Drymaplaneta semivitta

Blattidae  : Polyzosteriinae  : Methanini

The "Gisborne" cockroach. This species created such an interest in the 1960's that it acquired its common N.Z. name. However, it had probably come into the country earlier for as soon as it was noted in Gisborne, it was found in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland. It gradually spread south to reach Wellington in the 1980's. It is now also present in Blenheim and Nelson (1990's) and specimens have been taken in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill so infrequently that these were probably transported rather than taken from local populations. It is the one species that could become a serious contaminant of our exports resulting in the denial of entry for our produce into the importing country. This is a possibility also for its relative Drymaplaneta heydeniana.
It has also been inadvertantly transported to the Kermadec Islands and its abundance in Auckland and other ports may pose a threat to New Zealand exports. It would almost certainly survive in many ports which have similar climates to those in NZ .

There is some confusion over its identification as the species Drymaplaneta variegata which has a small pale spot on the sides of the first and second abdominal segments, and is recognised species in the Australian fauna, may intergrade with Drymaplaneta semivitta in New Zealand. Both species have broad tibia in the male, a feature which easily distinguishes the males from those of Drymaplaneta heydeniana and all other species in New Zealand.

Text updated: 29/12/2013