observer
no.755. BOCA was of course a major, possibly the, driving force
behind the Land for Wildlife scheme. 

The note also describes other benefits of understorey for the
soil.. and birds (which control other pests) and suggests ways
of improving understorey.

Michael Norris
Hampton, Vic.

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