Diversity and distribution of Pleioplectron Hutton cave wētā (Orthoptera: Rhaphidophoridae: Macropathinae), with the synonymy of Weta Chopard and the description of seven new species

Danilo Hegg, Mary Morgan-Richards, Steven A. Trewick


The genus Pleioplectron was first described by Hutton (1896) and included six New Zealand species. This genus has since had three species moved, one each to the genera Pachyrhamma Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1888, Miotopus Hutton, 1898 and Novoplectron Richards, 1958. Here we clarify the status and appearance of Pleioplectron simplex Hutton, 1896 (incl. P. pectinatum Hutton, 1896 syn. nov.) and P. hudsoni Hutton, 1896, as well as P. thomsoni (Chopard, 1923) comb. nov., which is transferred from the genus Weta Chopard, 1923. The genus Weta is newly synonymised with Pleioplectron. We also describe seven new species of Pleioplectron from South Island, New Zealand: P. auratum sp. nov., P. caudatum sp. nov, P. crystallae sp. nov., P. flavicorne sp. nov., P. gubernator sp. nov., P. rodmorrisi sp. nov and P. triquetrum sp. nov. We base these descriptions on morphology using fresh specimens of both male and female adults, and provide support for each with DNA sequence variation (mtDNA, partial COI).


Cave wētā; Pleioplectron; Rhaphidophoridae; systematics; New Zealand

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5852/ejt.2019.577


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