Biogeographic observations of the Landhopper genus Waematau (Amphipoda: Talitridae)

Olivier Ball *1, Lara Shepherd 2, Richard Webber 3

1 Department of Applied and Environmental Sciences, NorthTec, Private Bag 9019, Whangarei
2 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, P.O. Box 467, Wellington; and School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn, Wellington
3 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, P.O. Box 467, Wellington

Currently, five species of landhopper in the endemic genus Waematau Duncan, 1994 are recognised, all in the northern North Island of New Zealand. Recent morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies show a further six species can be added to the genus, bringing the total to 11 species in four clades: W. manawatahi clade (1 species, described), W. kaitaia clade (2 species, both described), W. reinga clade (5 species, 1 described), and W. unuwhao clade (3 species, 2 described). The type species for the genus, W. manawatahi, is present on the Three Kings Islands, but it is unclear whether its distribution extends to the Northland mainland. Representatives of the W. kaitaia and W. reinga clades occur in both Te Paki Ecological District on the northern tip of Northland and in mainland forests between Kaitaia and Auckland. Waematau unuwhao is present in Te Paki ED and the undescribed species in the W. unuwhao clade is present on the Poor Knights Islands and Hauturu/Little Barrier Island. Kanikania rubroannulata is the third species in this clade on the basis of molecular and morphological data, even though K. rubroannulata is currently in a different genus and distinctly coastal in its distribution. Our research indicates that each clade tells a different biogeographical story. The biogeographical events that have led to the current distributions of species in the W. unuwhao clade appear particularly difficult to resolve, and suggest that a review of Waematau is required.

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