Ochromyia petersiana Loew, 1852

Rognes, Knut, 2012, 3553, Zootaxa 3553, pp. 1-79: 74-76

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Ochromyia petersiana Loew, 1852


Notes on Ochromyia petersiana Loew, 1852  

Ochromyia petersiana Loew, 1852: 660   (as Ochromyia Petersiana   ; incorrect original spelling, see Article of ICZN 1999). Syntypes (sex or number of specimens not indicated) from Mozambique (Tete), without further mention of locality   .

Ochromyia petersiana: Loew 1862: 20   (as Ochromyia Petersiana   ). A male (or males) from Inhambane ( Mozambique) is described in detail.

Ochromyia petersiana: Pont 1980: 791   . Catalogue entry as questionable senior synonym of Bengalia depressa Walker.  

Thoracites neglectus Zumpt, 1972: 49   , 50 fig. 2. Holotype male (NMSA, not examined), by monotypy. Type locality: South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Mtubatuba. Syn. nov.

Thoracites neglectus: Kurahashi 2001: 152   . One male specimen from Mtubatuba (apparently the holotype cited above) and one male from KwaZulu-Natal, Ndumu Game Res. Camp (both in NMSA, not examined).

The nominal species Ochromyia petersiana   was described over four lines in Latin by Loew (1852) on the basis of an unstated number of specimens of unstated sex and unstated locality [except for “Mossambique” in the title of Peters’s presentation of Loew’s results, cf. Loew (1852: 658)]. In a later paper Loew (1862) gave a long description of the male sex, again without stating the number of specimens before him, on the basis of material from Inhambane. There is no evidence, however, that Loew had only one specimen before him when he prepared the description of the male.

Ochromyia petersiana Loew   was listed as a questionable senior synonym of Bengalia depressa   by Pont (1980), possibly following suggestions to that effect by Bezzi (1892: 189, as synonym of “ O. limbata, Bigot   ”) and Bezzi (1908: 77). However, the very detailed description in German by Loew (1862) seems not to confirm a placement in Bengalia   , for several reasons: (1) It is described as having “die langgefiederte, an der Spitze aber nackte Fühlerborste der Sarcophaga-Arten …[the long-plumose arista, bare distally, of Sarcophaga   -species …]”. The arista of Bengalia species   is not bare distally. (2) The thorax is described as having the ground colour “sehr dunkel mit metallischgrünen, zuweilen mit kupferrothem Glanze, welcher durch die den ganzen Thorax bedeckende Bestäubung hindurch nur bei einiger Aufmerksamkeit bemerkt wird … [very dark with a metallic green or sometimes coppery red shine which can only be seen with careful examination through the dusting that covers the whole thorax]”. No Bengalia   shows a metallic green or coppery red coloured thorax covered by a layer of microtomentum. (3) The “kleiner fünfte Ring” (T5 or epandrium?) is described as “glänzend schwarz [shining black]” as opposed to the preceding four abdominal “rings” which are described as “rothbräunlich [reddish brown]”, with “schwarzer Hinterrandsbinde und schwarzer Mittelinie [black hind-marginal bands and a black middorsal stripe]” and completely covered with “messinggelblicher, wechselschillernder Bestäubung [brassyyellowish, shifting microtomentum]”. On the assumption that the “kleiner fünfte Ring” refers to T5, we can say with confidence that such a combination of colours is never encountered in the abdomen of a Bengalia   . The Nepalese Bengalia subnitida James, 1964   is described as having a shining black abdomen, but the shining blackness does not apply to T5 only. However, if the “kleiner fünfte Ring” is the epandrium the remainder of abdomen is definitely reminiscent of that of a Bengalia species.  

Thanks to the efforts of Joachim Ziegler (MNHUB) I am able to give some additional information on O. petersiana   . The male (or males) from “ Inhambane ” which served as the basis for the detailed 1862 description, appears to have been lost, at least there is now no male in Loew’s collection in MNHUB. However, in MNHUB there are two females under the name O. petersiana   . Both bear a locality label reading “Tette / Peters”, indicating that they were captured at Tete in Mozambique by Peters. “Tette” is a locality mentioned elsewhere in Loew’s 1862 paper, but not under “ Ochromyia Petersiana   ”. One of the females has an undated Loew determination label reading “ Ochromyia   / Petersiana / m.” [m = mihi, i.e., Loew’s species]. Loew (1852) gave no indication of sex or locality when he named his species, but given that these females were most likely at hand when Loew described O. petersiana   , we are entitled to consider these females as syntypes, in accordance with Article of the Code (ICZN 1999) which allows taking any evidence into account to determine what specimens constitute the type series. Loew must have coined the name, thus labelled the specimens, before the name was made public by Peters (in Loew 1852) who “legte Diagnosen und Abbildungen der von ihm in Mossambique neu entdeckten Dipteren vor, welche von Hrn Professor Loew bearbeitet worden sind”, thus that both females were before Loew when he created the nominal species in 1852. Similarly, we are not justified in regarding the status of the lost male as a holotype, and possibly not even a syntype, since Loew described the male ten years after he published the name Ochromyia petersiana   . A holotype must be designated in the original publication, which Loew (1852) did not do (Article 73.1.3 of the ICZN 1999).

