Spalangia chontalensis Cameron, 1884

Gibson, Gary A. P., 2009, 2259, Zootaxa 2259, pp. 1-159 : 41-45

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Spalangia chontalensis Cameron, 1884


5. Spalangia chontalensis Cameron, 1884 View in CoL

(Figs 80–97)

Spalangia chontalensis Cameron, 1884: 110 View in CoL ; holotype ♀ (BMNH, examined). Type data: Nicaragua, Chontales, Janson .

Spalangia brasiliensis Ashmead, 1904: 502 View in CoL ; holotype ♀ (USNM, examined). Type data: [ Brazil] Santarem?; H.H. Smith coll. Synonymy by Burks (1969: 2).

Spalangia bakeri Kieffer, 1910: 347–348 View in CoL ; holotype ♁ (nec ♀) lost. Type data: Brazil, near Pará, M. Baker. New synonymy .

Description. Female. Length = 1.7–4.2 mm. Legs dark with at least basal 3 tarsal segments yellow and tibiae sometimes narrowly yellow apically. Head in anterior view (Fig. 80) about 1.1–1.2x as high as wide; in dorsal view about 1.6–1.8x as wide as long; in lateral view (Fig. 81) with malar space about 0.5–0.7x eye height and about 0.7–1.0x eye width. Head capsule (Figs 80, 81) smooth and shiny except for distinct setiferous punctures as follows: with complete median sulcus extending ventrally to elongate-triangular scrobal depression (Fig. 80), otherwise upper face with variably crowded punctures, the punctures sometimes separated by distance obviously greater than own diameter in smaller specimens but usually mostly separated by own diameter or less in larger specimens, except punctures more closely crowded toward inner orbit and on parascrobal region toward lower inner orbit where usually separated by ridges except in smaller specimens; scrobal depression with punctate-crenulate scrobes (in smaller specimens sometimes distinct only near torulus), smooth and shiny interantennal region, and variably smooth to punctate inclined surface of depression (Fig. 80); gena sometimes partly smooth in smaller specimens but usually variably densely punctate to longitudinally striate-punctate without distinct malar sulcus (Fig. 81), though sometimes with depressed row of contiguous punctures in region of presumptive sulcus; temple variably densely punctate similar to face. Antenna (Fig. 91) with scape about 6.0–7.5x as long as greatest width, the inner (Fig. 92) and outer (Fig. 93) surfaces similarly longitudinally strigose-punctate, but outer surface uniformly setose and inner surface with variably large and conspicuous mediolongitudinal bare region; pedicel about 1.8–2.3x as long as apical width and about 1.0x–1.6x as long as fu 1; funicle with fu 1 about 1.2–2.0x as long as wide, fu 2 usually oblong, up to about 1.4x as long as wide but at least very slightly longer than wide, and apical segments usually quadrate though sometimes slightly transverse; clava about 1.9–2.5x as long as wide.

Pronotal collar in lateral view abruptly raised behind neck and anterolaterally with carinate ridge extending vertically from circumpronotal furrow and across collar as irregular, undulating carina or stronger crest that is medially discontinuous (Fig. 85) and sometimes more or less tooth-like raised paramedially (Fig. 83), but which delimits an anterior, mostly smooth and shiny vertical surface of collar above neck (Fig. 84); with distinct crenulate cross-line posteriorly but otherwise variably densely punctate, the setiferous punctures usually mostly circular even if quite dense except often multisided to rugose laterally (Fig. 84), and usually with smooth (Fig. 85), sometimes shallowly furrow-like (Fig. 86) median band. Mesoscutal median lobe with anterior convex region smooth and shiny (Figs 84–86); internotaular region completely but variably sculptured, more or less rugose or with longitudinally aligned circular to irregular setiferous punctures and often with median smooth band or carina (Figs 85, 86). Axillae (Figs 85, 86) variably densely punctate, mostly smooth and shiny to extensively covered with distinct setiferous punctures. Scutellum (Figs 85, 86) variably densely and conspicuously punctate, almost completely smooth except for a few pinprick-like setiferous punctures laterally to almost uniformly covered with distinct, circular punctures except for median smooth band; frenum (Figs 85, 86) differentiated by complete crenulate frenal line. Mesopleuron (Figs 87, 88) smooth and shiny except as follows: pectal region variably distinctly crenulate along anterior margin and bare except for 1 posteroventral seta; acropleuron longitudinally carinate, the carinae extending posteriorly onto alar shelf and sometimes extending as fine longitudinal striae on upper mesepimeron; subalar scrobe usually quite deep and subdivided by one to several longitudinal carinae, higher than wide and either more or less vertical (Fig. 87) or tapered posteriorly and then somewhat rugose toward episternal scrobe, but posteroventral margin abruptly

