Microphontes ericfisheri , Markee, Amanda & Dikow, Torsten, 2018
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Microphontes ericfisheri sp. n. Figs 6-8, 56-57, 71
The species is named after Eric M. Fisher who is one of the most knowledgeable Nearctic and Neotropical Asilidae taxonomists, present and past, to recognise his contributions to the study of assassin flies. This species was unveiled at the 9th International Congress of Dipterology (25-30 November 2018) in Windhoek, Namibia during the Asilidae symposium organised to honour a contemporary colleague, Jason Londt and entitled, "Taxonomy and phylogeny of Asilidae - honouring 40 years of Afrotropical research by Jason Londt" on 27 November 2018.
The species is distinguished from congeners by the distinctly wider than long and transversely rectangular abdominal tergites, the entirely setose postpronotal lobes and dorsal and posterior anepisternum (no macrosetae), the brown-pubescent appearing abdomen (in dorsal view), features of the male terminalia such as the long postero-median projection on the hypandrium and shape of the gonostyli and distribution in the Little Karoo in southern South Africa.
Head: wider than high, brown; vertex and compound eyes at same level; facial swelling indistinct, only lower facial margin slightly developed, silver pubescent; mystax white macrosetose, restricted to lower facial margin, short, reaching tip of proboscis; ommatidia of same size; postgena posterior margin simple, smooth; frons (at level of antennal insertion) slightly diverging laterally, grey pubescent, light brown setose; ocellar tubercle greyish-brown pubescent, light brown setose; vertex brown pubescent, yellowish to light brown macrosetose; median occipital sclerite (m ocp scl) with several yellowish macrosetose; postocular (pocl) setae slightly angled anteriorly distally, yellowish macrosetae; occiput predominantly grey pubescent, yellowish setose; compound eye posterior margin (in lateral view) straight or slightly curved throughout.
Proboscis and maxillary palpus: proboscis straight, brown; postmentum plate-like, straight, ventral margin entirely smooth, white setose ventrally; prementum circular, with dorso-median flange, asetose; labella reduced, fused to prementum only ventrally, only forming distal tip of proboscis, rounded; maxillary palpus brown, two-segmented, long yellowish setose, cylindrical; stipites fused medially, but with V-shaped indentation, apubescent, long white setose.
Antenna: light brown; scape 1.5 × as long as pedicel, short and long yellowish setose and macrosetose ventrally; pedicel short yellowish setose dorsally and long yellowish macrosetose ventrally; postpedicel and stylus broken off.
Thorax: brown, postpronotal lobes and lateral scutum orange to light brown; prosternum white pubescent, separated from proepisternum, square to rectangular in shape (straight dorsally); proepisternum white pubescent, long yellowish macrosetose; cervical sclerite long yellowish setose; antepronotum white pubescent, short yellowish setose medially, long and weakly yellowish macrosetose laterally; postpronotum white pubescent, long yellowish setose medially and sub-laterally, long and weakly yellowish macrosetose laterally; postpronotal lope long yellowish setose; pleuron white pubescent; proepimeron long yellowish setose anteriorly; anepisternum long yellowish setose dorsally (setae directed dorsally), long yellowish setose postero-medially (setae directed posteriorly), supero-posteriorly long yellowish setose (indistinguishable from other dorsal anepisternal setation); anterior basalare long yellowish setose medially, posterior basalare asetose; anepimeron asetose, katepisternum asetose, katepimeron asetose, katatergite long yellowish macrosetose, meron + metanepisternum asetose, metakatepisternum asetose, metepimeron asetose, anatergite asetose; scutum predominantly light brown pubescent, paramedian stripes and sub-lateral spots (divided by transverse suture) brown pubescent, scutum setation: long yellowish setose, setae with small sockets, 1 npl setae, 1 spa setae, 1 pal setae, 2-3 long yellowish postsutural dc macrosetae, acr setae long yellowish presuturally and postsuturally, median posterior scutum (between dc setae) long yellowish setose, setae directed anteriorly; scutellum grey pubescent, ds sctl setae present, long yellowish setae, ap sctl setae present, 6-8 long yellowish macrosetose; postmetacoxal area entirely membranous.
