Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 61 - Lucanidae (Insecta: Coleoptera) - Study methods

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

Study methods

Preparation of material

Most New Zealand lucanids are large enough to be pinned. Those too small for pinning should be mounted on cardboard points, using a water soluble glue, and positioned so that the entire left side of the body can be seen.

Specimens from which genitalia preparations are to be made must be simmered gently until the body softens and glue, if present, dissolves. A few drops of detergent can be added to clean greasy specimens or those coated with soil. The abdomen has to be removed from the body in one piece and macerated in a small tube containing a 10 percent solution of potassium hydroxide kept warm, but never boiled, in a waterbath. Maceration takes from 10 minutes to 30 or more minutes depending on the size of the specimen. When macerated the abdomen should be transferred to a small dish of water on the stage of a stereomicroscope. It can then be held with forceps and rinsed several times, using a swirling motion, to get rid of as much of the macerated tissue as possible. A cut should then made along the upper left margin of the abdomen so that the entire dorsal integument can be moved to one side and the genitalia lifted out as a single mass. Usually some tracheae will remain attached to the genitalia and these have to be removed using forceps and fine pins. This procedure requires great care, especially if the preparation is from a female, to avoid damaging ducts and other weakly sclerotised structures. In females, the spermatheca is usually easily recognised because it is pigmented and more strongly sclerotised than other structures. It is best to do the final cleaning in 70 percent ethanol in which structures are more sharply defined. Drawings of both the male and female genitalia should be made from preparations transferred to a dish of clean alcohol and held in place with small overlying pins. The genitalia should not be slide mounted because they become flattened and distorted. They should be stored in a small amount of thinned glycerine in a corked minivial placed under the labels accompanying the pinned specimen. If it is possible to fit the empty abdomen in the minivial the genitalia can be enclosed in this for added protection. Empty abdomens that are too large to be put in a minivial can either be glued back on the specimen or glued on a card that is then pinned below the label data.

The elytral surface structures shown in this volume are from the apical half of the elytron, above the declivity. The micrographs were obtained using a Philips 505 scanning electron microscope and gold-coated pieces of elytra, some of which had been previously cleaned by overnight soaking, then sonicated in a small tube of water containing a few drops of an ammonia-based household cleaner (Holloway 1997). The line drawings of elytral vestiture were made from individually plucked scales and setae taken from above the elytral declivity, slide-mounted in glycerine and examined and drawn under oil immersion (Holloway 1997).

The micrographs of structures on the forelegs are from uncleaned gold-coated preparations and were obtained using the same electron microscope.


The illustrations are at the end of the text. All scale lines are equal to 1.0 mm unless otherwise indicated.

The habitus drawings were prepared by Des Helmore, scientific illustrator at Landcare Research. All the line drawings were made by me using either a camera lucida or a drawing tube. The vestiture has been omitted from some of these, especially on the tibiae where rows of setae are usually are indicated by broken longitudinal lines. Paul Sutherland of HortResearch Institute, formerly of DSIR Plant Protection, Auckland prepared the scanning electron micrographs, and Birgit Rhode prepared the automontaged images.

Material examined

More than 2500 specimens have been examined for this revision. They are deposited in the collections of the following institutions, which are referred to throughout the text by the four-letter abbreviations proposed initially by Watt (1979).

AMNZ Auckland Institute and Museum, Auckland, N.Z.
BMNH The Natural History Museum, London, U.K.
CMNZ Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, N.Z.
LUNZ Entomology Research Museum, Lincoln University, Lincoln, N.Z.
MNHN Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris Museum), Paris, France.
MONZ Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, N.Z.
NZAC New Zealand Arthropod Collection, Landcare Research, Auckland, N.Z.

Increasing family responsibilities have considerably limited the time available for me to do entomological research at home. Consequently I have not been able to examine every specimen in the various collections within New Zealand and elsewhere. The main source of material for this revision has been the widely representative collection of New Zealand Lucanidae in NZAC.

The label data, sex, and repository of every specimen examined, as well as of some specimens referred to in my earlier revision (Holloway 1961) and subsequent papers but not re-examined, are recorded on species data sheets which are deposited in the New Zealand Arthropod Collection and can be seen by arrangement with the Curator. Individual entries from the sheets are included in this volume only for type material. For all other material the data have been combined and summarised to give an overall picture of distribution, monthly incidence, and other biological information for each species. The two-letter area codes used to denote the species distributions are those proposed by Crosby et al. (1998). Locality records are marked on the distribution maps that are given for all the species. The solid circles include general areas from which specimens have been recorded in the past but from which they may now have disappeared because of habitat destruction or rodent predation.

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