1 Ministry for Primary Industries; 231 Morrin Rd; Auckland
2 Department of Conservation; 33 Turanga Place; Turangi
3 University of Auckland; Private Bag 92019; Auckland
4 University of Canterbury; Private bag 4800; Christchurch
5 Lincoln University; PO Box 85084; Christchurch
The damselfly genus Xanthocnemis is endemic to New Zealand with four described species: zealandica distributed all over the North, South and Stewart Islands, sobrina restricted to forested shady streams in the North Island only, sinclairi discovered around the South Island mountain tarns and tuanuii identified in the Chatham and Pitt Islands only. The variations in morphological features used for species distinction are nimor and largely confined to the male genitalia with only X. tuanuii showing distinction in external morphology. A new approach was developed to tackle taxonomic difficult groups like Xanthocnemis. It relies on integration of geometric morphometrics and molecular analyses. The first uses morphological landmarks assigned to areas considered important in damselfly diagnostics and the seconds targeted mitochondrial and ribosomal genes utilised in other taxonomic studies. The four taxonomic entities were analysed in two separated studies using both tests. The results showed support for separate status of two species only: X. zealandica and X. tuanuii. The other two X. sobrina and X. sinclairi are proposed as junior synonyms of X. zealandica.