*Department of Zoology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Sympatric cryptic species in New Zealand Onychophora
Article first published online: 14 JAN 2008
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume 63, Issue 3, pages 307–329, March 1998
How to Cite
Trewick, S. A. (1998), Sympatric cryptic species in New Zealand Onychophora. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 63: 307–329. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.1998.tb01520.x
- Issue published online: 14 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 14 JAN 2008
- Received 29 May 1997; accepted 29 October 1997
Allozyme electrophoresis was used to examine genetic diversity within live-bearing Peripatopsid Onychophora from the North Island of New Zealand. Specimens of two previously described morpho-species that differ in leg number (Peripatoides suteri and P. novaezealandiae) were found to be genetically diverse. P. suteri showed little intraspecific genetic variation but were very distinct from specimens assignable to P. novaezealandiae. Within P. novaezealandiae five genetically differentiated species were identified although none showed any consistent morphological differentiation, thus P. novaezealandiae (Hutton) is a species complex. All of these species occur in sympatry or parapatry (in one instance) with other cryptic species of the P. novaezealandiae group or with P. suteri. Four new species are described on the basis of this genetic evidence, they are P. morgani, P. aurorbis, P. kawekaensis and P. sympatrica. Other genotypes encountered indicate further cryptic species remain unrecognized. Among the North Island species, P. suteri and P. aurorbis sp. nov. are both more closely related to undescribed species from the South Island than to others examined from the North Island. P. sympatrica sp. nov. exists in sympatry with at least three other species in different parts of its range. The complexity of relationships and distributions probably arose through the interaction of low vagility in peripatus and the active geophysical history of the region. How these cryptic species persist in sympatry is not known but may be linked to differences in ecology not evident in their morphology, and/or may indicate recent dispersal from allopatry.