Figs 80–88. Spalangia chontalensis Cameron. 80 & 81, ♀ head: 80, anterior view, 81, lateral view; 82, ♁ head, lateral view; 83 & 84, ♀ pronotum: 83, dorsal view, 84, dorsolateral view; 85 & 86, mesosoma, dorsal view: 85, ♀, 86, ♁; 87 & 88, mesopleuron: 87, ♀, 88, ♁.

angled relative to transepisternal line (Fig. 87); episternal scrobe usually a deep, subcircular to triangular or vertically ovate depression and precoxal scrobe usually a subcircular depression, but scrobes separated by smooth cuticle (Fig. 88) or at most connected by fine, non-crenulate episternal and precoxal lines (Fig. 87); upper and lower mesepisternum differentiated by punctate-crenulate transepisternal line and adjacent line of setae (Fig. 87). Fore wing hyaline or with variably distinct yellowish tinge; mediocubital fold with line of at least 3 setae and usually mediocubital fold and basal cell much more extensively and conspicuously setose. Propodeum (Fig. 89) with distinct postspiracular sulcus; callus completely punctate-rugose; plical region with variably conspicuously widened paramedian crenulate furrows delineating median carina, but at least anterior-most cell much longer and larger than more posterior cells; supracoxal band contiguous with paramedian crenulate furrows; propodeal panels smooth and shiny.

Petiole (Fig. 89) about 2.3–2.8x as long as medial width; with minute, though sometimes obscure, porelike punctures between longitudinal carinae; with several setae laterally along length. Gaster with tergites smooth and shiny.

Figs 89–96. Spalangia chontalensis Cameron. 89 & 90, propodeum and petiole, dorsal view: 89, ♀, 90, ♁; 91, ♀ antenna; 92 & 93, scape: 92, inner view, 93, outer view; 94, ♁ antenna; 95 & 96, ♁ scape: 95, inner view, 96, outer view.

Male. Length = 1.9–4.1 mm. Antenna (Fig. 94) with scape about 6x as long as wide, the sculpture similar to female though sometimes finer (Figs 95, 96); pedicel about 1.3–1.8x as long as wide; flagellum with setae much shorter than width of segment; funicle with fu 1 about 2.1–3.4x as long as wide and 1.5–2.7x as long pedicel, and subsequent funicular segments at least oblong and usually distinctly (up to about 2x) longer than wide. Otherwise similar to female except as follows. Tibiae sometimes extensively or completely yellowish and tarsus sometimes completely yellow except for arolium. Head in anterior view about as wide as high; in lateral view (Fig. 82) with malar space about 0.4–0.5x eye height and about 0.6–0.7x eye width. Fore wings more often with distinct yellowish tinge and always conspicuously setose behind submarginal vein. Petiole (Fig. 90) about 3.4–4.3x as long as medial width.

Material examined. Neotropical (430 specimens in AEIC, AMNH, BMNH, CASC, CNC, EMEC, INBIO, MCZH, MZCR, OSAC, TAMU, UCRC, UNAL, USNM). Complete collection records are not provided; none with host data.

Distribution. South of USA (Fig. 97) from Mexico throughout Central America ( Belize, Costa Rica , El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama,), West Indies ( Dominica, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Trinidad, Tobago) and South America ( Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela). Additional unconfirmed records based on Noyes (2003) and De Santis (1979) include Grenada, Puerto Rico, Chile, and Peru.

