(Insecta, Carabidae), a native New Zealand
Common name: insects, bugs.
Scienific name: phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta.
Insects are one of the better studied groups of New Zealand invertebrates, but their enormous diversity (there are many thousands of species in New Zealand, and millions of species worldwide) makes it a difficult group to summarize. This page will only touch on the diversity, biology, and habitats of New Zealand soil and litter insects.
The shape and size of insects is extremely varied, yet all of them possess certain common characters. All insects have the body subdivided into 3 distinct regions - head, abdomen, and thorax, although in many larvae this division is obscured. The head has one pair of antennae, eyes (sometimes absent), and the mouthparts, which are variously modified in different orders. The thorax may have wings, although many adult insects and all juveniles are wingless. The wings are membranous and transparent and used for flight, or hardened and leathery and used for protection. All adult insects have six legs (3 pairs), but many larvae are legless, and the larvae of butterflies, moths and sawflies have leg-like extra appendages (prolegs) on abdominal segments. The insect abdomen has 9-12 segments. Insects are divided into a number of major taxonomic groups - orders - based on the structure of their wings, mouthparts, and the type of development (metamorphosis).
Incomplete metamorphosis is found in many groups of soil-inhabiting insects - weta, grasshoppers, cockroaches, termites, earwigs, true bugs, cicadas, and their relatives. In these insects, the hatchlings (which are called nymphs) look like miniature adults, except they may differ slightly in colour. The nymphs are sexually immature and wingless, but may have small wing pads - the buds of future wings. The nymphs often live in the same habitat and feed on the same food as the adults. As they grow, the nymphs pass through a series of moults (up to 9), increasing in size with each moult. During the last moult, the wing pads develop into full sized wings (in winged species). The adult insects do not grow and do not moult.
The pupa of the New Zealand false wireworm beetle (Mimpoeus opaculus
Complete metamorphosis is found in beetles, butterflies and moths, flies, mosquitoes and gnats, wasps, ants, bees, and in a few other groups (e.g., lacewings). The immature stages of these insects are called larvae. Many larvae are soft and worm-like - such as caterpillars (larvae of butterflies and moths), grubs (beetles), and maggots (flies). Other larvae may be flattened, with longer legs and tougher bodies, but all larvae look nothing like the adult insects they will turn into. The larvae are always completely wingless, and often live in different environments than the adults, feeding on different food. The larvae grow through a series of moults, increasing in size. The last larval moult produces a resting stage, called a pupa. The pupa then moults into an adult insect.
The degree of association of insects with the soil is very varied, from living permanently in the soil and completing their whole life-cycle there, to using soil as a temporary refuge. Many insects depend on soil for part of their life cycle, e.g., many beetles, moths, and flies, and many of these are economically important pests because of the feeding activities of their larvae. The representatives of most insect orders - Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, weta, mole crickets), Blattodea (cockroaches), Isoptera (termites), Dermaptera (earwigs), Hemiptera (bugs), Homoptera (cicadas, aphids, mealybugs), Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (mosquitoes, flies), Lepidoptera (moths, butterflies), Hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees) and a number of smaller orders (Psocoptera, Thysanoptera, Neuroptera) are found in the soil. Interestingly, New Zealand has a number of terrestrial stoneflies (order Plecoptera), which live in the damp litter of tussock grasslands of the South Island (Dr. Ian Henderson, Massey University, personal communication).
Weta, crickets, grasshoppers,
and mole crickets - Order Orthoptera
Most Orthoptera are large and conspicuous insects, and (perhaps with the exception of mole crickets) are familiar to everyone. Many can jump, using their strong hind legs. Wings may be present or absent. In most groups (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets, weta) males stridulate (rub one body part against another), producing rasping, chirping, or trilling songs. Females may also produce sounds in defense or in response to a male, but they never sing continuously. Cave weta are the exception - they are all silent and deaf. The organs of hearing are well developed in singing species. In most Orthoptera females can be easily recognized by their long sabre-like ovipositor, which they use to deposit the eggs into the substrate (usually soil). All Orthoptera have powerful chewing jaws, and large individuals can bite if handled carelessly. Many groups are herbivores, feeding on plants, but some weta are predators, while others are omnivores - eating everything. The metamorphosis in this group is incomplete - immature Orthoptera resemble small wingless adults.
Weta (family Anostostomatidae, Maori weta).
The giant, tree, ground and tusked weta belong to this family. The weta are medium to large sized wingless insects, with powerful back legs and long antennae. All weta are nocturnal, and males can be heard making rasping sounds at night. All the New Zealand weta are endemic, but other species of weta are found in Australia, Africa, and South and Central America. Rats, stoats, possums, and even cats eat weta, and some weta species are rare and protected. The native lizards, tuatara, birds and short-tailed bats are also predators of weta. Read "New Zealand Weta" by George Gibbs (1998) for more information on these remarkable creatures.
