Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


New weta species found on Denniston Plateau

Friday 30 November 2012 – Wellington


Forest & Bird media release for immediate use


New weta species found on Denniston Plateau


New
weta species found on Denniston Plateau - Denniston
white-faced wetaA new species of cave weta has been discovered on the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau, which, if an Australian mining company has its way, will also be the site of a 190ha open-cast coal mine.

The weta has been informally named the “Denniston white-faced weta” for its distinctive white markings behind its head. It was discovered on the plateau in March by Massey University evolutionist Steve Trewick, who was immediately struck by the weta’s unusual appearance.

“It just stood out. We haven’t seen anything with that appearance and colouration.

“Males and females are almost black with an unusual, prominent white marking behind their head,” he says.

Members of Massey University’s ‘Phoenix’ evolution, ecology and genetics group, led by associate professors Steve Trewick and Mary Morgan-Richards have been researching and classifying the weta.

Distinctive DNA sequence, the combination of spines on the legs and the shape of the females’ subgenital plate all indicate this is a species new to science. But Steve Trewick says more work needs to be done to determine the genus and whether it is endemic to the Denniston Plateau.

“This weta might occur elsewhere as well as Denniston, but what it highlights is that destroying distinctive habitat is likely to destroy biodiversity even before we know it is there. If we’re destroying biodiversity before we’ve even identified it, we’re clearly following the wrong strategy,” he says.

The plateau’s unique geological composition in combination with atypical weather conditions, including an annual rainfall of 6m, has created ecosystems that support wildlife found nowhere else in the world.

Forest & Bird’s Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin says the discovery illustrates the rich ecological tapestry of the plateau and underscores why the plateau must not be mined.

“This new weta highlights the fact that the plateau is an incredibly diverse place that we don’t know a lot about. Laying waste to such a unique area of New Zealand that’s protected as conservation land would be a travesty,” she says.

A new species of day-flying moth, the Avator Moth, was also discovered on the plateau earlier this year.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:


NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • NIWA: The Year's Top Science Findings

    Since 1972 NIWA has operated a Clean Air Monitoring Station at Baring Head, near Wellington... In June, Baring Head’s carbon dioxide readings officially passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level last reached more than three million years ago. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Sci-Tech
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news