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Fauna of New Zealand Number 39: Molytini (Insecta:
by Austin, Richard

ISBN: 9780478093254
PUBLISHER: Manaaki Whenua Press
FORMAT: Paperback
PAGES: 68
PUBLICATION DATE: 31.01.1999


DESCRIPTION:
Flightless molytine weevils are some of the largest beetles in New Zealand, and they are some of the world's largest members of the tribe Molytini. This study provides descriptions of the 12 known species and of eight new speargrass weevils. It covers the identification of these weevils in detail, with illustrations of key external and internal features, and attempts to reconstruct their genealogy. Using this genealogy as a basis, the volume estimates the ecological and biogeographic history of their divergence in New Zealand. It is suggested that they are an old group, of at least 65 million years' duration in Aotearoa, descended from a widespread ancestral complex of coastal, insular, lowland and mountainous sites that have long been conspicuous features of the country. These weevils are known to occur in insular habitats, from the subtropical Poor Knights Islands off the Northland coast to the isolated Chatham Islands in the east, and the cold subantarctic Snares Islands in the south. They are most numerous and diverse in the South Island mountains, with maximum species diversity in West Otago and Fiordland. They are generally considered in New Zealand conservation biology as threatened species that are highly vulnerable to the combined impact of rodent predators and habitat modification. One species appears to have become extinct since European settlement. Insect ecologists who have made detailed studies of the knobbled weev

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