The docile Cook Strait giant weta, Deinacrida rugosa
, can reach 7 cm in body length and weigh as much as 30 grams. This weta was photographed on Maud Island, where these weta are still abundant. Image courtesy of Scott Carver, Victoria University.
Giant weta (genus Deinacrida)
Giant weta are the most remarkable (and
the most protected) of the New Zealand insects. The Little
Barrier Island giant weta (Deinacrida heteracantha)
has been recorded to reach 71 grams in body weight, making
it the heaviest invertebrate in the world. Giant weta are
herbivorous. There are 11 species of giant weta in New Zealand.
The largest of them now survive only on predator-free islands,
but the scree weta (Deinacrida connectens) is common
and widespread on the alpine scree slopes of the South Island.
All giant weta, except for the scree weta, are fully protected
everywhere in New Zealand under the Wildlife Act.
is a tusked weta that lives along the streams in Raukumara Range, East Cape of the North Island. Image courtesy of Jay McCartney, Massey University.
Tusked weta (genera
Motuweta and Anisoura)
These are very rare weta found only in
few locations in New Zealand. The males have unusual tusk-like
projections on their mandibles, which they use in territorial
fights. These weta are poorly studied, but it is known that
they prefer an animal diet, feeding on live and dead insects
A mountain stone weta (Hemideina maori
). This weta defends itself aggressively, kicking with its spiny legs and stridulating. If that fails, the weta throws itself on its back, with all its legs in the air, trying to grab and bite the offender.
Tree weta (genus Hemideina)
Tree weta are large (up to 7 cm) active
weta with numerous thick spines on their hind legs. The
adult males of tree weta develop oversized heads and jaws.
Tree weta are frequently encountered by people in and around
houses, and when disturbed they present an impressive defensive
display, lifting their spiny hind legs. They feed largely
on plant material, but may also scavenge. There are 7 species
of tree weta in New Zealand. With one exception, tree weta
inhabit tree holes and do not frequent soil and litter.
The mountain stone weta (Hemideina maori) is the
one species of tree weta that is found on the ground. These
large colourful weta live under stones and rocks in rocky
areas and scree slopes throughout the alpine zone of the
eastern South Island, from southern Canterbury to central
Otago. Hemideina maori will eat other invertebrates,
but may also take some plant matter.
is a sturdy ground weta found in the alpine zone of the South Island. This weta excavates its own burrows under rocks and stones on the ground. It is quite active and defends its burrow aggressively.
Ground weta (genus Hemiandrus)
Grouud weta are smaller (up to 35 mm),
and do not have heavy spines on their back legs. Similar
to cave weta, ground weta do not possess hearing organs
and do not stridulate. They live in burrows in the soil,
often under protection of rocks or tree logs. These are
the weta one finds excavated accidentally while gardening.
Ground weta are predatory. There are 7 described species,
and many more remain undescribed (Johns, 2001).
(family Raphidophoridae, Maori tokoriro, weta taipo).
A cave weta.
Cave weta are graceful insects, medium to large in size, with a curved back, long legs, and exceptionally long antennae, which can be 5-7 times the body length. They are common throughout New Zealand in all environments. During the day cave weta hide in shelters - under rotting logs, in hollow tree trunks, in caves, and in other similar places. At night cave weta are active, and can be frequently observed in the open. They are very good jumpers and will jump out of sight if disturbed. Cave weta are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal matter. There are 52 described species in New Zealand, all endemic, and many more species remain undescribed (Johns, 1991; Ward et al., 1999).
Grasshoppers (family Acrididae)
Most of the New Zealand grasshoppers are found in the alpine zone of the South Island, only a few live in the North Island. Grasshoppers are active during the day, and are common and easily seen in tussock grasslands of the alpine zone. There are 15 native species in New Zealand, all of them endemic (Ward et al., 1999), plus one introduced species - the locust (Locusta migratoria). The grasshoppers are herbivores.
A native New Zealand cricket, Bobilla
Crickets (family Gryllidae)
Crickets are medium-sized (0.5-2 cm), brown or black insects with rounded heads and long antennae. Males are known for their chirping songs. They live in low vegetation and in dry plant detritus, often hiding in burrows or under rocks. There are 5 native species of crickets in New Zealand, plus several introduced ones (Ward et al., 1999). The native New Zealand cricket - Bobilla sp. (Maori rirerire) is less than 1.5 cm in size.
