Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 14, 1881
This text is also available in PDF
(555 KB) Opens in new window
– 277 –

Art. XL.—On some new and undescribed Species of New Zealand Insects, of the Orders Orthoptera and Coleoptera.

[Read before the Hawke's Bay, Philosophical Institute, 8th November, 1880.]


Fam. Mantide Genus Mantis
Mantis novs-zealandie n. sp

Pronotum five lines long, anterior end widest, ridged down the middle minutely tuberculated all over in scattered dots, punctulate, punctures translucent when viewed between eye and light, side-margins rough finely sub-serrulate, edge straight sloping gradually to mesonotum Anterior pair of legs: trochanter very slightly serrulate at margins; femur two rows of spines of irregular lengths, inner row small and closely set, outer four only large and distant, a large purple oval or kidney-shaped spot central within; tibia two rows of spines, regular, ending in one very long curved one at base; tarsus long; costce of the anterior wings (elytra), one to each, run longitudinally parallel with and near the outer margin, with transverse flexuose nerves branching inwardly and diagonally, from it, wholly filled up between them with fine anastomosing veinlets; elytra semi-transparent; posterior wings much smaller and very membraneous; wings extending far beyond base of abdomen; abdomen thick smooth Antennce short, 3½ lines long;eyes large, two small portuberances (? stemmata) between horns and just behind them: total length from head to posterior edge of elytra 1½ inches: length of nympha 1½ inches. Colour (of both states nearly alike) mostly light emerald green; underneath, about mouth and thorax, and inside of fore-legs pale lemon; outside of legs and head (above) dark orange; a dark purple reniform spot on inside of each fore femur.

Hab.—Scinde Island, Napier, on trees (nympha state only), 1878–1879, Mr. J. A. Rearden; imago state (one specimen), 1880, Mr. J. D. Ormond.

This species has pretty close affinity with the European species M. religiosa, but it is very much smaller, with shorter horns, and less spiny and narrower fore-legs, etc.

– 278 –

During the summer of 1878–1879 I had several living specimens of this insect in its nympha state; some of them I sent to the Colonial Museum in spirit. I kept them alive for some time, although I did not succeed in finding out their natural food; one of them, however, shed its skin. I had long been on the look-out for a New Zealand species of Mantis, as we had known from Dieffenbach's work on New Zealand (vol. ii., p. 280), that some eggs, or egg cases, of a species of Mantis had been taken to England by Dr. Sinclair nearly forty years ago, and I was consequently much gratified on receiving the perfect insect.

Fam. Phasmidæ Genus Bacillus.

Bacillus sylvaticus, n. sp.

General colour dirty yellowish-grey, abdomen darker; pronotum, mesonotum, and metanotum slightly spiny with a few small low spines; three longitudinal rows of large distant spines on pronotum, 3–4 in each row; prosternum, mesosternum, and metasternum very spiny with long sharp spines; all spines blackish pointed; a close row of fine sharp spines runs along side ridges of mesothorax and metathorax; abdomen below with two rows of spines from anterior end to end of the sixth segment, which are tolerably large at the anterior end; above smooth or very slightly and sparingly muricated; fourth, fifth, and sixth segments dilated on sides at posterior ends, the sixth the most so; anal appendages produced, broad; anus very large; anterior pair of coxr slightly tubercled, others smooth, or roughish, wrinkled; anterior pair of femora angular, regularly crenulated on upper edge, and distantly muricated on both upper and lower edges; middle and posterior pair of femora with 2–3 small scattered spines; posterior and middle tibie and tarsi slightly crested at bases, those of tibies twin and very small; all tarsi slightly pubescent; vertex slightly tubercled, smooth between the eyes and under throat; antenæ slightly tubercled black-jointed, muticous, 1¼ inch long; length of body 5¼ inches.

Hab.—On trees, forests, Hampden, Hawke's Bay, 1879.

This species has affinity with B. horridus, nevertheless it differs considerably.

A peculiarity of one of my specimens is worth noticing, viz., that it has evidently lost one of its middle legs; and now a much smaller one, perfect, though not one-third of the size of the other, was being developed.

Fam. Locustidæ. Genus Hemideina

Hemideina gigantea, n. sp.

