Zelus armillatus (Lepeletier & Serville, 1825)

Zhang, Guanyang, Hart, Elwood R & Weirauch, Christiane, 2016, A taxonomic monograph of the assassin bug genus Zelus Fabricius (Hemiptera: Reduviidae): 71 species based on 10,000 specimens, Biodiversity Data Journal 4, pp. 8150-8150 : 8150

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Zelus armillatus (Lepeletier & Serville, 1825)


Zelus armillatus (Lepeletier & Serville, 1825) View in CoL

Reduvius armillatus Lepeletier and Serville, 1825, p. 278, orig. descr.

Diplodus armillatus : Amyot and Serville, 1843, p. 370, descr.; Stål, 1860, p. 75, list; Walker, 1873, p. 123, cat.

Euagoras armillatus : Herrich-Schaeffer, 1853, p. 91, list.

Zelus armillatus : Stål, 1872, p. 90, cat. (subgenus Diplodus ); Lethierry and Severin, 1896, p. 151, cat.; Wygodzinsky, 1949a, p. 49, checklist; Mayr, 1866, p. 138-139, senior syn. of Z. brasiliensis , Z. aurantiacus , Z. guttifer and Z. conjungens ; Berg, 1879, p. 151-152, list and nymphs (subgenus Diplodus ); Costa Lima, 1940, 218, list (subgenus Diplocodus ); Wygodzinsky, 1957, p. 268, note; Wygodzinsky, 1960; p. 307, list; Maldonado, 1990, p. 326, cat.; Van der Heyden, p. 85-90, new record (misidentification, should be Zelus atripes ).

Reduvius brasiliensis Lepeletier and Serville, 1825, p. 278, orig. descr.

Diplodus brasiliensis : Amyot and Serville, 1843, p. 370, descr.; Stål, 1860, p. 75, note; Mayr, 1866, p. 138- 139, junior syn. of Z. armillatus ; Walker, 1873, p. 123, cat.

Euagoras brasiliensis : Herrich-Schaeffer, 1853, p. 91, list.

Zelus brasiliensis : Stål, 1872, p. 90, cat. (subgenus Diplodus ); Lethierry and Severin, 1896, p. 151, junior syn. of Z. armillatus .

Arilus aurantiacus Herrich-Schaeffer, 1848, p. 35-36 Tab. CCLXI. fig. 809, orig. descr. and fig.; Mayr, 1866, p. 138-139, junior syn. of Z. armillatus ; Stål, 1872, p. 90, junior syn. of Z. armillatus .

Euagoras aurantiacus : Herrich-Schaeffer, 1853, p. 91, list (aurantius (sic)).

Ploeogaster aurantiacus : Herrich-Schaeffer, 1853, p. 168, list.

Arilus guttifer Herrich-Schaeffer, 1848, p. 36, Tab. CCLXI, fig. 810, orig. descr. and fig.; Mayr, 1866, p. 138-139, junior syn. of Z. armillatus ; Stål, 1872, p. 90, junior syn. of Z. brasiliensis .

Euagoras guttifer : Herrich-Schaeffer, 1853, p. 92, list.

Ploeogaster guttifer : Herrich-Schaeffer, 1853, p. 168, list.

Diplodus guttifer : Stål, 1860, p. 74, descr.; Walker, 1873, p. 126, cat.

Zelus guttifer : Stål 1862, p. 453, note.

Arilus guttifer , Mayr, 1866, p. 138-139, junior syn. of Z. armillatus .


