Archaeoteleia novaezealandiae Masner

Early, J. W., Masner, L. & Johnson, N. F., 2007, Revision of Archaeoteleia Masner (Hymenoptera: Platygastroidea, Scelionidae)., Zootaxa 1655, pp. 1-48: 15-18

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Archaeoteleia novaezealandiae Masner


Archaeoteleia novaezealandiae Masner  HNS  Figures 16-19

Archaeoteleia novaezealandiae Masner  HNS  1968: 654. Original description.

Description: Female. Length 4.5-5.0 mm. Color variable, usually yellow brown; head yellow brown, antennae yellow to orange brown basally, darkening somewhat apically; coxae, pronotum and upper part of mesopleuron yellowish to greenish brown; lateral pronotum immediately above fore coxa, lower mesepisternum and lower half of metapleuron dark brown; mesoscutum and scutellum usually dark brown, sometimes faded to fulvous, notaulus always paler than background color; propodeum and metasoma pale yellow brown to chestnut, horn on T1 always darker than rest of metasoma.

Head (Figs. 17-19): vertex, temples and upper frons densely punctate, punctures bearing short, fine, semi-appressed setae; occipital carina complete, crenulate throughout its length, sculpture denser and finer medially than in genal region; striation of cheeks and face below toruli moderate to strong, extending half way up inner orbits; posterior gena with moderately dense, short, fine, semi-appressed setae; clypeus strongly striate, with long erect setae; frons with weak swelling by inner orbits at about half eye height and upper limit of striae, giving head a browed appearance in dorsal view; A1 4.6-5.8 times longer than wide; A2 elongate, 3.1-3.6 times longer than wide; A3 3.2-3.7 times longer than A2; flagellum with moderately dense erect setae as long as A3 width so as to appear bristly; claval formula A5-A12/1-2-2-2-2-2-2-1.

Mesosoma (Figs. 18-19): dorsal pronotum with transverse pronotal carina almost straight, its anterolateral corners raised, sharp and well defined; width between epomial corners 0.6 times mesoscutum width; horizontal epomial carina close to mesoscutum, and shoulders narrow, maximum width about 0.5 times tegula width; vertical epomial carina present, fine; lateral pronotum smooth, glabrous, anterior margin coarsely crenulate from base of vertical epomial carina to fore coxa; mesonotum entirely covered with dense setose punctures; admedian lines varying from distinct, smooth, broadly V- or U-shaped welts, 1.2-1.3 times longer than maximum distance between posterior ends, to admedian lines indistinct and obliterated by sculpture; notaulus crenulate, usually complete, becoming weaker anteriorly, ending behind epomial corners; parapsidal line indicated by weak sulcus or absent; scutellum strongly bilobate; scutellar spines distinct, short, sometimes weakly curved or hooked; mesopleural carina complete, smooth and shining above; mesepisternum below mesopleural carina with longitudinal rugulae, becoming finely coriaceous with sparse setigerous punctures; metapleuron setose, anterior margin crenate, lower half areolate-rugose, upper half with fine setigerous punctures, without glabrous area; medial excavation of propodeum smooth; medial carinae not raised or tooth-like in profile; fore wing slightly infuscated, with dark brown cloud of pigmentation under under marginal vein between bulla and stigmal vein; stigmal vein straight or only very weakly arched and curved basad; cubitalis obscured by cloud of pigmentation; postmarginal vein 2.8-3.3 times longer than marginal vein, quickly becoming indistinct.

Metasoma (Figs. 16, 19) 3.6-3.9 times longer than wide; T1-5 distinctly wider than long, horn raised to level of mesoscutum; T6 2.5-2.9 times longer than wide; all tergites coriarious with superimposed longitudinal sculpture of variable length and extent; T1 with costae well impressed from anterior corners posteriorly around base of horn and usually distinct throughout rest of tergite, horn coriarious basally, becoming smooth and shiny apically; T2-5 always with anterior margin strongly costate, costae often strong and complete, sometimes weak to almost absent and indicated by rugulae, always weaker medially than laterally; T6 coriarious to longitudinally rugulose, anterior margin never costate; anterior lens-shaped area of S2 sometimes prominent but always rounded in profile, never angular or toothlike.

Male. Differs from female as follows: Length 3.5-4.4 mm; A1 4.0-5.1 times longer than wide; A2 1.7- 2.4 times longer than wide; A3 4.6-5.0 times longer than A2; A4 and A5 (rarely A5 only) with small carina in basal 0.2-0.3; A3-A12 cylindrical, elongate, becoming progressively shorter.

Metapleuron with small glabrous area medially; dorsal propodeum completely areolate-rugose, not excavated medially but sometimes with trace of two median longitudinal carinulae not prominent in profile.

Metasoma 3.2-3.5 times longer than wide; T1 with anterior margin not distinctly raised in profile, with semicircular depression anteriorly as though skirting posterior margin of horn base, strongly costate throughout; T2-5 sculptured as for female.

