Hopping across the ditch: The New Zealand Orthoptera

Steve Trewick *1, Mary Morgan-Richards 1

1 Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

The New Zealand orthopteran fauna is an eclectic mix dominated by the Anostostomatidae (weta) and Rhaphidophoridae (cave crickets). The native Acrididae comprise mostly montane grasshoppers species (~13) in endemic genera, two endemic species of the Australian genus Phaulacridium, and the ubiquitous migratory locust. Other families have even less representation: Gryllidae (a few species allied to/shared with Australian fauna), Tetigoniidae (a few species allied to or shared with Australian fauna), one gryllotalpid, and a recently established gryllacridid (Pterapotrechus). The Anostostomatidae and Rhaphidophoridae are speciose and, except for one dubious case, are represented by endemic genera. Species in these two groups occur throughout New Zealand in a wide range of habitats. They comprise in Australia a similar or possibly smaller number of species than in New Zealand, whereas the Australian Tettigoniidae, Gryllidae and Gryllacridadae and Acrididae include some 1000, 715, 125 and 700 species respectively. Here we report ongoing analysis of phylogenetic signature from examples in the three most speciose NZ families, Anostostomatidae, Rhaphidophoridae and Acrididae, which reveal a complex mixture of relationships with Australian taxa.

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