High throughput DNA sequencing technology has enabled entire biological communities to be characterised from DNA derived from pools of organisms, such as bulk-collected invertebrates, or DNA extracted from environmental samples (e.g. soil). These DNA-based techniques have the potential to revolutionise biodiversity monitoring.
The distinctiveness of New Zealand’s large endemic orthopterans and lack of small mammals in our forest ecosystems led to the description of weta as ecologically equivalent to rodents in other countries. We review the use of this metaphor and the characteristics, such as diet and reproductive behaviour, given to support it. We note, however, that species are rarely specified when comparisons are made, thereby neglecting the ecological diversity of both weta and rodents.
New Zealand’s offshore and outlying islands have long been a focus of conservation biology as sites