Phalacropsylla paradisea Rothschild, 1915

Acosta, Roxana & Hastriter, Michael W., 2017, A review of the flea genus Phalacropsylla Rothschild, 1915 (Siphonaptera, Ctenophthalmidae, Neopsyllinae, Phalacropsyllini) with new host and distributional records, ZooKeys 675, pp. 27-43: 28-29

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Phalacropsylla paradisea Rothschild, 1915


Phalacropsylla paradisea Rothschild, 1915 

Phalacropsylla paradisea  Rothschild, 1915: 39; Ewing & Fox, 1943: 85; Costa Lima and Hathaway, 1946: 184; Hubbard, 1947: 339-340; Jellison et al., 1953: 613; Allred, 1968: 71 (misidentified, see P. oregonensis  ); Lewis, 1974: 153; Hopkins & Rothschild, 1966: 300; Baird & Saunders, 1992: 9 (misidentified, see P. oregonensis  ); Fagerlund et al., 2001: 95; Acosta & Morrone, 2013: 334.

Phalacropsylla hamata  Tipton & Mendez, 1968: 184-187; Lewis, 1974: 153; Eads & Maupin, 1982: 96-99; Adams & Lewis, 1995: 68; Ponce-Ulloa & Llorente-Bousquets, 1996: 558; Fagerlund et al., 2001: 95; Ford et al., 2004: 23, 29, 47. Syn. n.


Males of P. paradisea  and P. nivalis  each possess a deep sinus on the ventral margin of the basimere (at least as deep as wide) that separates both from other species of Phalacropsylla  . Further separated from P. nivalis  by the presence of long modified spiniform setae on DA9 which are absent in P. nivalis  (Figs 3, 5). See diagnostic features of females for P. oregonensis  above.

Material Examined.

Mexico: Nuevo León, Cerro Potosí, 3050 m, rodent nest, 20 IV 1964, V.J. Tipton et al., P. hamata  holotype ♂ ( USNM). USA: Arizona, Apache County, Neotoma mexicana  , 13 XI 1973, W. Begay, 1♂ ( USNM). Cochise County, China Point, Dragoon Mts., Neotoma stephensi  Say and Ord nest, 1 X 1993, G.E. Haas, 1♂; China Point, Dragoon Mts., 19 VI 1994, G.E. Haas, 1♂, 1♀; Chiracahua, nr Paradise, N. albigula  nest, 23 IX 1989, G.E. Haas, 8♂, 14♀; Dragoon Mts., N. albigula  nest, 26 IX 1989, G.E. Haas, 1♂; Paradise Cemetary, Chiracahua Mts., N. albigula  nest, 19 X 1994, G.E. Haas, 1♂, 5♀ ( BYUC); Paradise, Mus  sp., XI 1912, O.C. Duffner, 1♀, R. Traub no. B-1330 ( CMNH); Paradise, Mus  sp., IX 1913, O.C. Duffner, 1♂ lectotype; Paradise, Epimys  sp. = Rattus  sp., XI 1913, O.C. Duffner, 2♀ paralectotype; Paradise, Mus  sp., 12 III 1913, O.C. Duffner, 2♂ paralectotypes; Paradise, "civit cat", 10 IX 1913, O.C. Duffner, 1♀ paralectotype (BMNH). Coconino County, Bixler Mt., N. mexicana  , 23 IX 1993, G.E. Haas, 3♂, 4♀; Williams, Neotoma  nest, 13 IX 1981, G.E. Haas, 1♂, 2♀; Ben Williams, Neotoma  nest, 20 IX 1981, G.E. Haas, 1♀; Site W-3, NNW Williams, N. stephensi  nest, 16 X 1989, G.E. Haas, 3♂, 1♀; SE Flagstaff, Neotoma  nest, 19 XII 1981, G.E. Haas, 3♂, 3♀; Haulapai, host unknown, I 1986, G.E. Haas, 3♂, 5♀ ( BYUC). Graham County, Pinaleno Mts., host unknown, 18 V 1990, G.E. Haas, 2♂, 2♀; Pinaleno Mts., vole nest, 20 X 1990, G.E. Haas, 11♂, 10♀; Shannon Park, Pinaleno Mts., N. mexicana  nest, 10 XI 1989, G.E. Haas, 1♀; Stockton Pass, Pinaleno Mts., host unknown, 22 XI 1989, G.E. Haas, 1♀; data missing except leg. G.E. Haas, Pinaleno Mts., 1♀ ( BYUC). Greenlee County, Dipodomys merriami  Mearns 16 XI 1938, 1♂, 1♀ ( CMNH), 1♂, 1♀ ( USNM). Navajo County, north of Show Low, N. albigula  nest, 30 IX 1989, G.E. Haas, 2♂, 1♀ ( BYUC). Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park, Peromyscus truei  (Shufedit), 20 X 1961, C. Douglas, 3♂, same data except 25 X 1961, 1♀, 26 X 1961, 2♂, 3♀, 24 XI 1961, 1♂, P. truei  / maniculatus  , 13 X 1961, 1♀ ( BYUC). New Mexico, Bernalillo County, N. albigula  , 20 II 1981, Curt Montman, 1♂; same data except 4 XI 1981, 1♀ ( USNM, previously identified as P. hamata  ); Catron County, Ben Lilly camp ground, Mogollon Mts., N. mexicana  nest, 23 IX 1991, G.E. Haas, 2♂, 1♀; Snow Canyon, N. mexicana  nest, 28 IX 1996, G.E. Haas, 15♂, 18♀; Bear Wallow, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus  (Erxleben) nest, 1 X 1998, G.E. Haas, 1♀ ( BYUC). Guadalupe County, 6.5 km S of Santa Rosa, N. albigula  , 9 X 1951, 1♂ ( USNM). Hi dalgo County, Peloncillo Mts., N. albigula  nest, 23 III 92, G.E. Haas, 1♀; Peloncillo Mts., N. albigula  nest, 24 III 92, G.E. Haas, 1♀; the Pass, Peloncillo Mts., N. albigula  nest, 25 III 92, G.E. Haas, 3♂, 10♀ ( BYUC). Texas, Brewster County, Big Bend National Park, 1737 m, Peromyscus pectoralis  Osgood ♂, 2 XI 1963, V. J. Tipton et al., 2♀ ( BYUC).


