Panorpa cryptica Bicha & Schiff

Bicha, Wesley, Schiff, Nathan, Lancaster, Aaron & Scheffler, Brian, 2015, A nearly cryptic Scorpionfly, Panorpa cryptica n. sp. (Mecoptera: Panorpidae) from North America, Zootaxa 3973 (3), pp. 591-600: 594-598

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Panorpa cryptica Bicha & Schiff

new species

Panorpa cryptica Bicha & Schiff  , new species

Figs. 1–10View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2View FIGURES 3 – 6

Diagnosis. Panorpa cryptica  can be differentiated from the similar P. nebulosa  by the tufts of setae on the apices of the male basistyles not borne on pronounced caudally directed tubercles or lobes as in P. nebulosa  . Further, the male ventral parameres are thin and nearly sigmoidal, typically curving corkscrew-like ventrally out of the genital bulb.

Type material examined. Holotype male, allotype female, and 2 males, 1 female paratypes: GEORGIA, Murray Co. 29 April 2011. Additional paratypes: GEORGIA, 9 males, Bartow Co. 34.3485 o N 84.6647 o W, 260 m, 3 May 2014; 7 males, 6 females, Catoosa Co. 34.57899 o N 85.20343 o W, elev. 275 m, 27 May 2013; 1 male, Chatooga Co. 34.57912 o N 85.20348 o W, 271 m, 5 May 2012; 9 males, 1 female, Cherokee Co. 34.24047 o N 84.41557 o W, 370 m, 3 May 2014; 7 males, 1 female, Dawson Co. 34.35167 o N 84.11645 o W, 330 m, 12 May 2014; 1 male, 1 female, Floyd Co. 34.45695 o N 85.22108 o W, 300 m, 27 May 2013; 5 males, 4 females, Forsyth Co. 34.30142 o N 84.22302 o W, 333 m, 11 May 2014; 1 male, Gilmer Co., 25 May 1996; 4 males, Gilmer Co. 34.68612 o N 84.59940 o W, 431 m, 16 June 2012; 4 males, 14 females, Gilmer Co. 34.7636 o N 84.57363 o W, 458 m, 1 July 2012; 1 male, Gilmer Co., Chattahoochee National Forest, 31 May 1990, C. L. Smith & R. M. Duffield ( GMNH); 1 male, Lumpkin Co., 15 mi. NW Dahlonega, 2 June 1971, F. Sherberger ( GMNH); 1 male, 15 mi NW Dalonega, 16 June 1973, M.R. Humphery ( GMNH); 9 males, 1 female, Lumpkin Co. 34.51929 o N 84.05619 o W, 448 m, 28 April 2012; 1 male, Lumpkin Co. 34 o 31 ' 56 "N 84 o 1 ' 7 "W, 26 May 2007; 10 males, 1 female, Murray Co. 34.75957 o N 84.73206 o W, 387 m, 28 April 2012; 9 males, 2 females, same locality, 29 April 2011; 4 males, 2 females, Pickens Co. 34.47702 o N 84.54227 o W, 394 m, 16 June 2012; 1 male, Stephens Co., Toccoa College 34.59409 o N 83.36178 o W, 14 April 2012; 6 males, 6 females, same locality, 18 May 2013; 1 male, Union Co., 25 June 1973, R. J. Beshear ( GMNH); 1 male, Union Co., Brasstown Bald View, off Jack’s Knob Trail, 1 June 1986, K. Morgan, C. L. Smith, & S. P. Smith ( GMNH); 1 male, Neel Gap, 22 May 1946, W.F. Fattig ( GMNH); 1 male, Union Co., Neel Gap, 22 May 1946, P.W. Fattig, det. as P. nebulosa  by A. B. Gurney 1947 ( CUAC); 1 male, Union Co., 17 June 1984, G. Storey ( GMNH); 2 males, White Co., 28 May 2007; 1 female, White Co. 34.57371 o N 83.64269 o W, 415 m, 28 April 2012; 1 male, White Co., Anna Ruby Falls, 2 June 1974, H. O. Lund ( GMNH); NORTH CAROLINA, 1 male, Henderson Co., 2 miles SE Edneyville off road 1717, 21 July 1984, K. J. Smart at light trap ( CUAC); 1 male, Macon Co., Coweeta Hydrologic Lab, 3 July 1983, R. Turnbow ( GMNH); 2 males, same locality, 1 June 1986, K. Morgan, C. L. Smith, & S. P. Smith ( GMNH), 2 males, same locality, 4–18 September 1979, C. L. Smith, in malaise trap ( GMNH); 1 male, same locality, 18 June 1985, A. D. Buryn & R. Morris, at black light ( GMNH); 1 male same locality, 11–24 July 1979, C. L. Smith, in malaise trap ( GMNH); 2 males, Macon Co., Nantahala N.F. Standing Indian Campground, 17 June 1978, J. Morse ( CUAC); Macon Co., Wayah Crest, 8–9 June 1984, J. Jamison, det. as P. nebulosa  by Morse 1984; ( CUAC); SOUTH CAROLINA, 1 male, Pickens Co., Laurel Creek, 12 June 1976, J. W. Chapin ( CUAC). Unless otherwise noted, specimens at GMNH and CUAC were previously determined by G. W. Byers as P. nebulosa  . Holotype, allotype, and paratypes are deposited in the NMNH; additional paratypes are deposited in the Georgia Museum of Natural History ( GMNH), Athens, Georgia; Clemson University Arthropod Collection ( CUAC), Clemson, South Carolina; California Academy of Sciences ( CAS), San Francisco, California; Florida State Collection of Arthropods ( FSCA), Gainesville, Florida; and collection of the author (WB).

