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New species of insect discovered near Dunedin

A team of zoologists from the University of Otago have discovered a new species of insect just outside Dunedin.

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Named the maungatua stonefly, it was found living in only a few hundred metres of sub-alpine habitat. Source: 1 NEWS

The Maungatua stonefly was found living in only a few hundred metres of sub-alpine habitat below the summit of Maungatua.

Unlike other stoneflies it is unable to fly.

"It's quite a small insect, it's half a centimetre long," zoologist Brodie Foster told 1 NEWS.

"But the interesting thing about it is that it has these really tiny wings, it appears to be flightless. We think that's why its distribution might be why it’s so restricted."

The insects have adapted to the windy conditions on Maungatua, causing its wings to be reduced to tiny remnants.

The insect is believed to have been isolated in the region for around 2 million years.

The number of existing Mangatua stoneflies is unknown but Otago researchers are turning to securing its survival.