Microplitis juanmanueli Fernandez-Triana

Fernandez-Triana, Jose, 2018, Ten unique and charismatic new species of Microgastrinae wasps (Hymenoptera, Braconidae) from North America, ZooKeys 730, pp. 123-150: 139-141

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Microplitis juanmanueli Fernandez-Triana

sp. n.

Microplitis juanmanueli Fernandez-Triana  sp. n. Figs 8


Female, CNC, UNITED STATES. Holotype locality: Doolittle Ranch, Mount Evans, 2987m, Colorado, USA.

Holotype labels.

First label: Doolittle Ranch/9800' Mt Evans,/COLO. 3-VIII/S. M. Clark '61. Second label: CNC497179.


3 ♀, 2♂ ( CNC). USA, CO, Echo Lake, Mount Evans, 2,926-3,231m. Other material examined. 1 ♀ ( CNC). Canada, BC, Atlin. Voucher codes: CNC281008, CNC281009, CNC281011, CNC281019, CNC841840, CNC841841.


The extremely long metasoma of female (longer than the combined length of head and mesosoma) is unlike any other known Microplitis  . That character, altogether with the very elongated hypopygium (which is almost twice as long as the last tergite, and considerably projects beyond it), the distinctive shape and sculpture of the ovipositor sheaths, and the elongated mouth parts, allow to unequivocally recognize the species.


Body dark brown to black, legs mostly orange-yellow (except for coxae, anterior 0.1-0.2 of femora and metatarsus which are dark brown to black). Wings hyaline, with most veins dark brown but some veins on anterior half of wings (e.g., M+Cu and 1A) yellowish. Head and mesosoma extensively and coarsely sculptured, metasoma mostly smooth (except for strongly sculptured T1) and with very few setae on tergites. Hypopygium with relatively deep but sparse punctures. Ovipositor sheaths with strong sculpture (striae and punctures) on most of its surface. Head elongate, malar line longer than mandible base; labrum not enlarged; mandibles not enlarged nor strongly curved; glossa long; clypeus and face bulging centrally. Metasoma extremely elongate, longer than combined length of head and mesosoma, and representing approximately 0.6 of entire body length. Hypopygium very elongate, projecting considerably beyond last tergum. Ovipositor sheaths widened and rounded at apex. Fore wing with vein R1 slightly shorter than pterostigma. Legs with tarsal claws pectinate. Body measurements (mm). Body L: 5.7 (5.4-6.4); fore wing L: 4.2 (4.2-4.4); metasoma L: 3.6 (3.2-3.9); hypopygium L: 1.00 (0.98-1.06) ovipositor sheaths L: 0.45 (0.42-0.52); metafemur L/W: 1.01/0.30 (0.97 –1.01/0.29– 0.31); metatibia L: 1.38 (1.28-1.34); metatibia inner/outer spurs L: 0.20/0.20 (0.19 –0.20/0.19– 0.20); first segment of metatarsus L: 0.45 (0.42-0.43); F1/2/3/14/15/16: 0.23/0.26/0.24/0.13/0.11/0.17 (0.23 –0.25/0.25–0.27/0.22–0.24/0.13/0.11–0.12/0.16– 0.17); ocular–ocellar line: 0.19 (0.18); interocellar distance: 0.16 (0.16-0.17); posterior ocellus diameter: 0.09 (0.08-0.09).

Male. As in female, but metasoma of normal proportions.


Canada, BC; United States, CO.


This truly unique and exceptional species is named after my brother Juan Manuel, as appreciation for his love and for all the experiences we have lived together over the years (including helping me to collect insects). Praying and hoping you can defeat the terrible cancer you are battling!


Because the long metasoma is only found in female specimens (also related to unique shape and sculpture of hypopygium and ovipositor sheaths), it can be argued that those features are somehow related to parasitism; however until host caterpillars are found no further speculation is possible. This is one of the largest, most distinctive and unique species of Microgastrinae  : at 6.4 mm of body length, one of the paratypes possibly represents the largest (although not the bulkiest) microgastrine wasp ever collected in North America -and indeed, even in the world very few species surpass that body length. However that size is only attained due to the disproportionately long metasoma (fore wing lengths, at 4.2-4.4 mm, are similar to that of large species of Microplitis  and many other genera of Microgastrinae  ; as it is the rest of the wasp body). Beyond length, the species is also notable because of the shape and sculpture of hypopygium and ovipositor sheaths, head (with elongate mouth parts and clypeus and face bulging centrally), and shape and sculpture of T1-T2. In spite of so many unique morphological features, we still consider this species to belong to Microplitis  , although whenever molecular data becomes available, the generic status might be revisited. The location of the female specimen from Atlin (Canada, BC) is thousands of kilometers apart from the localities of the Colorado specimens, but no morphological differences to separate them could be found. Until more is known, all are kept as one species (although the Canadian specimen is not considered as a paratype). No biological or molecular data is known for this species.