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The family Peloridiidae or moss bugs are primitive members of the insect order Hemiptera. Often called 'living fossils', peloridiids belong to the suborder Coleorrhyncha and live in the wet moss of temperate and subantarctic rainforests. Seventeen genera and 36 species are known from Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and eastern Australia.
New Zealand can be regarded as a biodiversity 'hotspot' for these insects: the three genera and 13 New Zealand species are endemic, meaning they do not occur anywhere else. New Zealand has the most diversified fauna at the species level, with 36% of all world species in this group of special significance for the Southern Hemisphere, with evolutionary roots dating back to the break-up of Gondwana. Moss bugs have hardened forewings and all New Zealand species lack hind wings, so are flightless, which makes them an ideal model group to test Gondwanan biogeographic hypotheses.
This Fauna offers a concise review of this 'iconic' Gondwanan group, reconciling results published by Burckhardt (2009) and Burckhardt et al. (2011) with a study of specimens contained in New Zealand entomological collections and museums. This faunal review aims to provide an inventory of New Zealand taxa, a concise treatment of their taxonomy, identification keys to genera and species, and a summary of information available on species distribution and biology.
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