Description. Head dorsum yellowish brown; area surrounding ocelli dark brown. Rostrum yellowish brown; genae yellowish brown. Labrum and maxillary palps brown. Antennal scape yellowish brown; pedicel dark brown; flagellum black, with approximately 40 flagellomeres.

Pronotum yellowish brown, anterior margin with one spot on each side of mid-line; 7–11 stout black setae at each side on anterior margin and 2–4 less stout black setae on posterior margin. Mesonotum and metanotum yellowish brown with brown spot at wing bases, with numerous short hairs directed caudally. Scutellum brown. Pleural surfaces, coxae and mera sordid white with numerous short, golden setae on anterior coxa and on mesothoraxic coxa and episternum; sparse, pale, fine setae on metathorax, most numerous on coxa; small black spot at each end of mesepimeron and metaepimeron. Femora and tibiae sordid white to yellowish brown with numerous short apically directed golden hairs and a lesser number of black setae. Tibiae with two brown spines. Tarsi yellow-brown with numerous apically directed golden hairs.

Wings ( Fig. 3View FIGURES 3 – 6) faintly tinged with brown, markings brown, veins brown, stigma indistinct, thyridium at first fork of M hyaline, humeral spots ( Byers 1993) absent, first basal spot ( Esben-Petersen, 1921) present, second basal spot absent, basal band reduced to one spot at OR S and one spot between 1 cu 1-2 cu 2 and 2 cu 1-2 cu 2, marginal spot ( Esben-Petersen, 1921) reduced to two spots between termination of Sc and thyridium, pterostigmal band includes both basal and apical branches but reduced to variable series of spots extending from C to M 4, and from C to Cu 1, apical band reduced to numerous spots between R 1 and M 4 termini.

Male terga 2–5 yellowish brown, sometimes with patches of brown; sterna 2–5 yellowish brown; pleural areas sordid white; tergum 3 posterior margin with notal organ slightly pronounced above; tergum 4 anterior margin with small protuberance; segment 6 yellowish orange, long, narrowing caudally with length twice anterior diameter, posterior truncate without anal horn; segments 7–8 yellowish orange, long, diameter expanding caudally, length five times caudal diameter.

Genital bulb elliptic ( Fig. 4View FIGURES 3 – 6). Basistyles fused one-third of length ventrally, apices bearing tuft of 4–9 long, dark brown to black setae. Hypovalves of sternum 9, slender, parallel, extending two-thirds distance between ventral fusion of basistyles and bases of dististyles, mesal margins bearing 8–15 long, black setae. Tergum 9 ( Fig. 5View FIGURES 3 – 6) yellowish brown, narrowing apically, extending additional one-fifth beyond cerci to just beyond base of dististyles, deeply emarginate. Cerci yellowish brown. Dististyles falcate tips, thin, 37–40 % of length; outer margin slightly concave until acute tip; with large, cuplike basal lobe prolonged ventromesally; dorsomesal edge of basal cup with triangular tooth. Ventral parameres of aedeagus long, sigmoidal or cork-screw-like, slender, singlebranched, extending one half length beyond base of dististyles and typically curving ventrally out of genital bulb; apices accuminate; ventral parameres apically narrow, flattened, glossy orange-brown, with few fine setae on mesal margins; basal mesal margins with numerous longer, fine golden setae. Dorsal parameres of aedeagus broad basally, narrowing apically, dorsally flattened, extending just beyond bases of dististyles. Dorsal and ventral valves small, cone-shaped. No aedeagal hamulus ( Byers, 1993).

