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A team of zoologists from the University Otago has discovered a new species of insect—the Maungatua stonefly—from the slopes of the Maungatua Range, on the doorstep of Dunedin.
The unique stonefly, just under 2cm in length, has so far been found living in only a few hundred metres of subalpine stream habitat, just below the summit of Maungatua, overlooking Dunedin Airport.
Team - DNA - Evidence - Species - Region
The team used DNA evidence to show that the species has likely been isolated in the region for around 2 million years.
"It's remarkable to find such a distinctive, relict species so close to home," says Zoology Ph.D. student Brodie Foster, an entomologist who led the description of the new species.
Stoneflies - Life - Cycles - Mayflies - Lives
Stoneflies have life cycles similar to those of mayflies, where nymphs spend their early lives under stones in the rapids of fast-flowing streams. As their name implies, most stoneflies can fly, developing large wings once they emerge from streams as adults.
However, the newly discovered Maungatua stonefly is unusual in that it has apparently adapted to the windy conditions on Maungatua by losing its ability to fly—its wings being reduced to tiny remnants. Being unable to fly...
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