New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2006) 30(3): 405- 406

Weta and the evolution of fleshy fruits in New Zealand

Short Communication
K. C. Burns  
  1. School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, P.O. Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand

Fleshy fruits are typically coloured either red or black and are displayed in conspicuous locations where they can be easily located by birds. However, fleshy fruits in New Zealand are often white or translucently coloured and are displayed in the inner recesses of plant canopies. These characteristics have been attributed to coevolution with reptiles. I describe seed dispersal by a ground weta in Nelson lakes National Park, and hypothesise that the unusual characteristics of fleshy fruits in New Zealand may result from coevolution with weta.