Mole crickets (family Gryllotalpidae)
Mole crickets live underground, building tunnels 10-20 cm below the surface in moist soil, and are not encountered very often. They are 2-3 cm long, elongated, brown in colour, and velvety in appearance, with short antennae and small eyes. The front legs are very strong, broad, flattened, and modified for digging. Mole crickets do not jump. There is one native species in New Zealand, the wingless Triamescaptor aotea, which is threatened due to its restricted range. Mole crickets feed on plant roots and ground invertebrates.
Cockroaches - Order Blattodea (Maori papata)
- a common native cockroach.
The appearance of cockroaches is familiar to everyone. They are brown or black in colour, with characteristically flattened bodies, long antennae, and long running legs. Cockroaches live in litter under debris, under rocks and stones, under bark of dead logs, in rotten wood and in other similar environments. They are omnivorous, and may feed on all sorts of organic materials. They can even eat dead wood, which they digest with the help of symbiotic gut flora. There are 22 endemic and 8 introduced species in New Zealand (Ward et al., 1999), some of them have wings, but many are wingless. The juvenile cockroaches resemble adults (incomplete metamorphosis), but are always wingless.
Termites - Order Isoptera
Termites are soft-bodied, light-coloured social insects, which live in colonies in dead wood - often in rotting tree stumps or in decaying logs and branches on the ground. The colony is made of numerous sterile workers and solders (5-8 mm in length), and a reproducing pair, the queen (female) and the king (male). The males and females have eyes and when young, possess wings (four soft, equally-sized wings), which are shed soon after swarming. The workers and solders are wingless and blind. The termites feed on dead wood, digesting cellulose with the help of symbiotic micro-organisms in their gut. There are 3 native species in New Zealand, and 4 more have been introduced from overseas (Crowe, 2002).
The introduced European earwig (Forficula auricularia
), about 1.5 cm in length, is common under debris in New Zealand gardens.
Earwigs - Order Dermaptera (Maori hiore kakati)
Earwigs are elongate, slender, flattened insects with a dark body and prominent forceps-like cerci at the end of the abdomen. Some earwigs have short, leathery front wings under which transparent hind wings are hidden, other are wingless. There are over 20 species in New Zealand, most of them native (Crowe, 2002). Earwigs are nocturnal and omnivorous, feeding on all sorts of dead plant and animal matter, as well as on small invertebrates. Female earwigs show parental care, guarding their eggs in an underground nest. Earwigs have incomplete metamorphosis, so the juvenile earwigs look like miniature adults. Earwigs do not bite, and do not enter people's ears, but may pinch the finger with their cerci.
The New Zealand seashore earwig (Anisolabis littorea, Maori mata) is a large (up to 3 cm), wingless native earwig with a dark shiny body, common under seaweed and driftwood on sandy beaches.
True bugs - Order Hemiptera
A group of juvenile bark bugs. Bark bugs (family Aradidae) are dull, dark brown, very flat bugs 5-10 mm in length, often found under loose bark of decaying logs, in crevices of rotting wood, or on bracket fungi. These bugs feed on fungi, sucking the contents of fungal cells.
Hemiptera are also known as "true bugs", to distinguish them from "bugs" as a general term many people use to describe any crawling or flying insect. Some of the true bugs are wingless, but most have four wings, which lie flat over the abdomen. The front wings are leathery at the base and membranous at the apex, and form a protective cover over the transparent hind wings. All true bugs have sucking mouthparts shaped into a long piercing beak, and feed on fluids - plant sap, body fluids of insects and other invertebrates, or even blood. Hemiptera have incomplete metamorphosis. The juvenile bugs (nymphs) are wingless, and often differ in colour from the adults. There are several hundreds species of Hemiptera in New Zealand, most of them native. Many true bugs are found in soil and litter, some of these bugs feed on roots by sucking sap, others are predators.
Cicadas, aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and others - Order Homoptera
Homoptera is a large and diverse group of insects closely related to true bugs. Homoptera vary greatly in shape and size, but all have tube-shaped sucking mouthparts and feed on plant sap. This group is well represented in soil and litter, where they suck the sap from plant roots. Similar to true bugs, the Homoptera have incomplete metamorphosis.
Cicadas (family Cicadidae, Maori kihikihi)
A cycada nymph.
Cicadas are a constant summer presence in New Zealand. The adult cicadas are large (2 cm and larger) flying insects, which live on shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants, feeding on plant sap. Male cicadas are known for their loud calls. The cicada nymphs live in the soil, often quite deep underground, sucking sap from roots. The nymphs remain in the soil for many years before their development is complete. For its last moult, the cicada nymph emerges from the soil and climbs onto some vertical object above the ground (tree trunks, wooden fences, walls, etc.), holding onto the rough surface with its sharp claws. Moulting into an adult then occurs. The light-brown empty skins of cicada nymphs, still attached to the trees and fences, are a common sight in spring. The adult cicadas are short-lived, they mate, lay eggs and die within one season. There are about 40 native species in New Zealand, the three major genera are Amphisalta, Kikihia and Maoricicada. The species range in distribution from sea level forests to alpine tussock grasslands and scree slopes.