Colour; head, thorax, femora, two fore pairs of tibiæ and tarsi, red brown; pronotum a darker and very rich red-brown, slightly punctured with whitish spots; abdomen (dorsal) smoky light-ochre with transverse symmetrical dark-brown (raw umber) bands at edges of all the segments,

– 279 –

widest in the middle and decurrent centrally beginning at the mesonotum; sides of abdomen deep black-brown; ventral segments throughout blotched with black-brown in three irregular and wide; longitudinal lines; posterior tibiæ, tarsi, and spines, with the ovipositor, piceous; tibiæ quadrangular, anterior pair with ten spines in two inner rows; middle pair, fourteen spines in three rows; and posterior pair with seventeen spines in four rows, (three of them alternately bearing five spines each), the outer row being very long and acute, increasing in length downwards, the lowest spine, at the base of tibia 4 lines long; femora, anterior, and middle pairs, smooth. and spineless; posterior pair each having two longitudinal rows of spines, eight in; a row on the inner side, regularly marked on the outside with transverse wavy light lines; coxa each armed with a single spine, those of anterior pair long and sharp, of prominent short and very obtuse; four joints of tarsi cushioned, each with a prominent broad transverse pad, besides pulvilli last joint, of tarsi the longest; terminal spines, or hooks, of tarsi large, long, and falcate; ovipositor curved upwards, blades slightly concave, thin, and elliptical at apex; four long stout acute spines above, two on each side of anus; posterior femur 1½ inch long, tibia 2 inches long, tarsus 1 inch long; maxillary palpi stout, long, and largely clavate;labrum veiry broad and obtuse; eyes broadly elliptic and very prominent; antenæ light reddish-brown, annulate, 7½ inches long, distant at base; rings of horns, smaller and finer than in the much smaller species (infra) H. speluncæ size, body without appendages 4 inches long, and very bulky.

Hab.—In a small low wood behind Paihia, Bay of Islands; 1839.

This species is bigger every way than H. hetaracatha, with which species, however, it has, close affinity. It is also much more spiny, and differs greatly in colour, etc. It is a very fine and handsome insect.

It has a little semi-public history, which may be here very briefly given. It has been seen and admired by Dr. Dieffenbach, Dr. Sir Joseph Hooker (and the other officers of that Antarctic expedition). Dr. Sinclair, Lady Franklin, the several earfly French and American naturalists who had visited New Zealand, etc. etc.

It was long supposed (from the publication of Dr. Dieffenbach's work on New Zealand in 1848) to be identical with Deinacrida heteracantha of that work (vol. ii. p. 180), and, if so, should have been the type (being the old original specimen); but a close examination of late years served to show their respective and great differences. This specimen remained packed up in the box in which it was brought away from the Bay of Islands, from 1843 to 1864 ! It was, however, exhibited at the New Zealand Exhibition* at Dunedin in 1865, as Deinacrida gigantea, Col.; and although it has been

[Footnote] * Vide Jurors' Reports, p. 254

– 280 –

now forty-two years in spirits, its colours are unaltered. It is still in its original clear glass bottle with the liquid clear and pure: but the ground-glass stopper having become firmly fixed, and not choosing to run the risk of injuring the specimen (which, as far as I know, is unique), I have given some of its measurements as approximate only,—but they were carefully taken and are very nearly quite correct, at all events within a line or two.

Hemideina speluncæ, n. sp.

Colour: body beneath light ochreous; pronotum, both anterior and posterior edges broadly banded with black, mesonotum and metanotum also having a black band close to posterior margin, but all the thoracic and abdominal segments have a narrow white line on all their dorsal posterior and side edges; abdomen above brownish, dirty raw umber at the base; posterior femora (upper parts only) light reddish-brown, transversely and closely banded with finely waved and regular lines of a darker brown, in three longitudinal and separate rows, the markings all different in each row; middle and anterior femora (upper part only) ochreous; tibiæ and lower parts of femora banded with black and white rings (resembling porcupine quills in miniature); tarsi light straw colour, translucent: posterior pair of legs; femur 1¼ inch long, with one row of seven very small distant spines on the inner edge; tibia 1½ inch long, slightly hairy, with two rows of fine close spines, 35–40 in a row, on two inner edges, sulcated between the rows, at base of tibia two long and villous white spines; tarsus 4-jointed, 8 lines long, smooth, translucent, finely and thickly pubescent, with a single small spine at the base of each joint, joint nearest to the tibia the longest (as long as the other three taken together: middle pair of legs; femur 9 lines long, naked; tibia 10 lines long, with four rows of small spines, five in each row; tarsus 7 lines long, spineless: anterior pair; femur 10½ lines long, with a row of six small spines; tibia 11 lines long, with a row of four small spines; tarsus 8 lines long, spineless, slightly villous and translucent; two long spine-shaped processes, each 4 lines long, at end of abdomen near anus, one on each side, whitish, finely ciliated with long flexuose patent ciliæ, 1–2 lines long; head rather small, narrower than pronotum, and scarcely appearing before it; maxillary palpi long and slender, slightly clavate; eyes rather large, semi-lunar, at base of antennæ and nearly behind them, gibbous edge towards thorax; antennœ thick at base and close together, 8 inches long, articulated, light reddish-brown but darker at articulations, very setaceous, each bearing a row of short obtuse spines on the outer edge in the middle for nearly one-third of its length, spines irregular in size and position, some being near, one on each articulation, some more distant, with 2–3 vacant articulations between, spines always at anterior end of joint, rings of its horns coarser than in the large species (supra) H. gigantea; body without appendages, 1½ inch long.

