Story: Native plants and animals – overview

Radiation of wētā species

Radiation of wētā species

The alpine scree wētā (Deinacrida connectens) has been surveyed where it lives in South Island mountains. Genetic differences between wētā living on different mountain tops revealed seven distinct groups. All the groups evolved from an ancestral wētā following the uplift of land and formation of mountains over the past 5 million years. Isolated on mountain ranges, the wētā groups developed genetic differences. Subsequent glacial periods reinforced the isolation of wētā groups as glaciers became a barrier to dispersal.

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Source: Steven A. Trewick, 'Scree weta phylogeography.' New Zealand journal of zoology 28 (2001): 291–298; Steven A. Trewick and Mary Morgan-Richards, 'After the deluge: mitochondrial DNA indicates Miocene radiation and Pliocene adaptation of tree and giant weta.' Journal of biogeography 32 (2005): 295–309.

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How to cite this page:

Bob Brockie, 'Native plants and animals – overview - Unusual characteristics of animals', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/map/10609/radiation-of-weta-species (accessed 15 November 2019)

Story by Bob Brockie, published 24 Sep 2007