A colony of mealybugs.
Mealybugs (superfamily Coccoidea)
The mealybugs get their name from the white waxy or powdery secretions that cover their bodies. These wingless insects have soft, oval bodies, with short legs and piercing sucking mouthparts. The largest females can be over 1 cm long, but most are smaller than that. Mealybugs live in colonies, and are sometimes encountered in the soil and litter, where they feed on root sap.
Aphids (family Aphididae)
Aphids are small (< 5 mm), delicate soft-bodied insects with globular bodies and piercing, sucking mouthparts. They usually live in colonies and are familiar garden pests, feeding on the sap of many plants. There are about 115 species of aphids in New Zealand, of which about 16 are endemic to New Zealand (Ward et al., 1999). Several species of aphids occur in the soil, where they suck the sap from plant roots.
Beetles - Order Coleoptera (Maori papapa)
The order Coleoptera, or beetles, is the largest of all the insect orders, and the largest of all arthropod orders as well. The beetles vary greatly in shape and size, but all can be recognized by their thick, hardened wing covers (elytra). These are modified first wings, which serve to protect the second pair of wings, which are membranous and used for flight. The second pair of wings is absent in some flightless beetles. The beetles undergo complete metamorphosis (a small beetle is NOT a baby of a larger beetle), and the larvae look very different from adult beetles. Beetle larvae vary in form considerably in different families. Thirty-six families of beetles are known in New Zealand, and many have representatives in the soil and litter environment. Some of the most common and conspicuous beetles are described below.
Chafer beetles and dung beetles (family Scarabeidae)
The adult beetles feed on plant leaves, flowers, fruit, and also on dung and dead animal matter (dung beetles are often found in pitfall traps). There are about 140 species in New Zealand. The larvae of chafer beetles can be often found in the soil, where they feed mainly on plant roots. Some chafer beetles - e.g., grass grub beetle (Costelytra zealandica, Maori tutaeruru), are serious agricultural pests. The larvae of the grass grub live in the soil and feed on grass roots, causing serious damage to pastures.
sp. - a common chafer beetle (fam. Scarabeidae).
Larvae of chafer beetles are characteristically C-shaped, whitish grubs with 3 pairs of slender legs.
Click beetles (family Elateridae)
The elongate click beetles can be recognised by their peculiar ability to "click": if the click beetle is placed on its back, it will jump and turn itself right side up by using a snapping junction between prothorax and mesothorax, with a clicking sound. The adult click beetles are often found on dead logs. The larvae of click beetles are shiny, hard-bodied "wireworms". The larvae live in soil and in dead logs on the ground, where they feed on plant material or on other insects. There are 132+ endemic species and 3 introduced species in New Zealand (Ward et al., 1999). Wireworms can cause damage to potatoes and other crops.
An adult click beetle (fam. Elateridae).
A wireworm - the larva of a click beetle .
Darkling beetles (family Tenebrionidae)
The darkling beetles are a large and diverse group, one of the largest beetle families. These beetles are dark in colour, and somewhat resemble ground beetles. There are 139 endemic and 10 introduced species in New Zealand (Ward et al., 1999). The larvae of darkling beetles are known as "mealworms" or "false wireworms" , and are similar in appearance to the larvae of click beetles (see Elateridae above). Both adult beetles and larvae occur in dead logs, in litter, and in piles of plant debris. They feed on plant material.
The New Zealand native beetle Mimpoeus opaculus
(fam. Tenebrionidae) is a large (~2 cm), dull-brown, flat oval beetle, commonly found in groups in dry well-decayed wood debris.
The larvae of Mimopeus opaculus
(fam. Tenebrionidae) are known as false wireworms. These large (5-6 cm long), shiny yellow-brown larvae occur in the same habitats as adults.
The adult huhu beetles (Prionoplus reticularis
, fam. Cerambycidae) are up to 5 cm in length, with very long antennae and strong mandibles, which can inflict a painful bite.
Longhorn beetles (family Cerambycidae).
This is another large and diverse beetle family, with 180+ species endemic to New Zealand (Ward et al., 1999). Longhorn beetles are elongate, with narrow bodies and very long antennae. If captured, the longhorn beetles often make a high-pitched squeaking sound, produced by stridulation in the thorax. The adult beetles are often found on flowers where they feed on nectar; in other species adults do not feed at all. The larvae live in dead wood. These beetles are not soil animals strictly speaking, but may be found there occasionally.
The huhu beetle (Prionoplus reticularis) is one of the largest New Zealand beetles. The fat cream-coloured larvae (huhu grubs) live in dead wood.
