|Miotopus richardsi |
Fitness, Morgan-Richards, Hegg & Trewick, 2018
Comparison of morphological and genetic data from New Zealand forest cave wētā suggests we should recognise the genus Miotopus proposed by Hutton (1898). A new species within this genus is described (Miotopus richardsi sp. nov.). Both Miotopus diversus (Hutton, 1898) and Miotopus richardsi sp. nov. are common in native forests and widespread in New Zealand. Here we provide their known distributions and key traits
Keywords: cave wētā; cave cricket; Miotopus; Pleioplectron; Rhaphidophoridae
Order Orthoptera Latreille, 1793
Superfamily Rhaphidophordoidea Walker, 1869
Family Rhaphidophoridae Walker, 1869
Subfamily Macropathinae Karny, 1930
Tribe Macropathini Karny, 1930
Genus Miotopus Hutton, 1898
Medium size cave wētā (body length 11–17 mm) found in forests and caves, on three main islands of New Zealand. The genus consists of two species that are structurally quite distinct from one another, and share some morphological characteristics with Pleioplectron.
Miotopus diversus Hutton, 1898
Diagnosis A medium sized cave wētā found in forested areas around the North Island, New Zealand, mainly in leaf litter on the forest floor, or in the roots of trees. Dark brown with visible dark and pale bands on the fore and mid legs, it could be most easily confused with the sympatric Pleioplectron hudsoni. However, adult Miotopus diversus are larger (see Table 1), usually appear darker in life, and have small spines on the dorsal surface of the mid tibiae, and are further distinguished from Pleioplectron by spine count and male terminalia.
Miotopus richardsi sp. nov.
Diagnosis: A medium sized cave wētā found in forested areas of the South Island, New Zealand with a variegated colour pattern. Similar to Miotopus diversus based on apical spines with the exception of the presence on hind femora of both prolateral and retrolateral apical spines (n.b. this trait was formerly considered diagnostic of Pachyrhamma, see Cook et al. 2010). It is easily identified by the very long legs and the presence of three pairs of prominent, socketed superior spines on the hind tibiae. Female with subgenital plate similar to M. diversus, but differs in male genital terminalia. Notably long ovipositor, as long as or longer than body length.
Etymology: Named for Aola Richards who studied New Zealand cave wētā and published many important systematic papers from 1954 until 1972.
Josephine L. Fitness, Mary Morgan-Richards, Danilo Hegg and Steven A. Trewick. 2018. Reinstatement of the New Zealand Cave Wētā Genus Miotopus Hutton (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae) and Description of A New Species. European Journal of Taxonomy. 468; 1–24. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2018.468