Zelus erythrocephalus Fabricius, 1803

Zhang, Guanyang, Hart, Elwood R & Weirauch, Christiane, 2016, A taxonomic monograph of the assassin bug genus Zelus Fabricius (Hemiptera: Reduviidae): 71 species based on 10,000 specimens, Biodiversity Data Journal 4, pp. 8150-8150 : 8150

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Zelus erythrocephalus Fabricius, 1803


Zelus erythrocephalus Fabricius, 1803 View in CoL

Zelus erythrocephalus Fabricius, 1803, p. 283, orig. descr.; Blanchard, 1840, p. 101, cat. (erytrocephalus sic.); Stål, 1872, p. 92, cat. (subgenus Diplodus ); Bergroth, 1893, p. 63, note; Lethierry and Severin, 1896, p. 152, cat.; Champion, 1898, p. 257, note; Brindley, 1931, p. 137, 151, list and note; Wygodzinsky, 1949a, p. 49, checklist; Zimsen, 1964, p. 338, list; Maldonado, 1990, p. 327, cat.

Euagoras erythrocephalus : Burmeister, 1835, p. 227, list.

Diplodus erythrocephalus : Stål, 1868, p. 283, descr.; Walker, 1873, p. 125, cat.; Van Duzee, 1901, p. 351, note.


Type status: Lectotype. Occurrence: catalogNumber: UCR_ENT 00075109 ; occurrenceRemarks: Lectotype of Zeluserythrocephalus Fabricius, 1803 (New Designation by Zhang, Hart & Weirauch, 2016). Bears labels: Type /Zeluserythrocephalus in Am. mer. Schmidt; recordedBy: Dom. Smidt; sex: Adult Male; Taxon: scientificName: Zeluserythrocephalus; family: Reduviidae; genus: Zelus; scientificNameAuthorship: Fabricius, 1803; Location: country: unknown; stateProvince: unknown; locality: Habitat in America meridionali ; Identification: identifiedBy: G. Zhang; dateIdentified: 2012; Event: eventDate: No date provided; Record Level: institutionCode: ZMUC


Figs 68, 69, 70

Male: (Fig. 68a, b) Medium-sized, total length 12.07-12.77 mm (mean 12.49 mm, Suppl. material 2); slender. COLORATION: Head reddish-brown, anterior to antennal insertion and posterior third of postocular lobe lighter. Rest of surface of body nearly uniformly blackish-brown; area around humeral angle lighter, somewhat reddish. Membrane with blue, purple iridescence. VESTITURE: Moderately setose. Dark, moderately dense, short, erect, spine-like setae on dorsum of head, curved on postocular lobe; ventral surface with sparse, short, erect and recumbent setae, few long setae. Pronotal dorsum nearly glabrous, very sparse, short, erect, spine-like setae; lateral surface with sparse, erect to recumbent, spine-like setae; setal tracts on anterior lobe very reduced. Pleura with very sparse, spine-like setae and recumbent setae. Corium and clavus with sparse, short, recumbent setae. Abdomen with sparse, short, erect setae, intermixed with few long setae. Pygophore with sparse, short to long, semi-erect setae. Paramere apical 1/2 with dense, long setae, nearly as long as medial process. STRUCTURE: Head: Cylindrical, L/W = 2.29. Postocular lobe long; in dorsal view distinctly narrowing through anterior 2/3, posterior 1/3 constant, tube-like. Eye prominent; lateral margin much wider than postocular lobe; dorsal margin removed from postocular transverse groove, ventral margin attaining ventral surface of head. Labium: I: II: III = 1: 2.0: 0.4. Basiflagellomere diameter larger than that of pedicel. Thorax: Anterolateral angle bearing small projection; medial longitudinal sulcus shallow near collar, deepening posteriorly. Posterior pronotal lobe with rugulose surface; disc distinctly elevated above humeral angle; humeral angle armed, with dentate projection. Scutellum moderately long; apex angulate, very slightly projected upward. Legs: Very slender. Hemelytron: Surpassing apex of abdomen by about length of abdominal segment seven; quadrate cell small, relatively broad; Cu and M of cubital cell subparallel. GENITALIA: (Fig. 69) Pygophore: Ovoid; mid-lateral fold adjacent to paramere insertion inconspicuous; not expanded laterally in dorsal view. Medial process cylindrical; very slender; long; erect; straight; apex in posterior view acute, with subapical hooklike lateral processes. Paramere: Cylindrical; long, surpassing medial process; curved ventrad at mid-point, apex recurved. Phallus: Dorsal phallothecal sclerite shield-shaped, sclerite absent laterad to basal arms; lateral longitudinal blade-like heavy sclerotization, elevated, surpassing apical margins; apical portion of phallothecal sclerite not distinctly tapered, flat, lateral margin narrowly angulate, angulation ending anteriorly in sharp, dorsad projection; apex with small medial emargination; posterior margin of foramen broadly concave. Struts attached to dorsal phallothecal sclerite; apically separate, connected by bridge; basally fused. Basal plate arm robust; basally fused; in lateral view strongly curved at midpoint; bridge extremely short; extension of basal plate expanded onto arm.

Female: (Fig. 68c, d) Similar to male, except for the following. Larger than male, total length 16.85-19.06 mm (mean 17.92 mm, Suppl. material 2). Spinous process on humeral angle long.


Recognized by the following combination of characters: the dorsal coloration nearly uniformly dark brown, the head reddish-brown, and the membrane with indistinct iridescence. Most similar to Z. paracephalus and Z. russulumus ; can be distinguished from both by the rather slender medial process. Females of Z. erythrocephalus , Z. paracephalus and Z. russulumus are difficult to separate.


South America (Fig. 70). Countries with records: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname.

Taxon discussion

Zelus erythrocephalus and two other species in the same species group, Z. paracephalus and Z. russulumus superficially resemble Z. panamensis , a species in a different group. All have a orange, reddish head and a uniformly dark dorsum. These can be separated from Z. panamensis based on male genitalia and iridescence on membrane.