A tiger beetle, Cicindela
sp. (fam. Cicindelidae).
Tiger beetles (family Cicindelidae)
Tiger beetles are iridescent, very active
beetles 1.5-2 cm in length, often found on the bare ground
in open sunny situations. Tiger beetles are difficult to
catch - they are very fast runners, and if approached, they
will take off, fly a short distance, and land again several
meters away. These predatory beetles are active surface
hunters. The predatory larvae are ambush hunters, and wait
for their prey inside vertical burrows they construct in
Ground beetles (family Carabidae)
- a large ground beetle (fam. Carabidae) endemic to Canterbury, South Island of NZ.
Ground beetles are the most common beetles
found in soil litter. These beetles range in size from 5
mm to over 3 cm in length; most are black, often with a
metallic shine, and with prominent mandibles - their bite
can be painful if the beetle is mishandled. The ground beetles
have a variety of feeding modes. Many (but not all) are
active predators, feeding on all sorts of soft-bodied invertebrates.
Some ground beetles, for example, Maoripamborus,
feed exclusively on snails. Many Carabidae are omnivores (feed on both plant and animal material), scavengers, and some are herbovores.
Many ground beetles have no wings and do
not fly. There are over 426 endemic species in New Zealand,
and many more species are still undescribed (Ward et al.,
1999). Many endemic species of these beetles have a very
, a member of the fam. Salpingidae,
is superficialy similar to rove beetles.
Rove beetles (family Staphylinidae)
This is one of the largest beetle families. Most of the New Zealand soil and litter rove beetles are minute, usually less than 1 cm in size. These slender, elongate beetles can be recognized by their very short wing covers (elytra), which leave exposed a considerable portion of the long flexible abdomen. The second pair of wings is neatly folded and tucked under the short elytra. These beetles are predators and scavengers. There are over 1020 species in New Zealand, the majority of them endemic (Ward et al., 1999).
Large (1.5 cm) flightless tussock weevils (genus Lyperobius
) live in the tussock grassland of the South Island.
Weevils (superfamily Curculionoidea)
Weevils can be recognized by the shape of their head, which is drawn out to form a long snout. The small mandibles sit at the tip of the snout. These robust convex beetles are common in soil samples, and are often found on the ground. This is a large and extremely diverse group, with more than 1500 species endemic to New Zealand, and more than 50 introduced species. Several large native weevils are very rare. Weevils and their larvae feed on plant material, and many species are important pests. The larvae are fat, C-shaped, usually legless grubs, which live burrowing into the roots, twigs, stems, and seeds of plants.
Flies, gnats, and daddy-long legs - Order Diptera
The Diptera are easy to recognise because they have only one pair of wings. The second pair is modified into tiny drumstick-like organs called halteres, which serve as flight stabilizers. The adult Diptera are agile flying insects, which feed on fluids, such as flower nectar, blood, body fluids, and plant sap. Many adults do not feed at all. The larvae of many species are common in soil and litter, where they feed on decaying organic matter, fungi, plant roots, or prey on other small animals.
The New Zealand glow-worm.
The New Zealand glow-worms (Arachnocampa luminosa, Maori titiwai) are common in caves, but also live in soil crevices on steep slopes and under overhanging rocks and tree roots in the native bush, in damp areas sheltered from the wind. They are often associated with streams. The glow-worm itself is a predatory larva of a mosquito-like fungus gnat. The glow-worm lives inside a silken hammock, from which it suspends a fishing line - a long silk thread with regularly spaced sticky droplets of saliva. In the darkness, the glow of the glow-worm attracts small flying insects, which get trapped on the sticky droplets of the fishing line. The worm then pulls the captured prey up, and eats it. The larva grows for 6-12 months, after which it pupates and develops into an adult gnat. The adults do not feed; they mate, lay eggs and die within a few days.
A crane fly larva (fam. Tipulidae).
The crane flies, or daddy-long legs (family Tipulidae) are typically large (there are small craneflies as well) mosquito-like gnats with very long legs, which they loose easily. The larvae of craneflies are large (1-2 cm), grey-brown maggots, which are common in damp soil litter and in dead wood. They feed on decomposing plant material. There are about 600 endemic species in New Zealand (Ward et al., 1999).
Moths and butterflies - Order Lepidoptera
Adult moths and butterflies are the familiar flying insects, but their larvae (caterpillars) and pupae are often found in soil or on the soil surface. The caterpillars have characteristic long cylindrical body with a well-developed head. There are three pairs of slender legs on the first three segments of the body, and in addition to these, there are fleshy stumpy "prolegs" on the segments 6-9, and 13. Several hundred moth species are endemic to New Zealand. In many families caterpillars feed on mosses, liverworts, plant roots, leaf litter, and detritus. In some species caterpillars live in burrows in the soil, but emerge at night to feed on plants aboveground. The caterpillars of some species can be serious pests. "Porina" is the name given to a complex of species of Wiseana moths (family Hepialidae) whose caterpillars develop tunnels in pasture soil, and emerge at night to feed on the bases of grass surrounding their burrows. Porina caterpillars often occur in high densities and can be very damaging.
