Andricus highlandensis Melika, Nicholls & Stone, 2021

Melika, George, Nicholls, James A., Abrahamson, Warren G., Buss, Eileen A. & Stone, Graham N., 2021, New species of Nearctic oak gall wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae, Cynipini), Zootaxa 5084 (1), pp. 1-131 : 42-46

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Andricus highlandensis Melika, Nicholls & Stone

sp. nov.

Andricus highlandensis Melika, Nicholls & Stone , sp. nov.

Figs. 141–158 View FIGURES 141–150 View FIGURES 151–155 View FIGURES 156–158

Type material: HOLOTYPE female “ USA, Florida, Archbold BioStation, leg. J. Nicholls, 2008.04.15. Code FL1048 , spFLl4; ex Quercus geminata . PARATYPES: 7 females and 9 males; 6 female and 6 male with the same labels as the holotype; 1 female and 3 male “ USA, FL, Archbold BioStation, leg. G. Melika , 1995.04.11 -18, ex Quercus geminata ”. The holotype , 2 females and 2 males are deposited at the USNM , 5 females and 7 males at the PHDNRL .

Material examined. Five males and 6 females labeled as “ USA, FL, Highlands Co., Lake Placid , Archbold Biological Station, 15/04/08, Quercus geminata , leg. J. Nicholls ( FL1048 , spFLl4)”; all are deposited at the PHDNRL .

Etymology. Named after Highlands County, Florida, where this species was collected.

Diagnosis. Galls resemble those of A. quercusutriculus ( Bassett, 1881) ; however, galls of A. highlandensis develop on Q. geminata while A. quercusutriculus is found on Q. alba , Q. chapmani and Q. stellata . Such host specificity at the level of oak section is typical of Nearctic oak gall wasps, with species galling section Virentes oaks (including Q. geminata ) never attacking oaks in section Quercus s.s. ( Abrahamson et al. 1998a,b, 2003) and vice versa. Also, in A. highlandensis the tarsal claw lacks a basal lobe, while in A. quercusutriculus the tarsal claws have a basal lobe.

Description. Sexual female ( Figs. 141–144, 149 View FIGURES 141–150 , 151–156 View FIGURES 151–155 View FIGURES 156–158 ). Body, including antennae, mouthparts, legs light brown to yellow.

Head delicately coriaceous, with sparse white setae, denser on lower face and frons; 1.3× as broad as high and as broad as mesosoma in frontal view, 1.9× as broad as long in dorsal view. Gena delicately coriaceous, not broadened behind eye in frontal view, 1.5× as wide as transverse diameter of eye in lateral view. Malar space coriaceous, glabrous, with a few delicate striae radiating from clypeus and not reaching eye; eye 2.0× as high as length of malar space. Inner margins of eyes parallel. POL 1.9× as long as OOL, OOL 1.5× as long as diameter of lateral ocellus and 1.2× as long as LOL; all ocelli ovate, of same size. Transfacial distance 1.4× as long as height of eye; diameter of antennal torulus 1.3× as long as distance between them, distance between torulus and eye 1.2× as long as diameter of torulus; lower face coriaceous, glabrous, with dense white setae, without striae; slightly elevated median area coriaceous, glabrous, without setae. Clypeus quadrangular, nearly as broad as high, smooth, glabrous, with few long setae; ventrally rounded, not emarginate, without median incision; anterior tentorial pit large, rounded, epistomal sulcus and clypeo-pleurostomal line broad, well impressed. Frons uniformly and delicately coriaceous, without striae, with some long white setae; interocellar area delicately coriaceous, elevated. Vertex, occiput delicately coriaceous, with sparse white setae; postocciput, postgena smooth, glabrous; posterior tentorial pit large, ovate, area below impressed; occipital foramen slightly longer than height of postgenal bridge; hypostomal carina emarginate, continuing into indistinct postgenal sulci which strongly diverge toward occipital foramen, postgenal bridge anteriorly as broad as occipital foramen. Antenna slightly longer than head+mesosoma, with 12 flagellomeres (suture between F12 and F11 indistinct but traceable), pedicel subglobular, F1 2.1× as long as pedicel and 1.4× as long as F2; F2 1.2× as long as F3; F3=F4, F5–F6 shorter, equal in length; subsequent flagellomeres shorter, nearly equal in length; placodeal sensilla on F3–F10.