Tipton and Mendez (1968) described P. hamata  from one male from Cerro Potosí, Nuevo León, Mexico. Eads and Maupin (1982) described the female of P. hamata  from two specimens collected from Bernalillo County, New Mexico and considered an additional four males as P. hamata  . These were collected from Peromyscus leucopus  (Rafinesque) and N. albigula  . With the recent accession of the Glenn E. Haas flea collection (now part of the BYUC), many specimens of Phalacropsylla  were available for study from the vast areas of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. These specimens were identified as either P. hamata  or P. paradisea  . While studying this material, it was impossible to distinguish females accurately from one or the other. To date, males have been distinguished primarily by the presence of various numbers of long spiniform setae on the apico-ventral margin of the distal arm of S-IX. The diagnosis of the male of P. hamata  provided by Tipton and Mendez (1968) included: 1) A deep sinus in the caudal margin of the immovable process of the clasper (basimere), 2) four long bristles on the apical and subapical portion of basimere, 3) two hook-like spiniform setae near the apex of the distal arm of S-IX, and 4) the bifid portion of the proximal arm of S-IX as angulate. The sinus on the caudal margin of the basimere, long bristles on the apex of basimere, the number of hook-like spiniform setae present at the apex of the distal arm of S-IX, and shape of the bifid portion of proximal arm of S-IX, each proved to be quite variable within series from the same study sites and even among specimens from the same host. Based on these comparative studies, we concluded that P. hamata  is not a valid species and consider it to be a junior synonym of P. paradisea  . Phalacropsylla paradisea  is representative of the genus in the southern portion of its distribution with records ranging from central Arizona, southern Colorado, through New Mexico, Texas, and into northern Mexico. Phalacropsylla nivalis  is the only species occurring further south than P. paradisea  . Although P. allos  is the most commonly collected species of Phalacropsylla  , P. paradisea  has been collected from a much more diverse group of rodent host species (n = 10) (Table 1).

During studies on plague in the Western United States by the U.S. Army in the mid-1970s, the junior author (MWH) identified two specimens (previously unreported) of P. paradisea  that were collected on N. albigula  (one specimen among 37 hosts examined) and Peromyscus boylii  (Baird) (one from 10 hosts examined) from Fort Huachuca, Cochise County, Arizona. Although the whereabouts of these two specimens are unknown, they are documented in unpublished reports of the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency-Regional Division West, Aurora, Colorado.

In the latter years of his life, Dr. Glenn Haas concentrated his studies on the fleas in nests of small mammals, primarily the nests of Neotoma  and arboreal Tamiasciurus  . He placed the nests in breathable paper grocery bags, maintained humidity with moist paper towels, and meticulously hand-picked the emerging adult fleas over a period of weeks and months. Thus many of his mounted specimens were teneral and often not yet expanded from their recent pupal state. These “rearing” studies document the importance of species of Neotoma  , particularly N. albigula  , as the primary hosts of P. paradisea  .