Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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A systematic revision of the New Zealand Pompilidae (Hymenoptera) with studies on larvae, life histories, distribution, variation, paleogeography, hybrid-zones, mimicry, and environmental melanism

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posted on 2022-07-27, 22:42 authored by Harris, Anthony Clifford

Eleven species are recognised from New Zealand. They belong to two subfamilies, Pepsinae and Pompilinae, and to three genera - Priocnemis Schiodte, Cryptochelius Panzer, and Epipompilus Kohl. Chrysocurgus Haupt and Trichocurgus Haupt are removed from Townes' (1957) synonomy with Chirodamus Haliday and resurrected as subgenera of Priocnemis Schiodte, and ten specific names are placed in new synonomy. The following taxa are described as new: Priocnemis (Chrysocurgus) nudopropodea, P. (Trichocurgus) ordishi, and P. (T.) crawi. The sexes are correctly associated for all species - most for the first time. All previously - known species are re-described, morphological structures are illustrated, and keys to species are given for both sexes. Taxonomic decisions are supported by biological, behavioural, and distributional data. Behaviour and nesting cycles are described for all species, life histories are given for six, and the final instar larvae of five species are described. Three species nest above ground, of which E.insularis oviposits on spiders in situ within the diurnal retreats, without making nests. P.(c.) fugax is a mud-dauber favouring beetle pupal chambers in trees, P.(T.) nitidiventris is a stenotope psammophile, while the other species make subterranean nests in diverse habitats; several making single-celled nests, some making multicellular ones, others being colonial. Geographical variation (including mimicry and parallel ecophenotypical colour variation) is described, and distributions of all species are shown, and discussed in relation to contemporary geography and climate, and to paleogeography. Seven subspecies disjunct at sites of past and present physical barriers are described, but not named. Affinities of the New Zealand species are commented on. Cryptocheilus australis Guerin was introduced from Australia in the past three decades. E. insularis has strong Tasmanian affinities, while the remaining pompilids have affinities with South America and in particular with subgenus Sphictostethus.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Biological Sciences


Gibbs, G.