New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2008) 32(1): 113- 114

When is it coevolution? A reply to Morgan-Richards et al.

Forum Article
K.C. Burns  
  1. School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand (Email:

I recently hypothesised that some characteristics of fleshy-fruits in New Zealand could result from coevolution with wētā (Burns 2006a). Morgan-Richards et al. (2007) expand on the subject by offering some suggestions on how this hypothesis could be tested and by conducting several small field trials. In the process they argue emphatically against the hypothesis.

Morgan-Richards et al. (2007) have rather strong opinions concerning the validity of the hypothesis that some New Zealand fruits are adapted for wētā dispersal. Future work might very well validate their opinion. Unfortunately, the data and logic contained in their Forum paper do not bring us any closer to the truth.