The validity of the synonymy of Prodontria modesta (Broun) and the nationally endangered Prodontria bicolorata Given, both flightless with very restricted distributions in Central Otago, New Zealand, was investigated using molecular phylogenetic analyses of a section of the mitochondrial gene region coding for cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1). Maximum likelihood analysis of the COI data found no separate, monophyletic lineages linked to colour form among six populations of the beetle and the genetic variation observed was less than that recorded within many other beetle species, including other melolonthines. The synonymisation of P. bicolorata with P. modesta should be considered valid and conservation efforts should focus on protecting habitats and populations, rather than on preserving colour forms.
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Vink, C.J., Evans, A.M., Phillips, C.B. et al. Molecular phylogenetic analysis supports the synonymy of Prodontria modesta (Broun) and Prodontria bicolorata Given (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae). Journal of Insect Conservation 7, 215–221 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JICO.0000021011.23585.d7