Diagnosis: Recognized by the following combination of characters: clypeus with sharply angulate anterolateral corners; epomial corners prominent and strongly angulate; transverse pronotal carina between epomial corners straight, not curved around anterior margin of mesoscutum; scutellum bilobed, posterior corners armed with short spine, dark and concolorous with mesoscutum; fore wing with pigment cloud under marginal vein; male sex segments A4+5.

Distribution: This species is restricted to the South Island of New Zealand from the Nelson area in the north, and down the west coast from Karamea to Franz Josef. At the type locality (NN, Roding Valley) it is sympatric with A. onamata  HNS  n.sp. and A. gilbertae  HNS  n.sp.

Link to Distribution Map. [ _page?page_level=3&page_id=taxon_page_data&page_version=4041&page_option1=M]

Biology: Archaeoteleia novaezealandiae  HNS  is a solitary egg parasitoid of an undescribed species of cave weta, Gymnoplectron  sp. One specimen was reared from a collection of five eggs found in the damp, friable sand and clay on the floor near the mouth of a limestone cave (Ananui Cave, Nile River, BR). Recognizable fragments were also found in old parasitized eggs of the same Gymnoplectron  sp. in an abandoned mining tunnel (Woods Creek, near Greymouth, BR), where live specimens have been found on the walls. In these tunnels, the weta hosts deposit eggs singly, 3-15 mm deep, in a similar substrate on the floor or small ledges where sufficient (at least 20 mm depth) substrate accumulates. Because of a shortage of suitable areas for oviposition, these sites are apparently used repeatedly by numerous females. Sometimes it is possible to see holes left when the weta's ovipositor is withdrawn, but these may not persist for long due to the substrate's friability. While they do, eggs may be more vulnerable to parasitism by A. novaezealandiae  HNS  .

Archaeoteleia novaezealandiae  HNS  is not an obligate cave dweller and probably only enters caves when searching for hosts. It can also be collected by sweeping low vegetation in the forest in suitable areas. The Gymnoplectron  species from which it was reared is also a facultative cave dweller and free living populations are known (P.M. Johns, pers. comm.).

Archaeoteleia novaezealandiae  HNS  probably parasitizes several species of Macropathinae  because its distribution extends further south than that of the known host species. Other Gymnoplectron  spp known from those places (P.M. Johns, pers. comm.) are presumed to be its hosts.

Material Examined: Holotype female: NEW ZEALAND: NN, Roding Valley, limestone cave , 6.VIII.1960, E.W. Valentine. Deposited in NZAC. 

Paratypes: 10 males, 5 females with same locality data as holotype, OSUC 146572, 163602-163609, 203619, 203620 ( NZAC, CNCI). 

Other material: NEW ZEALAND: BR, Ananui Cave, Nile R. , 3.IV.1983, J.W. Early, weta egg in mud on cave floor, wasp emerged 8-, female, OSUC 163596 ( LUNZ)  ; BR, Ananui Cave, Nile R. , 3.iv.1983, J.W. Early, R.M. Emberson, found dead on cave floor, male, 3 females, OSUC 163590, 163593, 163594, 163600 ( LUNZ)  ; BR, Dunganville, Woods Ck Track, 150 m , 24.IV.1984, J.W. Early, wall of abandoned mining tunnel , 2 males, OSUC 163592, 163595 ( LUNZ)  ; BR, Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes NP , 19.XII.1983, L. Masner, screen sweeping, male, OSUC 146574 ( CNCI)  ; NN, Nelson , 18.V.1924, E.S. Gourlay, male, OSUC 163610 ( NZAC)  ; NN, Oparara Arch Tk, 210 m , 3.IV.1988, J.W. Early, M.L. Barrell, swept in podocarp- Nothofagus forest , 2 males, OSUC 163597, 163599 ( LUNZ)  ; NN, Oparara R. x creek, NW Nelson For. Park , 8- 9.II.1995, B.J. Sinclair, male, OSUC 146576 ( CNCI)  ; WD, L. Kaniere, 140 m , 30.XII.1983, J.W. Early, swept in kamahi forest , male, OSUC 163591 ( LUNZ)  ; WD, Westland NP, Franz Josef, 210 m , 2.I.1984, J.W. Early, swept in podocarp-broadleaf forest , male, OSUC 163601 ( LUNZ)  ; WD, the Metro of Nile River Cave , 1.IX.1971, R.M. Emberson, female, OSUC 146573 ( CNCI)  .

Remarks: Much of the color variation is due to fading. The pale areas (neck, collar, upper half of lateral pronotum and mesopleuron, notauli, coxae) of live specimens are greenish. This fades to pale yellowish brown, often within a year after death. Similarly, the dark brown dorsal mesosoma and metasoma often become chestnut to orange brown.


New Zealand, Auckland, Landcare Research, New Zealand Arthropod Collection


Canada, Ontario, Ottawa, Canadian National Collection of Insects


New Zealand, Lincoln, Lincoln University