Motmotnirmus Mey & Barker, 2014

Bush, Sarah E., 2017, Morphological revision of the hyperdiverse Brueelia - complex (Insecta: Phthiraptera: Ischnocera: Philopteridae) with new taxa, checklists and generic key, Zootaxa 4313 (1), pp. 1-443: 300-301

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Motmotnirmus Mey & Barker, 2014


Motmotnirmus Mey & Barker, 2014 

Nirmus Nitzsch, 1818: 291  (in partim).

Degeeriella Neumann, 1906: 60  (in partim). Brueelia Kéler, 1936a: 257  (in partim).

“ Momotiella” Eichler, 1946 nomen nudum. Motmotnirmus Mey & Barker, 2014: 94  .

Type species. Nirmus marginellus Nitzsch  [in Giebel], 1866: 368, by original designation.

Diagnosis. Motmotnirmus  was placed, with strong support, as sister to Meropoecus  in the phylogeny of Bush et al. (2016). In both Motmotnirmus  ( Fig. 504View FIGURES 504 – 508) and Meropoecus  ( Figs 494View FIGURES 494 – 496, 499View FIGURES 499 – 501), mts  2 is longer than mts  1, but Motmotnirmus  and Meropoecus  are otherwise not very similar. In Meropoecus  ( Figs 496View FIGURES 494 – 496, 501View FIGURES 499 – 501) the female subgenital plate has broad lateral submarginal extensions, and the vss and vms are mixed and do not form separate sets, whereas in Motmotnirmus  ( Fig. 508View FIGURES 504 – 508) there are no lateral submarginal extensions, and the vss and vms form separate sets. The male genitalia of Motmotnirmus  ( Figs 505–507View FIGURES 504 – 508) are more similar to those of Brueelia  s. str. ( Figs 45–47View FIGURES 44 – 48) than to those of Meropoecus  ( Figs 495View FIGURES 494 – 496, 500View FIGURES 499 – 501). The placement of Motmotnirmus  near Meropoecus  in the phylogeny of Bush et al. (2016) is inconsistent with morphological characters, and warrants further investigation.

Description. Both sexes. Head rounded pentagonal ( Fig. 504View FIGURES 504 – 508). Marginal carina narrowly interrupted only dorsally, deeply displaced at clypeo-labral suture. The displaced section of the marginal carina is roughly Ushaped. Dark but diffuse arch often present anterior to displaced section of marginal carina. Ventral carinae almost reach anterior end of head, but not continuous with the marginal carina. Dorsal preantennal suture very slender, interrupting marginal carina only dorsally, and only reaching dsms; in older material this suture is often hard to see. Ventral anterior plate absent. Head setae as in Fig. 504View FIGURES 504 – 508; pns absent. Preantennal nodi large. Coni small, conical. Antennae monomorphic. Temporal carinae not visible; mts  2–3 both macrosetae. Gular plate spade-shaped.

Prothorax rectangular ( Figs 502–503View FIGURES 502 – 503); ppss on postero-lateral corners. Proepimera broad; median ends hammer-shaped. Pterothorax pentagonal; lateral margins widely divergent, bulging slightly at postero-lateral corners; posterior margin vaguely convergent to rounded median point, which is more obvious in females than in males; mms narrowly separated medianly. Metepisterna associated with large lateral nodi; median ends blunt. Meso- and metasterna not fused, the former with 1 seta on each side, and the latter with 2 setae on each side. Leg chaetotaxy as in Fig. 25View FIGURES 25 except fI-p2–4, fI-v4, fII-v2, fIII-v2 absent.

Abdomen oval ( Figs 502–503View FIGURES 502 – 503), weakly pigmented. Tergopleurites rectangular; tergopleurites II –IX+X in male and tergopleurites II –VIII in female narrowly divided medianly. Sternal plates absent, but ventral tegument with reticulations. Pleural incrassations large. Ventral section of tergo-pleurites wide. Re-entrant heads large, blunt. Male subgenital plate trapezoidal, reaching posterior margin of abdomen. Female abdominal plate roughly triangular, reaching vulval margin but does not flare into cross-piece ( Fig. 508View FIGURES 504 – 508). Abdominal chaetotaxy as in Table 2. Vulval margin ( Fig. 508View FIGURES 504 – 508) with short, slender vms, thorn-like vss; vos follow lateral margins of subgenital plate; distal vos situated on plate, median to vss. 

