Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 27 - Antarctoperlinae (Insecta: Plecoptera) - Introduction

McLellan, ID 1993. Antarctoperlinae (Insecta: Plecoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 27, 70 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 27. ISBN 0-477-01644-8 (print) ). Published 18 Feb 1993


Plecoptera or stoneflies are an order of insects with a fossil record dating back about 260 million years. A widespread group, they are found throughout the world except in polar regions. They are soft-bodied, with clearly separated thoracic segments and usually with four wings which are folded straight back and closely applied to the abdomen. The cerci may be long (e.g., Gripopterygidae) or reduced to one segment (e.g., Notonemouridae). A number of species do not have full wings, and may be brachypterous (short-winged) or apterous (wingless).

Nymphs are normally aquatic, and may have filamentous gills, in the form of an anal rosette in Gripopterygidae, or in Austroperlidae as a few beaded filaments on the appendages of the abdominal apex. The Notonemouridae have no gills. Nymphs usually live in cool, running fresh water, but in New Zealand and southern South America some apterous species have terrestrial nymphs living in cool, humid microclimates beneath stones or vegetation in alpine or subantarctic situations. At low altitudes there are winged species with semi-terrestrial nymphs which early in their existence move out of the water to spend the winter under stones of stream floodplains.

New Zealand's stoneflies belong to four families which have an Austral distribution only, on lands derived from Gondwana fragments (Australia, New Zealand, South America, Falkland Islands, South Africa, Madagascar).

Zwick (1973) divided the Plecoptera into two suborders. The Antarctoperlaria are exclusively Southern Hemisphere stoneflies, whereas the Arctoperlaria are of Northern Hemisphere origin, with two families in the Southern Hemisphere. Notonemouridae are the only family restricted to the south; the Perlidae are widespread in the Northem Hemisphere, and extend to the south through South Africa and South America. New Zealand's Notonemouridae have recently been revised (McLellan 1991), and there are now 26 species in six genera.

The Antarctoperlaria are divided into two superfamilies: Eusthenioidea, comprising the families Diamphipnoidae (South America, five species) and Eustheniidae (Australia, fourteen species; New Zealand, two species; South America, one species); and Leptoperloidea, which present a less clearcut picture. Zwick divided the Leptoperloidea into Austroperlidae and Gripopterygidae, but took Antarctoperlinae from Gripopterygidae and Crypturoperla from Austroperlidae, and in his phylogenetic diagram shows them between the two families, each next to the family from which it was removed.

The Gripopterygidae (in the sense of Zwick) comprise 127 Australian species, 25 from New Zealand, 22 f'rom South America, and one from the Falkland Islands. As a result of the present revision, the Antarctoperlinae now comprise 32 New Zealand species, 14 from South America, and one from the Falkland Islands. The Austroperlidae have eight Australian species (including Crypturoperla: Michaelis 1988), four from South America, and one from New Zealand.

© Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd 1997

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