Female terga 2–8 brown; sterna yellowish brown; pleural areas sordid white; female subgenital plate yellowish brown, shield-shaped, yellow to yellowish brown, pale medially, with numerous fine setae on caudal margin; genital plate ( Fig. 6View FIGURES 3 – 6) with well developed distal plate, basal plate, accessory plate; distal plate deeply emarginate, spermathecal apodemes ( Thornhill et. al. 1974) narrow, long, divergent.

Measurements. Length of male approximately 10.1 mm; length of female approximately 9.0 mm.

Etymology. The specific name cryptica  or “hidden” refers to the morphologically cryptic nature of this species.

Taxonomic remarks. Panorpa cryptica  appears very similar to P. n e bu l o s a and somewhat similar to P. f l e xa, but the males of P. cryptica  differ in having thin, nearly sigmoidally curved ventral parameres, which typically curve corkscrew-like ventrally out of the genital bulb. The ventral parameres of P. nebulosa  are slightly thicker, are either straight or curve slightly mesad, and remain within the genital bulb. Further, the tufts of long, black setae on the apices of the basistyles of P. cryptica  (Fig. 7) are not borne by pronounced caudally directed tubercles or lobes, whereas those of P. n e bu l o s a (Fig. 8) are pronounced in all specimens examined from Wisconsin to Canada and New England to Tennessee. The basistyle apices of P. flexa  (Fig. 9) are somewhat similar to those of P. cryptica  , but the dististyles have shorter and thicker falcate tips than P. cryptica  and P. nebulosa  . The ventral parameres of P. flexa  curve strongly mesad, and the apices are broad, bare, and do not curve ventrally out of the genital bulb. Panorpa acuta  may be readily differentiated from P. cryptica  and all other North American Panorpa  by its unique truncate tergum 9 and uniquely shaped dorsal parameres and hypovalves.

In the field, P. ac u t a appears comparatively larger and males have a reddish orange abdomen (segment 6). Panorpa flexa  typically has a black abdomen (segments 2–5) and unmarked or faintly marked wings. Panorpa cryptica  is the smallest of the four species and the males have a paler genital bulb than P. n e bu l o s a. Panorpa cryptica  flies earlier in the year than P. nebulosa  .

COI analysis suggests that P. cryptica  is closely related to P. acuta  , P. flexa  , and P. nebul osa  but most closely related to P. ac u t a ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1). Yet, morphologically P. acuta  is more different from the other three species than they are from each other, and the range of P. acuta  overlaps that of each of the other three species.

Biology and ecology. Individuals of P. cryptica  were observed from mid-April through until early July sitting horizontally on the top surfaces of vegetation in partially broken to deep shade. Other scorpionflies, such as Panorpa isolata Carpenter, 1931  , tended to be more abundant in areas that offered slightly greater sunlight, while P. cryptica  tended to be more abundant deeper into the forest shade. Males of P. cryptica  were observed on the top surfaces of vegetation ( Fig. 10) offering dead insects to females. Males were not observed offering salivary masses to females, although it is possible that males do when dead insects are scarce. Ma et al. (2011) presented internal structural evidence of why some species of Panorpa  do not offer salivary masses as nuptial gifts. We have not attempted to dissect males of Panorpa cryptica  to determine the extent of development of the male salivary glands.

Distribution. Carpenter (1935) recorded P. flexa  , which is likely P. cryptica  n. sp. from Yonah Mountain, Georgia. Panorpa cryptica  n. sp. appears to be limited to mid-elevation areas south of the Appalachian Mountains of northern Georgia, western North Carolina, and northwestern South Carolina. Panorpa cryptica  n. sp. is active earlier in the spring than P. nebulosa  and P. flexa  and sometimes flies in mixed populations with P. a c ut a.


Georgia Museum of Natural History


Clemson University Arthropod Collection


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


California Academy of Sciences


Florida State Collection of Arthropods, The Museum of Entomology


University of Coimbra Botany Department