Leg: light brown to brown, apubescent, all setae circular in cross section; pro coxa brown, grey pubescent, white setose and macrosetose; pro femur brown, short white setose, yellowish macrosetose: 3-4 postero-dorsal distally; pro tibia light brown to brown, short white setose, yellowish macrosetose: 4 in 1 antero-dorsal row, 4 in 1 dorsal row, 6 in 1 posterior row, 5 in 1 postero-ventral row, distal tip with 3-4 long yellowish macrosetae; mes coxa brown, grey pubescent, yellowish macrosetose; mes femur brown, short and long white setose, yellowish macrosetose: 2 anterior proximally, 2-3 posterior distally; mes tibia light brown to brown, short white setose, yellowish macrosetose: 6 in 1 dorsal row, 6 in 1 antero-ventral row, 6 in 1 postero-ventral row, distal tip with 6 long yellowish macrosetae; met coxa brown, grey pubescent, white setose and macrosetose, anteriorly without any protuberance; met trochanter yellowish macrosetose, cylindrical, medially without any protuberance; met femur brown, long white setose, yellowish macrosetose: 5 in 1 anterior row, 1 antero-dorsal sub-distally, 1 dorsal distally; met tibia brown, straight, short white setose, yellowish macrosetose: 3 in 1 anterior row, 5 in 1 antero-ventral row, 4 in 1 dorsal row, distal tip with 7 long yellowish macrosetae; proximal pro and mes tarsomere as long as following 2 tarsomeres combined, proximal met tarsomere longer than 2 following tarsomeres combined, proximal met tarsomere as wide as following tarsomeres; pro tarsomeres 1-5 white setose dorsally, tarsomeres 1-4 short yellowish macrosetose disto-laterally and disto-dorsally, tarsomere 5 weakly yellowish macrosetose distally; mes tarsomeres 1-5 white setose dorsally, tarsomeres 1-4 short yellowish macrosetose disto-laterally and disto-dorsally, tarsomere 5 weakly yellowish macrosetose distally; met tarsomeres 1-5 white setose dorsally, tarsomeres 1-4 short yellowish macrosetose disto-laterally and disto-dorsally, tarsomere 5 weakly yellowish macrosetose distally; pulvilli well-developed (as long as claw); claw abruptly angled distally, pointed; empodium setiform, approximately ½ length of claw.
Wing: 3.6 mm.
Abdomen: shape compressed, T2-3 distinctly transversely rectangular (length to width ratio > 1:3), brown, tergites smooth, setae with small sockets only; T1 yellowish setose, postero-laterally long yellowish macrosetose, grey pubescent, anterior ½, except laterally, membranous, dorsal surface smooth, without protuberances; T2-8 entirely sclerotised, brown, grey pubescent: in dorsal view T2 appearing brown pubescent in posterior ½, T3-7 appearing entirely brown pubescent (except lateral-most margins), in lateral view T2 appearing brown pubescent in posterior ½, T3-4 appearing entirely brown pubescent (area broader distally), T5-7 appearing brown pubescent in posterior ½, short yellowish setose, long yellowish setose antero-laterally on T2, marginal macrosetae absent from T2-8, medial macrosetae absent from T2-8; S1-8 brown, lightly grey pubescent, short yellowish setose.
Male (Figs 56-57): T1-T7 and S1-S7 entire, T8 + S8 reduced to ring of sclerites; hypopygium dark brown, rotated by 180°; hypandrium well-developed, triangular, posterior margin with long postero-median projection.
Type locality: SOUTH AFRICA: Western Cape: De Zeekoe Guest Farm, Olifantsrivier margin, 33°38'25"S, 022°08'34"E (-33.64028, 22.14278).
SOUTH AFRICA: Western Cape: 1♂ De Zeekoe Guest Farm, Olifantsrivier margin, 33°38'25"S, 022°08'34"E, 269 m, 2015-12-07 collected a.m. (9:00-noon), sandy riparian vegetation, perching on low vegetation, Dikow, T. (Holotype USNMENT01115122, USNM).
Distribution, biodiversity hotspots, phenology and biology.
Known only from the type locality in the Little Karoo of South Africa (Fig. 71). A rarely collected species known only from a single specimen and collecting event in 2015 (Table 1). The species is endemic to the Succulent Karoo biodiversity hotspot. Adult flies are active in mid summer in a winter rainfall region (Table 2). Nothing is known of the biology.
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