– 281 –

Hab.—In dark underground caves near the head of the Manawatu river, in the “Forty mile bush,” 1879.

This peculiar and very interesting animal, (of which I regret to say I have but one whole specimen), inhabits in great numbers those small caves which are difficult of access; there they hop and spring about like shrimps, and having such excessively long and fine horns and legs, it is a very difficult matter to secure a perfect specimen; of course the necessity of having a candle burning when in those dark recesses, greatly increases the difficulty. I am indebted to Mr. J. W. Thomson, of Norsewood, for this specimen here described, who captured the insect there, together with some others, which, however, were unfortunately much crushed and broken. The brightness of its colours when fresh, particularly of its black-and-white ringed legs, their excessive tenuity, and the extreme length of its fine setaceous horns, all tend to give this creature an elegant and graceful appearance; in this respect widely differing from the other known species of this genus.


Fam. Curculionidæ. Genus Scolopterus.

Scolopterus submetallicus, n. sp.

General colour black-green, very glossy, femora purple-black, legs piceous; elytra punctured coarsely in lines on back, faintly on sides; head smooth; shoulder-spines straight, acute; posterior femora large, armed with a large acute tooth near base; pulvilli bordered with white. Length 4¼ lines.

Hab.—Forests near head of Manawatu river, 1880.

This specimen flew down from a high tree, and alighted on the sleeve of my coat. As a species it ranks near to S. tetracanthus.

Genus Rhyncodes.

Rhyncodes weberi, n. sp.

Insect villous; general colour reddish-brown intermixed with grey, and mottled with small greyish-white blotches on elytra; pronotum brown, finely punctulate; elytra, five black shining longitudinal Hues slightly and closely tuberculated in small raised dots, parallel with five black smooth lines, outer edge stout, black, glossy, strongly and regularly marked with small transverse riblets running inwards at right-angles; abdomen beneath black glossy, with a few short scattered hairs, and three broad longitudinal rows of mottled hairs; femora, and sides (shoulders) of pronotum, black, glossy, and slightly punctulate; a small tuft of reddish hairs at bases of femora; coxæ densely villous; tibiæ and tarsi very hairy; pulvilli very large, broadly orbicular-obcordate; antennæ stout, serrated, hairy throughout and coarsely ciliated, nearly as long as the rostrum; head and rostrum very hairy, with red-brown hairs. Length, including rostrum, 15 lines.

– 282 –

Hab.—Hawke's Bay; C. H. Weber, Esq., 1878.

A species near to R. ursus, but much larger.

Rhyncodes rubipunctatus, n. sp.

Insect wholly covered with very short whitish-grey down, finely and thickly speckled with light-red, which (below especially) assumes a flattish semi-scaly appearance, each minute speck of reddish down or hair showing a regular circumscribed shape; pronotum dotted profusely and finely with black raised irregular dots, and bearing two semi-lunate and two smaller brown spots; elytra extending sharply over abdomen, with 12–14 longitudinal sub-striated rows of black raised shining dots, mottled with 2–8 small brownish markings in a line with those on pronotum; abdomen below with three fine transverse black lines near anus; head between eyes and base of rostrum coarsely dotted with raised brown dots; eyes large; rostrum jet-black, smooth; antennæ as long as rostrum and slightly hairy. Length, including rostrum, 9 lines.

Hab.—Hawke's Bay, Patangata; captured by Mr. G. W. Tiffen, 1880.

Another specimen, taken in the same neighbourhood by Mr. Winkel-mann, bit its captor's hand pretty sharply through his handkerchief, causing it to bleed.