Aratricerca Gustafsson & Bush

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: 108-109

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Aratricerca Gustafsson & Bush

new genus

Aratricerca Gustafsson & Bush  , new genus

Type species. Aratricerca cirithra  new species

Diagnosis. Aratricerca  n. gen. ( Figs 168–174View FIGURES 168 – 169View FIGURES 170 – 174) is most similar to Turdinirmoides  n. gen. ( Figs 175–181View FIGURES 175 – 176View FIGURES 177 – 181), with which is shares the following characters: marginal carina interrupted only submedianly; dorsal preantennal suture reaches dsms, ads, and lateral margin of head, but does not cut off dorsal anterior plate from main head plate and does not interrupt marginal carina entirely laterally; pos and pns absent; females with ss on segments II –VIII; male subgenital plate divided into sternal plate VIII and subgenital plate; male sternal plate VII with setae on posterior margin; female subgenital plate does not reach vulval margin; mesosome with distinct distal thickenings; gonopore as parallel thickenings, open distally and proximally.

These genera, however, are distinguished by the following characters: in Turdinirmoides  fII-v2 and fIII-v2 are absent ( Figs 175–176View FIGURES 175 – 176), whereas these are present in Aratricerca  ( Figs 168–169View FIGURES 168 – 169). Male subgenital plate reaches terminal margin of abdomen in Turdinirmoides  ( Fig. 175View FIGURES 175 – 176), and segment XI is not extended into a triangular tail in this genus; in male Aratricerca  ( Fig. 168View FIGURES 168 – 169) segment XI is extended into a tail, and the subgenital plate does not reach the distal margin of this. Female tergopleurite IX+X is fused to tergopleurite XI in Turdinirmoides  ( Fig. 176View FIGURES 175 – 176), but not in Aratricerca  ( Fig. 169View FIGURES 168 – 169). The vulval margin in Turdinirmoides  ( Fig. 181View FIGURES 177 – 181) is sclerotized into a detached crosspiece, whereas Aratricerca  ( Fig. 174View FIGURES 170 – 174) has no cross-piece, and the subgenital plate approaches the vulval margin. The pterothorax of Turdinirmoides  ( Figs 175–176View FIGURES 175 – 176) is conventional for the Brueelia  -complex, being roughly pentagonal with the mms arranged along the posterior margin, whereas in Aratricerca  ( Figs 168–169View FIGURES 168 – 169) the pterothorax has roughly parallel lateral margins, and all mms clustered near the postero-lateral corners. The distinct marginal thickenings of the sternal plates found in Aratricerca  ( Figs 168–169View FIGURES 168 – 169) are absent in Turdinirmoides  ( Figs 175–176View FIGURES 175 – 176). Some tps  are present in male Turdinirmoides  ( Table 2, Fig. 175View FIGURES 175 – 176), clustered near the ss, but in Aratricerca  ( Fig. 168View FIGURES 168 – 169) these are absent.

Description. Both sexes. Head trapezoidal ( Fig. 170View FIGURES 170 – 174). Marginal carina interrupted submedianly. Dorsal preantennal suture arising from interruptions reaching ads and dsms, not separating dorsal anterior plate from main head plate medianly; laterally suture reaches margin of head lateral to dsms but does not interrupt marginal carina entirely. Displaced section at osculum only visible as slight ridge near lateral margins of dorsal anterior plate. Ventral carinae with finger-like median protrusion; carinae clearly delimited anterior to pulvinus but not continuous with marginal carina. Ventral anterior plate present. Head setae as in Fig. 170View FIGURES 170 – 174; avs2–3 of similar length; pos and pns absent. Coni small. Antennae monomorphic. Temporal carinae not visible; mts  3 only macrosetae. Gular plate roughly triangular.

Prothorax rectangular ( Figs 168–169View FIGURES 168 – 169); ppss on postero-lateral corner. Proepimera hammer-shaped medianly. Pterothorax pentagonal; lateral margins parallel or subparallel and posterior margin convergent to median point ( Figs 168–169View FIGURES 168 – 169). Meso- and metasterna not fused, nude. Metepisterna hammer-shaped medianly. Pteronotal chaetotaxy distinct, with mms clustered sublaterally and ptrs and pths on lateral margin of pterothorax. Leg chaetotaxy as in Fig. 25View FIGURES 25, except fI-p2, fI-v4 absent.

Abdomen cigar-shaped ( Figs 168–169View FIGURES 168 – 169). Abdominal chaetotaxy as in Table 2 and Figs 123–124View FIGURES 122 – 123View FIGURES 124 – 129; ss of female segments VII –VIII very short. Terminal end of abdomen extended into triangular tail in male, moderately divided in female. Tergopleurites II –IX+X in male and tergopleurites II –VIII in females narrowly divided medianly, square-shaped. Female tergopleurite IX+X not fused to tergopleurite XI, at least partially divided medianly. Female tergopleurite IX+X with hook-shaped antero-lateral corner. Sternal plates slender, narrower than long; sternal plate II of both sexes and sternal plate III of female with thickened anterior and lateral margins. Pleural incrassations slender. Re-entrant heads moderate to large. Male subgenital plate divided into sternal plate VII and diffuse distal section, which seemingly does not reach distal margin of abdomen. Male sternal plate VII with setae on posterior margin. Female subgenital plate approaches vulval margin, distal vos on posterior margin ( Fig. 174View FIGURES 170 – 174).

Male genitalia as in Fig. 171–173View FIGURES 170 – 174. Proximal mesosome ( Fig. 172View FIGURES 170 – 174) rounded, with sinuous lateral margins. Gonopore as convergent thickenings, open distally and proximally. Mesosomal lobes rounded, with carina at halflength. Parameral heads blunt. Parameral blades lobe-like; pst1 sensillus positioned centrally on distal paramere; pst2 absent or too small to see. 

Host distribution. Presently only known from the Meliphagidae  . However, undescribed species have a much broader host distribution, including Acanthizidae  , Bernieridae  , Paramythiidae  , and Zosteropidae  (unpub. data).

Geographical range. Presently known only from New Guinea, but undescribed species are available from Madagascar, mainland Africa, and elsewhere.

Etymology. Aratricerca  is formed by Latin “ aratrum ” for “plough”, referring to the ploughbill-like thickenings of the anterior and lateral margins of sternal plate II, and Greek “ kerkos ” for “tail”, referring to the distal extension of the abdomen in males ( Figs 168–169View FIGURES 168 – 169). Gender: feminine.

Remarks. One undescribed species of Aratricerca  from Randia pseudozosterops Delacour & Berlioz, 1931  was included in the phylogeny of Bush et al. (2016), where it was placed as a sister to Resartor  n. gen. The lack of pos and pns, as well as this genetic similarity, suggests that Resartor, Aratricerca, Ceratocista  n. gen., and Turdinirmoides  n. gen. may be closely related. However, this conclusion may, be premature, as few species are currently known from each of these genera.

Included species

* Aratricerca cirithra  new species