Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 63 - Auchenorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera): catalogue - Conservation

Larivière, M-C; Fletcher, MJ; Larochelle, A 2010. Auchenorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera): catalogue. Fauna of New Zealand 63, 232 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ISSN 1179-7193 (online) ; no. 63. ISBN 978-0-478-34720-3 (print), ISBN 978-0-478-34721-0 (online) ). Published 16 Jun 2010


The Department of Conservation has responsibility for protecting and conserving New Zealand’s native plants and animals. The Department’s Species Priority Ranking System of Molloy & Davis (1994) provided criteria for scoring species according to various levels of threat so that management and/or recovery plans could be subsequently established. A list of priority invertebrate species for conservation was established in this way by Molloy & Davis (1994). McGuinness (2001) used these criteria and developed species profiles for taxa on the list, providing additional descriptive information to initiate or support key conservation actions. In addition, McGuinness (2001) added a number of invertebrates of potential conservation interest to the original list.

The Department of Conservation’s Species Ranking System categories as translated in the 2001 profiles and applied to Auchenorrhyncha are presented here in order to provide a comparative framework to consider species in this catalogue and those belonging to the suborder Heteroptera (see Larivière & Larochelle, 2004 catalogue). One species of Cicadomorpha and five species of Fulgoromorpha were profiled by McGuinness (2001): Maoricicada myersi (Cicadidae, conservation category I); Confuga persephone (Cixiidae, conservation category A); Huttia nigrifrons (Cixiidae, conservation category I); Malpha cockcrofti (Cixiidae, conservation category I); Malpha muiri (Cixiidae, conservation category I); and Semo harrisi (Cixiidae, conservation category I). Category A referred to “highest priority threatened species for conservation action”, and category I to “species about which little is known but, based on existing knowledge, are considered to be under threat”.

The most recent simultaneous review of the New Zealand Threat Classification System and the Lists of Threatened Taxa occurred in 2005, but was not published until 2007 (see Hitchmough et al., 2007). It provided revised threat classifications and categories for the above taxa, except Huttia nigrifrons, which was not included in the list. This is a well-known, broadly distributed species in the North Island that, in any case, needed to be removed from the list of threatened species.

The conservation status of the Auchenorrhyncha species listed by Hitchmough et al. (2007) is reviewed here. The threat category ‘Range Restricted’ applied to Maoricicada myersi (Cicadidae) and Confuga persephone (Cixiidae) appears appropriate. The threat category ‘Sparse’ to Semo harrisi (Cixiidae) is not appropriate. This well-known, wide-ranging South Island species should be excluded from any threat classification. If Malpha cockcrofti and M. muiri (Cixiidae) are to be kept under the threat category ‘Sparse’, then the 95 taxa listed in Appendix H, roughly one in two Auchenorrhyncha, would probably warrant consideration by the Department of Conservation for threat classification. However, there is no tangible evidence whatsoever to suggest that Malpha cockcrofti, M. muiri, or any other taxa in Appendix H have suffered high rates of decline in the past, and have now stabilised in refugia as Hitchmough et al. (2007) seems to suggest for species listed as ‘Sparse’ or ‘Range Restricted’. The most recent Department of Conservation New Zealand Threat Classification System Manual (Townsend et al., 2007) replaces the categories ‘Range Restricted’ and ‘Sparse’ by a single category ‘Naturally Uncommon’, but this probably does not apply to Malpha cockcrofti, M. muiri, or most other taxa in Appendix H either.

It is more likely that most of the 95 taxa in Appendix H, including M. cockcrofti and M. muiri, should be considered as data deficient, consequently needing further investigation and without reasonable basis on which to apply any sound threat classification category at this stage. Information on these taxa is simply too scanty, as is the case for many hemipterans that are not taxonomically revised, biologically well-known, or well surveyed. Appendix H should therefore be regarded as a watch list for future consideration and further taxonomic work, to be reviewed as more knowledge is gained about these taxa.

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