Cave Weta Name Endings

The names of New Zealand Rhaphidiphoridae used here have been updated and corrected so that they accord with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. The genera Isoplectron Hutton 1897, Pleioplectron Hutton 1897, Ischyroplectron Hutton 1897, Pallidoplectron Richards 1958, Novoplectron Richards, 1958 and Insulanoplectron Richards 1970 are all of neuter gender as indicated by agreement of their contained species epithets. The gender of Turbottoplectron Salmon 1948 cannot be determined by the species epithets. Both Dendroplectron and Notoplectron (Richards 1964) are monospecific and the species epithets end in –ensis.  However Richards did establish the neuter combination Tasmanoplectron isolatum in 1971 so it would be best to consider  Dendroplectron and Notoplectron as lapses in gender assignment.

At no time was the gender of all these genera designated and as all are derived from the Greek plectron (a little stick or quill used to beat or pluck a musical instrument), they are undoubtedly neuter. For the species in these last four genera only Article 30.1.2 of ICZN (1999) applies and the epithets of 10 species should be changed to agree with the neuter genus name. For example, Dendroplectron aucklandensis Richards, 1964 becomes Dendroplectron aucklandense Richards, 1964.

Although the genus was stated to be neuter, the combination Setascutum ohauensis Richards 1972 was used in the text. That too must be considered a lapsus.

Both Kirby (1906) and Karny (1937) indicate, by usage, that the gender of Pachyrhamma is also neuter and now  that Gymnoplectron has been synonymised under Pachyrhamma the species combinations are fixed in the neuter gender (Cook et al. 2010).

  • Cook LD, Trewick SA, Morgan-Richards M, Johns PM. 2010. Status of the New Zealand cave weta (Rhaphidophoridae) genera Pachyrhamma, Gymnoplectron and Turbottoplectron. Invertebrate Systematics 24: 131-138.
  • Macfarlane