Ants - Order Hymenoptera, Family Formicidae (Maori popokorua)
sp., a native ant, carrying an ant pupa.
This is a common and widespread group, familiar to everyone. The colour of ants ranges from yellow, to reddish-brown, to black. Ants often build their colonies in soil, under rocks and decaying logs, and in dead wood. The colony includes the queen - the reproducing female (there may be more than one queen), and numerous workers (sterile females) that make up the bulk of the colony. The worker ants are always wingless, but the mating males and females have wings, which are shed after the mating flight. The males die soon after mating. Ants may feed on various invertebrates, plants, nectar and sap, honeydew, and fungi. There are 11 native species of ants in New Zealand, as well as 29 introduced species (Ward et al., 1999).
Visit The ants of New Zealand web page (Landcare Research, NZ) to learn more about these insects and to use the identification key to native and introduced ants.
- Order Orthoptera
- Family Anostostomatidae
- Hemideina maori (Pictet & Saussure, 1891) - Torlesse Range, Porters Pass, NC, South Island (4 images)
- Hemideina sp. - Makahika, WI, North Island
- Hemiandrus pallitarsus (Walker, 1869) - Ohinetonga Scenic Reserve, TO, North Island (2 images)
- Hemiandrus focalis (Hutton, 1897) - Old Man Range, CO, South Island (3 images)
- Family Raphidophoridae
- Talitropsis sedilloti - Kahurangi National Park, Flora Saddle, NN, South Island
- Isoplectron sp. - Canaan Road near Harwood Hole, NN, South Island (2 images)
- Isoplectron sp. - Craigieburn Forest Park, Cave Stream, NC, South Island (2 images)
- Pleioplectron simplex (Hutton, 1897) - Craigieburn Forest Park, Cave Stream, NC, South Island
- Pleioplectron sp. - Ohinetonga Scenic Reserve, TO, North Island (2 images)
- Neonetus sp. - Kawhatau Base, RI, North Island (2 images)
- Unidentified species - Dress Circle scenic reserve, WI, North Island
- Unidentified species - Katikara stream, Taranaki, TK, North Island
- Unidentified species - Palmerston North, WI, North Island (2 images)
- Family Gryllidae
- Bobilla sp. - Ohinetonga Scenic Reserve, TO, North Island (2 images)
- Order Blattodea
- Family Blattidae
- Celatoblatta vulgaris (Johns, 1966) - Te Purere, TO, North Island
- Celatoblatta vulgaris (Johns, 1966) - Kaiteriteri Road, NN, South Island (2 images)
- Celatoblatta vulgaris (Johns, 1966) - Craigieburn Forest Park, Broken River Road, Jacks Pass, NC, South Island (2 images)
- Celatoblatta vulgaris (Johns, 1966) - Craigieburn Forest Park, Cave Stream, NC, South Island
- Celatoblatta undulivitta - Palmerston North, WI, North Island
- Celatoblatta sp. - Torlesse Range, Porters Pass, NC, South Island
- Order Homoptera
- Family Cicadidae
- Unidentified species - Palmerston North, WI, North Island
- Unidentified species - Torlesse Range, Porters Pass, NC, South Island (2 images)
- Order Dermaptera
- Family Forficulidae
- Forficula auricularia* - Nelson, NN, South Island
- Family Labiduridae
- Anisolabis littorea (White, 1846) - Okarito, WD, South Island (2 images)
- Unidentified species - Torlesse Range, Porters Pass, NC, South Island
- Unidentified species - Craigieburn Forest Park, Broken River Road, Jack's Pass, NC, South Island
- Order Diptera
- Unidentified species - Sandy Bay, Marahau Road, NN, South Island
- Unidentified species - Craigieburn Forest Park, Broken River Road, Jack's Pass, NC, South Island
- Unidentified species - Blue Duck Reserve, KA/NC, South Island
- Order Coleoptera
- Family Carabidae
- Plocamostethus planiusculus (White, 1846) - Karori wildlife sanctuary, WN, North Island (2 images)
- Plocamostethus planiusculus (White, 1846) - Kawhatau Base, RI, North Island (2 images)
- Megadromus capito (White, 1846) - Palmerston North, WI, North Island (3 images)
- Megadromus guerinii (Chaudoir, 1865) - Hinewai Reserve, Banks Penninsula, MC, South Island (3 images)
- Megadromus antarcticus (Chaudior, 1865) - Hawdon Valley, NC, South Island (3 images)
