Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 61 - Lucanidae (Insecta: Coleoptera) - Geographical distribution

Holloway, BA 2007. Lucanidae (Insecta: Coleoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 61, 254 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 61. ISBN 978-0-478-09395-7 (print), ). Published 21 Nov 2007

Geographical distribution and altitudinal range

The New Zealand subregion is mapped on page 250. No lucanids have been found on any of New Zealand’s subantarctic islands. Mitophyllus irroratus is the only stag beetle known from the Kermadec Islands. This species is the most widespread New Zealand lucanid having been found in numerous North and South Island localities and in the northern half of Stewart Island, but not on the Chatham Islands. Specimens of M. irroratus have been collected from the northern tip of the North Island and from a few northern offshore islands but so far none have been found elsewhere in Northland nor from the mainland Auckland area or Coromandel Peninsula. Interestingly, in these areas it is replaced by M. arcuatus, a very similar looking species. Only 1 lucanid species, Paralissotes triregius is known from the Three Kings Islands. It is endemic to these islands and, like others in the genus, is vestigial-winged. The 6 other species of Paralissotes have somewhat limited distributions and altitudinal ranges that are mostly below 1000 m. Paralissotes mangonuiensis and P. oconnori have been found only in Northland, P. planus occurs from Northland to the Bay of Plenty, and the range of P. stewarti is from Northland to Wellington. Paralissotes reticulatus is the most widespread species in the genus, having been collected from the Bay of Plenty to South Canterbury. The rather similar looking P. rufipes is confined to the north of the South Island (Nelson, Marlborough including the Sounds, and Buller). In the material examined the altitudinal range of P. rufipes is from sea level to about 950 m, but Hudson (1934) found specimens between 2500 feet and 4000 feet (762 m and 1219 m) on the slopes of Mt Arthur in northwest Nelson.

The 10 species of Geodorcus are flightless. G. helmsi is the most widespread having been collected from Karamea in Nelson, down the west coast of the South Island, along the southern margin of the South Island, and on the eastern side of the South Island as far north as Tapanui in Southland. It also has been found on several islands in Fiordland, as well as on Solander Island, and on Stewart Island and some of the mutton bird islands, including Big South Cape Island. Adults of this species have been collected from near sea level to 1400 m. The geographic and altitudinal ranges of the other 9 species are mostly more limited. Geodorcus philpotti is known only from the southwest corner of the South Island but has a relatively wide altitudinal range, from near sea level to 1372 m; G. auriculatus has been found from near sea level to about 950 m in several localities in the southern part of the Coromandel Peninsula and on Mt Te Aroha and its environs; and G. novaezealandiae, a lowland species found from near sea level to 365 m, occurs in the Wairarapa and greater Wellington areas. The remaining species of Geodorcus appear to be restricted to islands or to mountain tops. Geodorcus ithaginis, initially known from an islet close to the main island of the Mokohinau group in Northland is now surviving only on nearby Stack H; G. capito and G. sororum occur on several islands of the Chathams archipelago; G. alsobius has so far been found only on Mt Moehau in the north of the Coromandel Peninsula, between 500 m and 875 m; G. servandus is known only from the summit, 1122 m, of Mt Tuhua in Westland; and G. montivagus is based on a single female specimen found at an altitide of 1220 m on the Victoria Range in the Buller region.

Mitophyllus, with 14 species, is New Zealand’s largest lucanid genus. M. fusculus, has vestigial winged females but fully winged males and has so far been found only in southern parts of the South Island, but the remainder all have well developed wings and, apart from M. reflexus which is confined to the Chatham Islands, are relatively widespread. The extensive range of M. irroratus has already been mentioned. Four species, M. arcuatus, M. gibbosus, M. macrocerus, and M. solox, are at present known only from North Island localities and 3 species, M. foveolatus, M. insignis, and M. fusculus have not been found outside the South Island. Five species, M. alboguttatus, M. angusticeps, M. dispar, M. falcatus, and M. parrianus are present in both the North and South Islands The range of M. parrianus extends south to Stewart Island. Mitophyllus insignis is the only species of the genus that so far has not been found near sea level, its altitudinal range in the specimens examined is from 600–1370 m. In the material examined 7 species, M. arcuatus, M. falcatus, M. fusculus, M. gibbosus, M. macrocerus, M. reflexus, and M. solox have not been collected above 500 m; M. irroratus has occurred up to 645 m, but the 6 other species (alboguttatus, angusticeps, dispar, foveolatus, insignis, and parrianus) have been found at least 1000 m above sea level, the greatest recorded altitude, 1750 m, being for M. alboguttatus.

Of the remaining endemic species, Dendroblax earlii and Holloceratognathus cylindricus are present in both the North and South Islands from sea level to about 600 m; H. helotoides has been collected in the North, South, and Chatham Islands from sea level to 1500 m; and H. passaliformis, an inquiline in nests of the endemic ant, Prolasius advena, has so far been found only in the Wellington district, from near sea level to about 450 m.

Auckland and Gisborne cities have been the places of entry for the 4 exotic species recorded in New Zealand. Ryssonotus nebulosus is known to have been in Gisborne since 1950 and in Auckland since 1967 and appears not to have colonised other areas, but in the 40 years since it was first noticed in the same two cities, Syndesus cornutus has become widespread in lowland parts of the northern half of the North Island, including Mayor Island off the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. A record of this species from Waitangi in the Chatham Islands (Emberson 1998) is based on a single specimen probably taken to the island in the hardwood pole in which it was found. In spite of extensive recent collecting on the Chathams no further specimens have been found so it appears that the species has not established there (Emberson, personal communication). The Lamprima aurata record comes from one male found 28 km northwest of Gisborne. The latest arrival, Serrognathus sika, is known from 3 males collected in the Auckland suburb of Pakuranga from December 2000 to April 2001.

The distribution of Lucanidae in New Zealand is summarised in Appendix 1, p. 128.

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