Little critter mauling Mount beach goers

An extreme example of being bitten by the Mount mauler. File photo.

As temperatures reach sweltering levels in the Bay of Plenty, more and more people are heading to the beaches to cool down.

But there is one little critter hiding in the sand waiting to pounce. The dreaded Mount mauler is back and is making some people think twice about going to the beach.

“I went the other day after work to cool down before going home. I felt like I was being bitten by something, but was too hot to take too much notice,” says one person who doesn’t want to be named.

“A few days later, my legs and arms started coming up in the huge red welts. They were so itchy and annoying. It drove me nuts.”

The woman says it took her weeks to get rid of the bites.

“I was using all kinds of creams and taking antihistamines.”

After three weeks, the welts started to disappear.

The woman wants people to be mindful when heading to the beach. She says the coastline along the Mount and Papamoa is beautiful, but people need to be aware of this little, annoying insect.

For those new to the Mount and Papamoa, the ‘Mount mauler’ is the local name for a kind of beach insect that lives principally above the high-tide mark.

In the past, sunbathers have complained of coming home and finding themselves covered in bites, although most people only get them on their feet from walking across the dry sand.

To avoid being bitten by the Mount mauler, people are advised to stay below the high-tide mark, and spray themselves and their towels with insect repellent.

There is some debate over what the insect looks like, and whether it is the adult or larvae form that causes the irritating bites.

If you have conclusive evidence of what the culprit looks like, email your photos to




Posted on 13-01-2019 09:26 | By Slim Shady

Yeah, and maybe they could get rid of flies as well. They’re annoying. In fact, let’s draw up a list. We could be world leaders.

pilot bay?

Posted on 09-01-2019 19:32 | By ruralgal

Is this just on the main beach or does it include pilot bay as well?


Posted on 09-01-2019 18:23 | By jed

Been at the mount for nearly 15 years now, very frequent user of the local mt beach through the entire year, and never been bitten by the mauler. Sandflies though, they have been quite bad at times. But you see them so you know what causes those bites.

Bitten by the Mauler

Posted on 09-01-2019 15:14 | By LyricalSoul

I didn’t even know such a thing existed until a few years back & yes it felt like I had been bitten 200 times by a bee. I didn’t go to the doctors or take antihistamine, I thought I know if aloe vera plant gel is good for sunburn it may help with the sting & sure enough it did.

All I know is.....

Posted on 09-01-2019 14:32 | By Bruja

that when they bit me they were those translucent bug things about 1cm long. I think they jump to ’move’. The itch nearly drove me insane for about 2 weeks. I remember beginning to itch a few hours after I came home from the beach but I didn’t know what had bitten me. I returned to the beach again the following day and later realised that it was them as I got MORE bites that second day also.

This needs addressing.

Posted on 09-01-2019 10:16 | By morepork

As Tauranga becomes a "University Town" and we make space for Acadaemia, it seems to me that a useful area for some local scientific research would be into identifying and understanding the life cycle of this "critter" with a view to eradicating it. (If that can be done safely...) It is disappointing that so little is known about it when it affects so many people in such an awful way. The cost of this to our reputation and Tourism would certainly warrant spending some money to fund a solution, never mind the fact that we should make our beaches safe for people to enjoy, irrespectively. It’s been here for a few years now and it’s time something was done about it.

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