Carabids are among my favourite beetles, they were one of the few groups I worked with even before I went to university and they were a common feature of the lab I used during my M.Phil. So it was with pleasure that I received this volume from Manaaki Whenua. As with many groups, but perhaps to an even greater extent, the New Zealand Carabidae fauna is typified by endemism with 92% of the 424 species currently recognised being endemic. Even at the level of genera New Zealand is unique with 58% of the known genera being endemic. Thus this book will supply for the first time a large amount of data which is of great use to taxonomists around the world.
The volume continues their normally high standards and will undoubtedly be of great use to carabidologists world wide and to ecologists in New Zealand. This volume is only a catalogue and I will have to wait longer for a comprehensive key to the New Zealand carabid fauna. However it is a well produced catalogue and fulfils all the requirements of such a work in good order.
The species names of all the New Zealand Carabidae are catalogued with distribution records and information on ecology, biology and dispersal power. Valid names are listed in their current and original combinations with the author(s), publication date, page citation, and type locality; synonyms are given in their original combinations; other existing combinations are also provided. Genus-group names are listed with the author(s), publication date, page citation, and type species (including method of fixation). The catalogue is arranged phylogenetically and the most important references including keys when available are listed.
The catalogue also includes a bibliography of all the original descriptions and of most of the important references. A habitus illustration is supplied representing each tribe as are distribution maps, to a fairly coarse scale, of all but 7 exceedingly poorly known species. A number of appendices complete the work supplying information on: Technical terms; A list of nomina nuda; A list of unjustified emendations; A synopsis of species incorrectly or doubtfully recorded; A synopsis of deliberately introduced species; Geographical coordinates of type localities; Alphabetical list of species by areas.
All in all another well produced work which must be highly recommended to anyone with an interest in this group.
While I was living in England I always ended up feeling slightly jealous whenever I received a book from Manaaki Whenua because they were generally better than the similar volumes I worked with in England. This situation has not been improved by my moving to Bulgaria where the fauna is more diverse and less well studied. If I am lucky a checklist has been published, otherwise there is nothing. So now I have two new volumes to comment on (42 and 43), both on groups I collected and studied in the UK.
The first is on Aphodiinae a large and cosmopolitan subfamily of saprophagus and coprophagus beetles. This slim, though seminal volume deals with the small New Zealand fauna in great detail and should make future recording of and research into this interesting group of beetles much easier than it has been. The New Zealand Aphodiinae amount to only 20 species, 11 of which are introduced. Never-the-less they are a useful group to have good keys for because they are easily obtained and observed.
The book describes 2 new species to New Zealand and 2 new synonymies as well as proving keys to all species. As well as providing distribution maps, excellent genitalia illustrations and numerous SEM images this work excels in that it supplies ecological information beyond that which is normally found in such works. Each Genera and species are fully described. The work also contains a comprehensive reference list.
The author, Zdzislava Teresa Stebnicka is recognised world wide as an expert on the Aphodiinae and her expertise is evident in the qualitative detail of the work. She is employed by the Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals at the Polish Academy of Sciences.
All in all this work continues to maintain the high standards I have come to expect from this series. Highly Recommended.
The Coccidae are an important member of the Superfamily Coccoidea, comprising about 1000 known species world wide amounting to 16 percent of the Coccoidea. They are not an overtly difficult family to recognise but species identity can be difficult. Like most members of the Sternorrhyncha they are disparately studied with the few economically important species receiving much attention while the less harmful, from an anthropocentric point of view, species receive little if any attention. As with the Cixiidae in the previous volume in this series this is partly due to a lack of comprehensive, useable keys. It is therefore a great pleasure to see Manaaki Whenua Press releasing works like this which will greatly facilitate future studies on this interesting group.
The New Zealand fauna is, as in many cases, fairly unique with 43 species and 11 genera from a total of 57 species being indigenous. None of the indigenous species are of any economic importance unlike the 14 adventive species. In this work the authors have named 25 new species and transferred 12 species to new genera, thus successfully rearranging the entire indigenous fauna. They have described each species in detail and supplied keys to the adult females of each New Zealand species. Ctenochiton elongatus is designated, quite reasonably given the evidence, a Nomen dubium.
This work is accurate, comprehensive and well produced, as are all the volumes in this series. It is ably illustrated with 16 colour plates, 4 B/W plates of SEMs and over 150 text illustrations. Distribution maps are supplied for the 43 indigenous species. The work also includes a list of host plants with associated scales, a bibliography and a brief introduction to the ecology of soft scales.
All in all this is another excellent and valuable publication from the Manaaki Whenua Press. Highly Recommended.
The Cixiidae are not an over studied group of insect despite there being over 1500 species at least world wide. In many countries this will at least partly be a result of a paucity of useable keys. With this small work from Manaaki Press by M.-C. Larivière this obstacle, at least, is removed for the New Zealand fauna.