Biology. De Santis (1979) reported Muscidae and Tachinidae as hosts presumably based on reared specimens he identified using Bouček (1963). I have seen only two reared males (USNM) from unidentified dipteran puparia. The variation in size of specimens of S. chontalensis suggests a wide host range including different species of flies of greatly different sizes.

Recognition. I include S. chontalensis as one of six species in the nigra species group as discussed under S. nigra . Individuals of S. chontalensis uniquely have their longitudinally carinate petiole covered with minute pore-like punctures (Figs 89, 90), though this is not always obvious in smaller individuals. The other five species of the group have a longitudinally carinate-strigose petiole that is quite smooth and shiny or has transverse ridges or reticulate-rugose sculpture between the longitudinal carinae. Spalangia chontalensis could be mistaken for S. nigroaenea because the petiolar difference is not always conspicuous and the two species have a similar pronotal sculpture. Both species have a vertical carina or ridge anterolaterally on the pronotal collar that extends dorsally and across the collar so as to segregate an anteriorly faced, mostly smooth and shiny vertical surface of the collar above the neck (Figs 84, 351). Development of the transverse margin across the collar is usually different in specimens of similar size of the two species. The margin is usually higher and more distinctly undulating as well as often posteriorly curved (Fig. 86) and/or crest- or tooth-like paramedially (Fig. 83) in S. chontalensis as compared to a lower, usually more uniform, more or less ∧-like margin (Fig. 350) in S. nigroaenea . However, smaller individuals of S. chontalensis usually are less coarsely sculptured than larger individuals and may have the transverse carina less developed as well as obscure pores on the petiole. Such individuals are distinguished by their more or less triangular to oval episternal scrobe (Figs 87, 88) as compared to a lunate episternal scrobe that usually is quite obviously differentiated into a horizontal anterior portion and a more vertically directed posterior portion (Fig. 354) in S. nigroaenea . Additional, but variable, differential features for S. chontalensis compared to S. nigroaenea include often much more conspicuously setose fore wings and sometimes extensively yellowish tibiae in males, and in both sexes a propodeum with the anterior-most cell of the paramedian crenulate furrows conspicuously wider and larger than the more posterior cells. This propodeal sculpture pattern (Figs 89, 90) resembles that of S. cameroni -group species (e.g. Figs 70, 71) and because males of S. chontalensis have quite a long petiole they could be mistaken for those of S. longepetiolata if the petiolar setae are not observed (cf. Figs 90, 278).

As discussed by Bouček (1963), the original description of the antenna for S. bakeri Kieffer (scape equal in length to two subsequent segments, pedicel not longer than wide, fu 3 –fu 6 twice as long as wide) shows that the type specimen was a male rather than the stated female. Bouček (1963) further suggested that S. bakeri might be a junior synonym of S. chontalensis based on described pronotal sculpture (punctured along sides and anterior margin) and comparatively long petiole (3–4x as long as wide). Pronotal sculpture indicates that the species is either a cameroni - or nigra -group species. Although the petiole was not described as being setose, males of S. cameroni , the only likely cameroni -group species to have been captured, have oblong flagellar segments (at most about 1.5x as long as wide), a petiole that is less than 3x as long as wide, and they do not have the tibiae obviously yellow apically. The original description of S. bakeri states that the tibiae are yellow apically and although it is stated that the wings are “barely tinted”, at least there was enough color to observe. Males of S. chontalensis not only have flagellar segments up to about twice as long as wide and a petiole at least three times as long as wide, but the tibiae are variably extensively yellow apically and the wings are often distinctly tinted. For these reasons, I concur with Bouček (1963) that among possible species the description of S. bakeri Kieffer best fits S. chontalensis Cameron and therefore formally synonymize the names.

Fig. 97. Distribution of Spalangia chontalensis Cameron.


American Entomological Institute


American Museum of Natural History


University of California, Riverside


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History














Spalangia chontalensis Cameron, 1884

Gibson, Gary A. P. 2009

Spalangia brasiliensis

Burks, B. D. 1969: 2
Ashmead, W. H. 1904: 502

Spalangia chontalensis

Cameron, P. 1884: 110
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