Basal apodeme ( Fig. 505View FIGURES 504 – 508) long, rectangular. Proximal mesosome half-oval, overlapping basal apodeme. Gonopore ( Fig. 506View FIGURES 504 – 508) narrowly open distally. Mesosomal lobes relatively small, rugose, thickened distally; 2 pmes sensilla on each side postero-lateral to gonopore. Parameral heads ( Fig. 507View FIGURES 504 – 508) bifid. Parameral blades wide, roughly triangular; pst1 sensilla, central; pst2 microsetae, central to submarginal on lateral margin of parameres.

Host distribution. Species of Motmotnirmus  are limited to members of the family Momotidae  , where they are known from the genera Momotus Brisson, 1760  and Baryphthengus Cabanis & Heine, 1859  . Motmotnirmus guatemalensis ( Dalgleish, 1971)  was described from a single pair of lice collected from Campephilus guatemalensis (Hartlaub, 1844)  , a woodpecker ( Piciformes  ), but it is possible that they were contaminants or stragglers.

Geographical range. Neotropics.

Remarks. Motmotnirmus Mey & Barker, 2014  was erected for the Brueelia  s. lat. parasitising species of Momotidae  . In the phylogeny of Bush et al. (2016), Motmotnirmus  was placed as sister to Meropoecus  but, morphologically, it does not appear to be particularly close to Meropoecus  . Both of these genera parasitise birds in the order Coraciiformes  , but the host family Momotidae  is not closely related to the Meropidae  (Espinosa de los Monteros 1999), the host family parasitised by Meropoecus  .

All species of Motmotnirmus  are very similar, especially the females. Nevertheless, there are small, consistent differences among material collected from different host-species, suggesting that there may be many undescribed species in this genus. Molecular data will be particularly helpful in determining whether Motmotnirmus  lice infesting multiple host species exhibit intraspecific variation, or they are distinct species.

Included species

* Motmotnirmus guatemalensis ( Dalgleish, 1971: 140)  [in Brueelia  ] [1] * Motmotnirmus humphreyi ( Oniki & Emerson, 1982: 263)  [in Brueelia  ] * Motmotnirmus marginellus  (Nitzsch [in Giebel], 1866: 368) [in Nirmus  ] [2] * Motmotnirmus xilitla ( Carriker, 1954: 200)  [in Brueelia  ] [3]

[1] The male genitalia and other characters of this species are very similar to those of Mt. marginellus  , and it seems likely that Dalgleish's specimens were contaminants or stragglers. Mey & Barker (2014) suggested that Mt. guatemalensis  may be a synonym of Mt. marginellus  ; however, these two species differ in abdominal chaetotaxy (male Mt. marginellus  do not have tps  on tergopleurite VI, whereas Mt. guatemalensis  have tps  on this segment). We recognise both species as valid until additional material from the type hosts can be studied to establish their correct status.

[2] Eichler (1952) tentatively included Mt. marginellus  in his new genus Allobrueelia  , but no justification was provided for that placement. We here place the genus Allobrueelia  as a junior synonym of Guimaraesiella (see above). Morphologically, Mt. marginellus  is only superficially similar to Guimaraesiella, but genetically is very distantly related to Guimaraesiella (Bush et al. 2016, specimen 138).

[3] Oniki & Emerson (1982) considered Br. marginella xilitla  a synonym of Br. marginella  , but Price et al. (2003) considered it a separate species. Mey & Barker (2014) noted this discrepancy, but retained Mt. xilitla  as a separate species, without further comment. We follow Price et al. (2003) in regarding it as a dictinct species.












Motmotnirmus Mey & Barker, 2014

Bush, Sarah E. 2017

Motmotnirmus guatemalensis (

Oniki 1982: 263
Dalgleish 1971: 140
Carriker 1954: 200
Giebel 1866: 368


Nitzsch 1818: 291


Keler 1936: 257
Neumann 1906: 60