As with all the works I have seen in this series this book is extremely comprehensive and well produced. It includes an introduction to the group as a whole, a history of Cixiidae recording in New Zealand, an in depth discussion of the distribution of the New Zealand fauna including the occurrence of hybrids Cixius puntimargo and C. inexpectus. There are keys to genera and species. These keys are well written and should not prove difficult to use once material has been prepared, methods of preparing material has been described in full. Two new genera and eight new species are described. All the 25 New Zealand are described in detail including male genitalia illustration.
As always the New Zealand fauna is both fascinating and unique with 8 of the 11 genera and all 25 species being endemic. This well written and illustrated work, including a number of SEMs supplies New Zealand entomologists with the tools they need to push forward the our limited understanding of the Cixiidea. With its new species and genera descriptions as well as the rest of its contents this work will also be of great interest to all those involved in the Auchenorrhyncha world wide.
This is really a 'Guide to the Beetle Families of New Zealand' in luxury class travel. an extensive exposition of the 82 beetle families found in New Zealand this work once again exemplifies the high quality entomological literature currently being produced in New Zealand that will support a growing body of knowledge and researchers, both amateur and professional in the years to come.
The work contains an introduction to the various beetles in general, their biology, capture, classification, identification and study. Further to this it contains a introduction to each family covered and keys to family and subfamily in some cases. There are two keys to family in this work, one pyramidal and the other linear, they look fine but I have not been able to test them. Amazingly the publishers supply you with a 2nd separate independent copy of the two keys obviating the need to have the whole work next to the microscope, or allowing you to see both the couplets and the illustrations at the same time. They also recommend that you photocopy the images for ease of use.
An annotated bibliography to the major works, along with selected references to each family and a major bibliography of over 1000 references make for easy finding of all the relevant literature. The addition of a glossary and some excellent preliminary figures of morphological characteristics make this a work useable by people at al levels of expertise. A very nice publication in deed, troubled very little a few typos, a slight confusion over the numbers in the introduction and an inverted couplet at the beginning of each key. This latter is not quite just a matter of taste, it is a useful convention, that the authors follow for the majority of these keys that the positive half of a couplet always comes first. why they have ignored this in couplet 4(2) I do not know.
"4(2) Antennae larger, filiform; eyes not divided......"
"Antennae short, with a large pedicel; eyes each divided into two;...."
Otherwise as I have said, this is a very useful addition to the literature. Highly Recommended
Fauna of New Zealand No.35. Cydnidae Acanthosomatidae Pentatomidae (Insecta: Heteroptera) : systematics, geographical distribution, and bioecology. By M.-C. Lariviere.
Published date = 23/November/1995
ISSN = 0111-5383
Price = NZ$42.50
This is a beautiful little publication covering the 16 'Shield Bugs' that occur in New Zealand in considerable depth. Half of these species are endemic, and of the four introduced species only Nezara viridula is a pest. I am, if anything, jealous that we do not have anything this good for the 40 odd species that occur in the UK.
Each species is described in detail, both taxonomic and habitational and illustrated in B/W both as an adult and as a 5th instar nymph. The keys to species are also lavishly illustrated as well as being coherent. As well as this there is a general introduction to the three families involved, a comprehensive glossary, distribution maps for each species, a list of geographical co-ordinates of where specimen have been collected, a systematic list of associated plants and a systematic list of associated animals. All in all I was highly impressed with this production, if its publication does not revitalise the interest in Shield Bugs amongst amateur and professional naturalists in New Zealand I will be most surprised.
An Excellent Work.
Fauna of New Zealand No.36. Leptophlebiidae (Insecta: Ephemeroptera) By D.R.Towns and W.L. Peters
Published date = 19/August/1996
ISBN = 0-478-09303-9
Price = NZ$39.50
This is another beautiful little publication covering the 30 members of the family Leptophlebiidae that occur in New Zealand in a very complete way. Though all of these species are endemic the geographical and taxonomic affiliations are dealt with in a very clear manner.
Each species is described in detail, both taxonomic and habitational and there are numerous illustration in B/W both of the adult and of the taxonomically relevant aspects of the nymphs. The keys to species (both of adults and of nymphs) are again extensively illustrated as well as being coherent. If anything detracts from the perfection of these publications it is the fact that the illustrations are not adjacent to the key, though given the extent and size of the illustrations this is probably not possible.
Also I would have liked to have seen some arrows on the wing venation illustrations that were used in the key to focus the attention on the correct veins, this could be a great time saver for amateur users. The book includes a general introduction and distribution maps for each species. All in all I was once again highly impressed with this production,and I expect its publication will do wonders for the distribution records of this group.
An Excellent Work.