Both specimens fit the descriptions of Loew (1852, 1862), and the T6 of the ovipositor is visible and shining black. In one of the specimens (syntype no. 1, below) the curved, densely set spines at the tip of the ovipositor are visible. Both specimens run to Thoracites Brauer & Bergenstamm, 1891   in Zumpt’s (1958) key, on account of the plumose arista (with a distal region with very short hairs, giving the impression of being bare under low magnification) and the absence of an outer ph.

The prst ac and prst dc setae are well developed, and the T3–5 are without lateral discal setae. The basicosta is yellowish and the epaulet brownish. The abdomen has a yellow ground colour with a strong microtrichiosity in a shifting pattern according to angle of view, also on the ventral parts. T1+2 is yellow except for short black marginal bands laterally. T3 also has black marginal bands, their width about one third of the length of the tergite, their inner ends are closer to the mid-dorsal line than those on T1+2, and there is a separate narrowly triangular dark line middorsally, reaching forward to the anterior edge in syntype no. 1 and more than halfway to the anterior edge in syntype no. 2. T4 has a complete black hind marginal band about as wide as 2/5 of tergite length dorsally, and a mid-dorsal narrow dark line reaching the anterior edge. T5 has a hind marginal black band about as wide as half the tergite length. The anterior half of T5 is strongly microtrichiose, almost hiding the yellow ground colour. ST1 is yellow, but the colour of the other sternites cannot be determined since hidden by the extreme ventral edges of tergites T3–5 which are all black.

The females seem conspecific. I have not selected a lectotype, which is better left to a specialist revising the females of Thoracites   .

Zumpt (1972) recognised three Afrotropical species in Thoracites   , i.e., T. cingulatus Bezzi, 1914   (type locality Senegal; also from Mozambique and South Africa), T. neglectus Zumpt, 1972   (based on a single male from South Africa) and T. nigeriensis Zumpt, 1972   (based on three males from Nigeria) (cf. Bezzi 1914, Peris 1952, Zumpt 1972, Pont 1980). Subsequently, Kurahashi (2001) revised the genus and added three more Afrotropical species, i.e., T. kirkspriggsi Kurahashi   (based on males and females from Namibia), T. nigrifacies Kurahashi   (based on males and females from Namibia) and T. sarcophagoides Kurahashi   (based males and females from Namibia). There are also two Oriental species: T. abdominalis ( Fabricius, 1805)   (known from males and females from India and Sri Lanka) and T. miltogrammoides Kurahashi, 2001   (based on males and females from Sri Lanka).

Loew’s name petersiana   from 1852 thus predates the oldest name in use for an Afrotropical species of Thoracites   by more than 50 years.

Thoracites petersiana (Loew)   may appear to be a senior synonym of Thoracites cingulatus Bezzi   , since it fits Bezzi’s (1914) description well, and also fits the habitus photograph of a female T. cingulatus Bezzi   identified by Zumpt ( Kurahashi 2001: 160 fig. 29a). In Kurahashi’s key (2001) the yellowish face, the lack of outer ph, the indistinct triangular dark spot below anterior lower margin of eye, and the largely yellow T1+2 lead to T. neglectus   or T. kirkspriggsi   . In the former the epaulet is given as blackish (statement based on two males), whereas yellowish-brown in the latter. Thoracites cingulatus   is included in Kurahashi’s key, but no information about the colour of the epaulet is given.

