Evolution of saproxylic and mycophagous coleoptera in New ZelandThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Beetles are an old holometabolous group dating back to the early Permian and associated with sediments containing conifers, ginkgos, and cycads. To determine the antiquity of dead wood beetles the evolution of gondwanan saproxylic and mycophagous beetles was examined in the context of available phylogenies that include New Zealand taxa. Phylogenetic position and branch lengths showed that 50 percent of the New Zealand fauna is basal and may represent old lineages dating to around 82 million years when New Zealand separated from Gondwana. Meanwhile, 60 percent of the New Zealand taxa have relatively long branches relative to overseas outgroups and this phenomenon may have resulted from the adaptation of these groups to resource shifts in changing forest communities. The resource shift hypothesis predicts that polyphagy will be widespread in mycophagous and phytophagous insects. Podocarp-broadleaf forest associations are more primitive than associations with Nothofagus based on species level phylogenies and forest associations of long-branched taxa.