Whangarei, New Zealand
Whangarei, New Zealand
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Ball O.J.-P.,NorthTec | Webber W.R.,Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa | Shepherd L.D.,Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa | Shepherd L.D.,Victoria University of Wellington
Zootaxa | Year: 2017

The talitrid landhopper genus Waematau Duncan, 1994 is restricted to the northern North Island of New Zealand. Six species of Waematau from Te Paki Ecological District are documented. Three known species, Waematau muriwhenua Duncan, 1994, W. reinga Duncan, 1994 and W. unuwhao Duncan, 1994, are redescribed and three new species, W. kohuroa sp. nov., W. rereke sp. nov. and W. ringanohinohi sp. nov. are described, bringing the total number of known Waematau species to eight. A molecular phylogenetic analysis of all eight known Waematau species was conducted using DNA sequences from the CO1, 16S and histone H3 loci. Results show a high degree of congruence between the molecular phylogeny and morphological characters distinguishing the species. Molecular analysis also supports recognition of the three new species, despite low levels of interspecific morphological variation for certain traits. We identify the most obvious morphological indicators of evolutionary change between closely related species of Waematau, and predict that the New Zealand landhopper fauna is richer than currently recognised. Copyright © 2017 Magnolia Press

Thompson B.,Unitec Institute of Technology | Thompson B.,Cawthron Institute | Ball O.-P.,NorthTec | Fitzgerald B.M.,Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
New Zealand Journal of Zoology | Year: 2015

Spiders in the endemic New Zealand genus Pahoroides (Araneae: Synotaxidae) are all morphologically very similar. Two species, Pahoroides whangarei and Pahoroides confusa, coexist in Pukenui Forest near Whangarei, Northland, living in vegetation close to the ground. We tested the hypothesis that P. whangarei and P. confusa occupy distinct ecological niches defined more by conditions at the microhabitat level than at the macrohabitat level. Twenty random sites within Pukenui Forest, from which a range of macrohabitat and microhabitat variables were collected, were sampled by beating vegetation for Pahoroides spiders. Both species were distributed throughout the forest, and in many cases, were found at the same sites. However, neither the presence nor abundance of one Pahoroides species was associated with that of the other. Whereas macrohabitat variables such as aspect, litter cover and overall plant community composition were not associated with either species, a significant association was found between Pahoroides species and the plant hosts upon which they were collected. Pahoroides whangarei was found mostly on the foliage of crown fern (Blechnum discolor) and kiekie (Freycinetia banksii), whereas P. confusa was most often found in the fallen fronds of ni¯kau (Rhopalostylis sapida). Our findings support the hypothesis that the two Pahoroides species have similar habitat preferences at the macroscale, but not at the microscale. We conclude that host plant species is a dominant factor that enables the species to coexist. © 2015 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Ball O.J.-P.,NorthTec | Whaley P.T.,Kaitaia Area Office | Booth A.M.,Northland Conservancy | Hartley S.,Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand Journal of Ecology | Year: 2013

Te Paki Ecological District in Northland is regarded as a New Zealand biodiversity hotspot, but habitat loss and forest fragmentation have adversely affected many of its endemic species. We investigated the distribution and habitat associations of Mecodema tenaki (Coleoptera: Carabidae), a Te Paki endemic ground beetle whose threat status was recently changed from 'Nationally Critical' to 'Declining'. Manual searching and pitfall trapping (live-capture and lethal) were used to detect the species at 46 sites in three habitat types: native forest, pine plantation and shrubland. Between 2006 and 2010, 41 individuals were found at five locations in the east of the district, significantly increasing individual and locality records for the species. Efficacy of both forms of pitfall trapping for determining presence/absence of M. tenaki was extremely high, whereas manual searching had lower sensitivity. Beetles were only found in structurally heterogeneous native forest with a closed canopy, including edge zones. All beetles were found at sites underlain by rocks of the Parengarenga Group (mainly Kaurahoupo Conglomerate); however, neither forest community composition nor soil properties were good predictors of beetle presence. The most important factor influencing the present distribution of M. tenakiis likely to have been anthropogenic habitat disturbance. Our study shows that lethal trapping methods are not essential for studying or monitoring this threatened species. It also shows that retaining and managing even very small native forest fragments within its historical range may be important for the protection of the species, and that a site-based rather than a single-species approach is likely to be the most effective management strategy. The possibility of relocating beetles to suitable, presently unoccupied locations should not be discounted. Our results indicate that a threat ranking of 'Nationally Vulnerable' rather than 'Declining' may be more appropriate for the species. © New Zealand Ecological Society.

Ball O.J.-P.,NorthTec | Pohe S.R.,NorthTec | Pohe S.R.,University of Canterbury | Winterbourn M.J.,University of Canterbury
New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2015

The littoral macroinvertebrate faunas of 17 dune lakes on the Aupouri Peninsula in northern New Zealand were examined. Land cover of individual catchments was principally sand dunes and scrub, plantation forest, pasture, or a mixture of plantation forest and pasture. Sampling was concentrated in the sedge beds, submerged macrophytes and surface sediment layers of the littoral zone. Sixty-eight invertebrate taxa were recorded, 11-30 per lake. Relative abundance of major faunal groups differed considerably among lakes but a core group of common species was found in three quarters of them. Neither community composition, nor various measures of species richness were related significantly to catchment land cover classes. A feature of the lake fauna was the occurrence of three introduced species of Gastropoda and eight self-introduced insect species, including five dragonflies. One of the latter, Hemicordulia australiae, was found in all lakes and made up 3% of all invertebrates collected. © 2015 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Fitness J.L.,Massey University | Morgan-Richards M.,Massey University | Ball O.J.-P.,NorthTec | Godfrey A.J.R.,Massey University | Trewick S.A.,Massey University
New Zealand Journal of Zoology | Year: 2015

The New Zealand cave weta fauna is large and diverse but poorly described. This study aimed to improve the strategies for cave weta identification and, in doing so, build an understanding of population dynamics and distribution of the taxon across three habitat types in the Te Paki Ecological District. Species identification used morphological traits and metric analysis of specimens in pitfall traps. Although nearly half the individuals were juveniles (< 10 mm long) that could not readily be distinguished from one another, four species were identified from the larger specimens. Capture rates of cave weta varied by species, habitat, month and the interactions of these variables. Nearly half of all identified cave weta individuals in our sample were Neonetus variegatus, which was abundant across all three habitats (pine forest, native forest and shrubland) throughout the year, but were caught in pitfall traps in the greatest numbers in some pine forest sites. A species of Pachyrhamma was also abundant and showed seasonal variation in capture rate, but no adults were captured by pitfall traps. Talitropsis sp. and Pallidoplectron sp. were least frequent in our sample. Taxonomic resolution improves ecological inference, but, as with other invertebrates, trapping method and design influence sampling outcome among species. © 2015 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

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