- Zolus sp. - Kaiteriteri Road, NN, South Island (2 images)
- Diglymma sp. - Craigieburn Forest Park, Lyndon Hutt, NC, South Island
- Agonum sp. - Craigieburn Forest Park, Lyndon Hutt, NC, South Island (2 images)
- Mecoderma rugiceps (Sharp, 1886) - Hawdon Valley, NC, South Island
- Mecoderma fulgidum (Brown, 1881) - Hawdon Valley, NC, South Island
- Mecodema fulgidum (Brown, 1881) - Craigieburn Forest Park, Broken River Road, Jack's Pass, NC, South Island
- Family Tenebrionidae
- Mimopeus opaculus - Ashurst Domain, WI, North Island
- Mimopeus opaculus - Palmerston North, WI, North Island
- Mimopeus opaculus - Palmerston North, WI, North Island
- Zeadelium gratiosum - Kahurangi National Park, Flora Saddle, NN, South Island
- Zeadelium sp., larva - Okarito, WD, South Island,
- Zeadelium sp. - Okarito, WD, South Island
- Unidentified species - Te Purere, TO, North Island
- Family Scarabaeidae
- Odontria sp. - Nelson, NN, South Island
- Costelytra zealandica (White, 1946) - Hawkes Bay, HB, North Island
- Unidentified species - Ashurst Domain, WI, North Island
- Unidentified species - Canaan Road, NN, South Island
- Family Elateridae
- Unidentified species - Craigieburn Forest Park, Cave Stream, NC, South Island
- Unidentified species - Craigieburn Forest Park, Cave Stream, NC, South Island
- Unidentified species - Craigieburn Forest Park, Cave Stream, NC, South Island
- Unidentified species - Blue Duck Reserve, KA/NC, South Island
- Order Hymenoptera
- Family Formicidae
- Monomorium sp. - Kawhatau Base, RI, North Island (2 images)
- * - species exotic in NZ
Some of the literature on New Zealand insects:
Broadley R.A., and I.A.N. Stringer. Prey attraction by larvae of the New Zealand glowworm, Arachnocampa luminosa (Diptera: Mycetophilidae). Invertebrate Biology 120(2), p. 170-177.
Crowe, A. 2002. Which New Zealand insect? Penguin Books, Auckland , NZ. 127 p.
Gibbs, G. 1998. New Zealand Weta. Reed Publishing, NZ. 71 pp.
Meads, M. 1990. Forgotten Fauna. The rare, endangered, and protected invertebrates of New Zeland. DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 95 pp.
Meads, M. 1990. The Weta Book: a guide to identification of wetas. DSIR Land Resources. 36 pp.
Ward, J.B., Macfarlane, R.P., Quinn, P.J., Morris, S.J., et al. 1999. Insects and other arthropods of Hinewai Reserve, Banks Penninsula, New Zealand. Records of the Canterbury Museum 13, p. 97-121.
NZ Insects on the Web:
Geta - A Comprehensive Guide to New Zealand Orthoptera,
Includes information on morphology, classification, ecology,
and identification keys.
Giant Weta, Christchurch City Libraries. General information: history, habitat, physiology, and conservation of giant weta.
- Taxonomy and diversity of weta
The Tree of Life - Ensifera - crickets, katydids and weta, gives phylogenetic relationships within the groups, and lists the references and websites about crickets, katydids and weta.
Taxonomic List: Blattodea (cockroaches), by Landcare Research, information on 4 New Zealand species with photos. Brief notes on size, distribution and life histories.
Checklist of New Zealand ground-beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae), by Larochelle, A.; Larivière, M.-C.; Rhode, B.E., (Landcare Research). Includes an overview, the list of NZ species and image gallery.
Ground Beetles, New Zealand Department of Conservation. Notes on distribution, habitat and status of rare NZ species.
Welcome to the Coleopteran Database, Ecology Research Group, University of Otago. An extensive illustrated database and a key to New Zealand beetles.
Fauna of New Zealand 26 - Tenebrionidae (Insecta: Coleoptera) - Popular summary, Landcare Research. Summary of biology, ecology, habitat, etc.
Grass Grub Life Cycle, by P.G. Fenemore, revised by J.A. Wightman (Hortfact)
by George Gibbs. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
updated 9-Nov-12; a description of the life cycle and biology
of New Zealand glowworm (Arachnocampa luminosa).