Figs 31, 32, 33, 34, 35

Male: (Fig. 31) Large, total length 17.15-19.02 mm (mean 17.87 mm, Suppl. material 2); robust. COLORATION: Highly variable, with varying combinations and amounts of yellow, yellowish-brown and brownish-black; margins of posterior pronotal lobe and corium yellowish, rest brownish-black as most common pattern, amount of black varies, sometimes almost entirely black; legs uniformly black or apically reddish, yellow-black banded in some specimens. Abdominal dorsal surface dark brown, segments with yellowish-brown posterior and lateral margins; lateral and ventral surfaces dark brown to brownish-black with lighter mid-ventral line or yellowish-brown with variable darker areas. Pygophore yellowish-brown to brownish-black, pattern variable. VESTITURE: Densely setose. Short recumbent and short to long erect setae over entire surface of head. Anterior pronotal lobe with short recumbent and short to long erect setae on lateral surface, short to long erect setae confined to tracts dorsally; posterior lobe with recumbent to erect setae on lateral surface, erect setae on dorsal surface; scutellum with dense moderate to long semi-erect to erect setae, denser on apex. Corium and clavus with short, recumbent or erect setae. Scattered short erect setae on abdominal dorsum, lateral and ventral surfaces with short recumbent setae interspersed with erect setae of varying lengths. Recumbent and erect setae on exposed surface of pygophore; apical 1/3 of parameres with erect setae on dorsal surface. STRUCTURE: Head: Cylindrical, L/W = 2.40. Postocular lobe relatively short; in dorsal view anteriorly gradually narrowing, posterior portion constant, slightly narrower. Eye moderately sized; dorsal and ventral margins removed from outlines of head. Labium: I: II: III = 1: 1.5: 0.4. Basiflagellomere diameter subequal to that of pedicel. Thorax: Anterolateral angle rounded, without projection; medial longitudinal sulcus evident throughout, deepening posteriorly. Posterior pronotal lobe with finely rugulose surface; disc slightly elevated above humeral angle; humeral angle armed, with spinous processes. Scutellum short; apex rounded, not projected. Legs: Robust. Hemelytron: Surpassing apex of abdomen by about length of abdominal segment seven; quadrate cell large and broad; Cu and M of cubital cell converging towards R. GENITALIA: (Fig. 34) Pygophore: Ovoid; posteriorly expanded sac-like sclerite between parameres and medial process. Medial process cylindrical; slender; moderately long, almost as long as exposed part of parameres; posteriorly directed, in less than forty-five degree with body axis; nearly straight; basally without protrusion; apex in posterior view rounded, with minute projection. Paramere: Cylindrical; long, not reaching apex of medial process; directed posteriad; not distinctly curved; apical part not enlarged to very slightly enlarged. Phallus: Sharp laterally oriented process close to posterior margin of foramen and basal arms; apical portion of phallothecal sclerite not distinctly tapered, flat, laterally angulate; apex truncate; posterior margin of foramen broadly concave. Struts attached to dorsal phallothecal sclerite; apically separate, not connected by bridge; basally mostly separate, moderately fused. Basal plate arm robust; separate; converging; in lateral view nearly straight, very slightly curved; bridge short; extension of basal plate expanded onto arm.

Female: (Figs 32, 33) Similar to male, except for the following. Larger than male, total length 19.0-24.7 mm (mean 21.94 mm, Suppl. material 2). Coloration variations more extensive than in male.


The large and robust body, the dorsal coloration usually bright, yellow or red with black, the medial process short and relatively slender are characteristic to Z. armillatus . Male genitalic structures of Z. armillatus and Z. janus are nearly identical, but these two species do not overlap in range and are sufficiently different in non-genitalic morphological characters, which allow them to be easily separated.

The only species with which Z. armillatus is sympatric which may cause some identification problems is Z. conjungens . It may be distinguished from that species by the characters discussed under Z. conjungens .


South America (Fig. 35). Countries with specimen records: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Paraguay.

Taxon discussion

Zelus armillatus is a very common, widespread, variable species in South America. It is known to occur in nearly all areas of the continent from central Argentina and northward, at altitudes from sea level to several thousand feet, and dry temperate to moist tropical areas. The coloration and markings of Z. armillatus are highly variable throughout the range and appear to be as variable in any given area (e.g., Fig. 33d) as they are between areas. This fact is responsible for the several descriptions based upon color forms of this species. The drawings of Herrich-Schaeffer (1848) illustrate two of the common variations encountered, although the dorsal coloration, as well as that of the legs, may vary from almost entirely yellowish-brown through various combinations of that color and brownish-black to almost entirely brownish-black.