Document Type

Honors Project On-Campus Access Only


Rakaia is the largest genus of family Pettalidae (Suborder Cyphophthalmi, Order Opiliones) in New Zealand; however, we have yet to grasp a complete understanding of their diversity because of limited sampling and old specimen age. I describe four morphological species from the Wellington area of New Zealand, identify novel cuticular structures previously not found in this genus, and generate a phylogeny of genus Rakaia by targeting ultraconserved elements (UCEs), which allow analysis of hundreds of genes across the genome from decades-old specimens and inference of species- to higher taxon-level divergences. This was the first attempt at using next-generation sequencing techniques for New Zealand mite harvestmen at the species level. I discuss the implication of using UCEs for this group, and identify future directions for utilizing these high-resolution phylogenies to test biogeographical hypotheses in the context of Gondwanan vicariance.



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