Mesosoma longer than high, with sparse short white setae. Pronotum alutaceous, without striae laterally; propleuron smooth, glabrous. Mesoscutum uniformly alutaceous, with sparse white setae, setae denser in anterior 1/3, slightly longer than broad (greatest width measured across mesoscutum at level of base of tegulae). Notaulus complete, deep, broad, with smooth, glabrous bottom, posteriorly broader and slightly converging; anterior parallel and parapsidal lines indistinct, hardly traceable; median mesoscutal line inconspicuous, extends to 1/4–1/5 of mesoscutum length; circumscutellar carina narrow, reaching slightly above tegula. Mesoscutellum longer than broad, broader in posterior half, coriaceous, with net of strong irregular rugae along sides and in posterior half; posteriorly rounded, overhanging metanotum. Mesoscutellar foveae separated by narrow elevated coriaceous central carina, rounded, nearly as broad as high, with smooth, glabrous bottom. Mesopleuron and speculum uniformly smooth, glabrous, with some delicate transverse parallel striae at mid height which extend across mesopleuron, with some setae ventrally; mesopleural triangle smooth, glabrous, with dense white setae; dorsal and lateral axillar areas smooth, glabrous, with a few white short setae; subaxillular bar smooth, glabrous, triangular, most posterior part as high as height of metanotal trough; metapleural sulcus reaching mesopleuron at half height, upper part of sulcus distinct; metapleural sulcus delimiting smooth, glabrous area with dense setae. Metascutellum smooth, glabrous, as high as height of smooth, glabrous ventral impressed area; metanotal trough smooth, glabrous, with few setae; central propodeal area smooth, glabrous, without striae; lateral propodeal carinae bent outwards in posterior 1/4; lateral propodeal area smooth, glabrous, with long white setae. Nucha with numerous delicate sulci dorsally and laterally. Tarsal claws simple, without basal lobe.

Forewing longer than body, hyaline, margin with dense cilia, veins dark brown, radial cell open, 2.2× as long as broad; R1 and Rs nearly reaching wing margin; areolet triangular, well-delimited, Rs+M distinct at 3/4 of distance to basalis, its projection reaching basalis in lower half.

Metasoma longer than head+mesosoma, longer than high in lateral view; second metasomal tergite occupying half the length of metasoma in dorsal view, with a few white setae anterolaterally; all tergites smooth, glabrous, without micropunctures. Hypopygium without micropunctures, prominent part of ventral spine of hypopygium 2.5× as long as broad in ventral view, with some short setae ventrally, some of which extend beyond apex of spine.

Body length 2.2–2.4 mm (n = 6).

Male ( Figs. 145–148, 150 View FIGURES 141–150 , 157 View FIGURES 156–158 ). Similar to female but transfacial distance as long as height of eye; eyes incised on level of antennal toruli, POL 1.7× as long as OOL, OOL slightly longer than diameter of lateral ocellus, 1.4× as long as LOL, ocelli larger and rounded; interocellar area elevated; antenna with 13 flagellomeres, F1 straight, apically not swollen; F13 shorter than F12; placodeal sensilla on all flagellomeres. Body length 2.1–2.3 mm (n = 8).

Gall ( Fig 158 View FIGURES 156–158 ). Small rounded integral unilocular leaf gall, blister-like, 2.5–4 mm diameter (n = 50); most often develops on young and incompletely expanded leaves. Gall can be found anywhere on the leaf including the margin, petiole (often stopping leaf development) or end of leaf blade; commonly causes distortion of the leaf; green, covered in slight pale pubescence; very thin walled, with a spacious internal airspace in which the free-feeding larva develops. Old galls can persist on the leaves through the whole year.

Biology. Only a sexual generation is known, which induces galls on Q. geminata . The galls begin to develop in early April on unfolded young leaves. They mature very quickly and the adults beginning to emerge from late April–May. Males and females confirmed as conspecific with DNA data: cytb sequences for each sex (GenBank OK346274 View Materials OK346275 View Materials ) differed by 0.46%, and ITS2 sequences ( OK 350640 View Materials OK350641 View Materials ) differed by 0.63 %.

Distribution. USA, Florida, Highlands Co. (Lake Placid, Archbold Biological Station), Martin Co. (Jonathan Dickinson State Park).


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History