Zumpt (1972: 52) claimed that Bezzi described T. cingulatus   on the basis of a male specimen, but this claim is unjustified. In Bezzi’s original description, in the first line on p. 290, there is a female symbol immediately after the name of the new species. A little further down, on line 6, Bezzi writes “Un maschio di Thies, Senegal [a male from Thies, Senegal]”. This sentence is cited by Zumpt as evidence for a male type. However, the description to follow this line indicates that the specimen before Bezzi was actually a female. On lines 19–20 he states, concerning the characteristics of the genus Thoracites   , that “nella ♀ esistono solo 2 orbitali externe, forte e bene sviluppate, da ogni lato [in the ♀ there are only 2 external orbitals, strong and well developed, on each side]”, whereas “in Idiopsis   invece, come in Rhyncomyia   , la fronte della ♀ presenta molte piccole setole disordinate al posto delle orbitali esterne, senza che fra di esse campeggino in modo particolare quelle maggiori [in Idiopsis   , on the contrary, as in Rhyncomyia   , the frons of the female bears a number of small irregularly placed setae instead of the external orbitals, without any one of these appearing as more prominent than the others]”. On lines 2–4 from below he states that “tutte le macrochete son nere e robuste [all the setae are black and strong], cosi anche les ocellari e le due paia di orbitali esterne [as is also the case with the ocellars and the two pairs of external orbitals]”. Thus Bezzi described the presence of two pairs of “external orbitals” in his specimen. Such setae are only present in females, according to Zumpt’s (1958, 1972) and Kurahashi’s (2001) descriptions. So we have to take Bezzi’s words as proof that the single specimen that served as the basis for his description is a female.

Through the kindness of Fabrizio Regato (MSNM) I have been able to study the holotype of T. cingulatus Bezzi   from Senegal. It is labelled as follows: (1) Thies / Africa occ. / 1912 [handwritten; not by Bezzi]; (2) Thoracites   / cingulatus / n. [handwritten by Bezzi]. It is a female, as expected. It is similar to the syntypes of Ochromyia petersiana   in general facies, although paler. Both have the basicosta yellow and the epaulet brownish, although the epaulet is somewhat paler in cingulatus   than in petersiana   . The hind marginal black band on T5 is much narrower in the holotype of T. cingulatus   (mid-dorsally about 1/4 of the length of T5) than in the syntypes of O. petersiana   (middorsally about half the length of T5), and the abdomen appears yellower and less microtrichiose than the one in O. petersiana   . Whereas the yellow ground colour of T5 is prominent in the T. cingulatus   holotype, it is almost completely hidden by a dense layer of microtomentum in the O. petersiana   syntypes. I think the holotype of T. cingulatus   and the syntypes of O. petersiana   represent different species, thus that these names are not synonyms.

I have examined a large series of males (11, two dissected) and females (43, none dissected) all from South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Ndumo Game Reserve, near the Mozambique border) and all captured in Malaise traps between 4–8.xii.2009 by A. Kirk-Spriggs (in BMSA). All seem to be conspecific and belong to T. neglectus Zumpt   according to the dissected male genitalia. The epaulet is black in the males and brownish yellow in the females. The male and female also differ in the colour of the abdominal T1+2, which is all black in all the males, but yellow with only a narrow lateral marginal black band in the females. I cannot distinguish these females from the syntypes of O. petersiana   . Interestingly, Kurahashi (2001) lists a second male of T. neglectus   from near the same “Ndumu Game Res. Camp” in South Africa which has been identified by Zumpt himself. Therefore I find it likely that O. petersiana   is a senior synonym of T. neglectus   , and have listed the latter name as a junior synonym above.

Material examined. Two syntype females (nos. 1 and 2, respectively below), both in MNHUB. Syntype no. 1 labelled (1) Tette / Peters [handwritten by Loew]; (2) small magenta square label; (3) Ochromyia   / Petersiana / m. (4) Coll. / H.Loew [white label, handwritten text in pencil]; (5) Zool. Mus. / Berlin [printed]. Note. The right wing was glued to a card at the reception of the specimen. Syntype no. 2 labelled (1) Tette / Peters [handwritten by Loew]; (2) small magenta square label; (3) Coll. / H.Loew [yellow label with printed text]; (4) Zool. Mus. / Berlin [printed]. Both syntypes have been given a red syntype label by me reading: SYNTYPE (f) / Ochromyia petersiana   / Loew, 1852: 660 / K. Rognes 3 May 2012. Measurements: Length: 7.5mm (n=2). Frons at vertex / head width ratio: 0.275 –0.280 (mean 0.278, n=2).














Ochromyia petersiana Loew, 1852

Rognes, Knut 2012

Thoracites neglectus:

Kurahashi, H. 2001: 152

Ochromyia petersiana: Pont 1980: 791

Pont, A. C. 1980: 791

Thoracites neglectus

Zumpt, F. 1972: 49

Ochromyia petersiana:

Loew, H. 1862: 20

Ochromyia petersiana

Loew, H. 1852: 660