Bryce McQuillan's photo gallery - NZ insects and spiders
Fauna of New Zealand insect series (includes non-soil insects):
Fauna of New Zealand 1 Terebrantia (Insecta: Thysanoptera), L.A. Mound and A.K. Walker, 1982. 113 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 2 Osoriinae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Staphylinidae), H.P. McColl, 1982. 89 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 3 Anthribidae (Insecta: Coleoptera), B.A. Holloway, 1982. 264 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 8 Calliphoridae (Insecta: Diptera), J.P. Dear, 1985. 86 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 10 Tubulifera (Insecta: Thysanoptera), L.A. Mound and A.K. Walker, 1986. 140 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 11 Pseudococcidae (Insecta: Hemiptera), J.M. Cox, 1987. 140 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 12 Pompilidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera), A.C. Harris, 1987. 154 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 13 Encyrtidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera), J.S. Noyes, 1988. 188 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 14 Lepidoptera (Insecta: Lepidoptera), J.S. Dugdale, 1988. 262 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 15 Ambostrinae (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Diapriidae), I.D. Naumann, 1988. 165 pp .
Fauna of New Zealand 16 Nepticulidae (Insecta: Lepidoptera), H. Donner and C. Wilkinson, 1989. 88 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 17 Mymaridae (Insecta: Hymenoptera), J.S. Noyes an E.W. Valentine, 1989. 95 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 18 Chalcidoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera), J.S. Noyes and E.W. Valentine, 1989. 91 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 19 Mantodea (Insecta), G.W. Ramsay, 1990. 96 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 20 Bibionidae (Insecta: Diptera), R.A. Harrison, 1990. 25 pp .
Fauna of New Zealand 21 Margarodidae (Insecta: Hemiptera), C.F. Morales, 1991. 123 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 22 Notonemouridae (Insecta: Plecoptera), I.D. McLellan, 1991. 62 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 23 Sciapodinae, Medeterinae (Insecta: Diptera), D.J. Bickel, 1991. 73 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 24 Therevidae (Insecta: Diptera), L. Lyneborg, 1992. 140 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 25 Cercopidae (Insecta: Homoptera), K.G.A Hamilton and C.F. Morales, 1992. 37 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 26 Tenebrionidae (Insecta: Coleoptera), J.C. Watt, 1992. 70 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 27 Antarctoperlinae (Insecta: Plecoptera), I.D. McLellan, 1993. 70 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 28 Larvae of Curculionoidea (Insecta: Coleoptera), B.M. May, 1993. 226 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 29 Cryptorhynchinae (Insecta: Coleoptere: Curculionidea), C. Lyal, 1993. 307 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 30 Hepialidae (Insecta: Lepidoptera), J.S. Dugdale, 1994. 164 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 32 Sphecidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera), A.C. Harris, 1994. 112 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 33 Moranilini (Insecta: Hymenoptera), J.A. Berry, 1995. 82 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 34 Anthicidae (Insecta: Coleoptera), F.G. Werner and D.S. Chandler, 1995. 64 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 35 Cydnidae, Acanthosomatidae, and Pentatomidae, M-C. Larivière, 1995. 112 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 36 Leptophlebiidae (Insecta: Ephemeroptera), D.R. Towns and W.L. Peters, 1996. 143 pp .
Fauna of New Zealand 37 Coleoptera (Insecta), J. Klimaszewski and J.C. Watt, 1997. 198 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 39 Molytini (Insecta: Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Molytinae), R.C. Craw, 1999. 68 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 40 Cixiidae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha), M-C. Larivière, 1999. 93 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 41 Coccidae (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coccoidea), C. J. Hodgson and R. C. Henderson, 2000. 264 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 42 Aphodiinae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), Z. T. Stebnicka, 2001. 64 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 43 Carabidae (Insecta: Coleoptera), A. Larochelle and M-C. Larivière, 2001. 285 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 45 Nemonychidae, Belidae, Brentidae (Insecta : Coleoptera : Curculionoidea), G. Kuschel, 2003. 100 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 46 Nesameletidae (Insecta: Ephemeroptera), T.R. Hitchings and A.H. Staniczek, 2003. 72 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 47 Erotylidae (Insecta : Coleoptera : Cucujoidea) : phylogeny and review, Richard A. B. Leschen, 2003. 108 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 48 Scaphidiinae (Insecta : Coleoptera : Staphylinidae), I. Löbl and R.A.B Leschen, 2003. 94 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 49 Lithinini (Insecta : Lepidoptera : Geometridae : Ennominae), J. D. Weintraub, M. Scoble, 2004. 48 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 50 Heteroptera (Insecta : Hemiptera) : Catalogue, M-C. Larivière and A. Larochelle, 2004. 330 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 51 Coccidae (Insecta: Hemiptera), C. J. Hodgson and R.C. Henderson, 2004. 228 pp.
Fauna of New Zealand 53 Harpalini (Insecta: Coleoptera: Carabidae: Harpalinae), A. Larochelle & M-C. Larivière, 2005. 160 pp.