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

 

Fruitful Endeavours: Kiwifruit Exports Reach Record Levels

In June 2016, kiwifruit exports rose $105 million (47 percent) from June 2015 to reach $331 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. Overall, goods exports rose $109 million (2.6 percent) in June 2016 (to $4.3 billion). More>>

ALSO:

Economic Update: RBNZ Says Rate Cut Seems Likely

The Reserve Bank will likely cut interest rates further as a persistently strong kiwi dollar makes it difficult for the bank to meet its inflation target, it said. The local currency fell. More>>

ALSO:

House Price Action Plan: RBNZ Signals National Lending Restrictions

The central bank wants to cap bank lending to property investors with a deposit of less than 40 percent at 5 percent and restore the 10 percent limit for owner-occupiers wanting to take out a mortgage with a deposit of less than 20 percent, according to a consultation paper released today. More>>

ALSO:

Sparks Fly: Gordon Campbell On China Steel Dumping Allegations

No doubt, officials on the China desk at MFAT have prided themselves on fashioning a niche position for New Zealand right in between the US and China – and leveraging off both of them! Well, as the Aussies would say, of MFAT: tell ‘em they’re dreaming. More>>

ALSO:

Loan Sharks: Finance Companies Found Guilty Of Breaching Fair Trading Act

Finance companies Budget Loans and Evolution Finance, run by former 1980s corporate high-flyer Allan Hawkins, have been found guilty of 106 charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act for misleading 21 borrowers while enforcing loan contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Post Panama Papers: Govt To Adopt Shewan's Foreign Trust Recommendations

The government will adopt all of the recommendations from former PwC chairman John Shewan to increase disclosure and introduce a register for foreign trusts with new legislation to be introduced next month. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news