Meteorus oviedoi Shaw & Nishida

Shaw, Scott R. & Nishida, Kenji, 2005, A new species of gregarious Meteorus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) reared from caterpillars of Venadicodia caneti (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae) in Costa Rica, Zootaxa 1028 (1), pp. 49-60: 51-56

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.1028.1.4

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Meteorus oviedoi Shaw & Nishida


Meteorus oviedoi Shaw & Nishida   , NEW SPECIES

( Figs. 1 ­14)

Diagnosis: mandible strongly twisted, second tooth directly behind first tooth in lateral view; ocelli small, ocello­ocular distance 1.6x ocellar diameter; occipital carina complete; wing membrane clear; vein r ½ length of 3RSa; propodeum areolate­rugose; hind coxa finely rugulose; first metasomal tergite without dorsopes; ventral borders of first tergite joined completely along basal ½ of segment; tergum 2 black laterally, medially with white broad hourglass­shaped figure.

Description of holotype female:

Body color: body mostly light yellowish brown except head orange, compound eye silver, and other parts of body with dark contrasting markings as follows: flagellum black; scape and pedicel dark orangish brown infused with black; ocellar triangle black; dorsal margin of pronotum with black band; lateral lobes of mesonotum and scutellum black; metanotum and propodeum black; apex of hind coxa and apex of hind tibia black; tarsi of all legs dark brown; wing membrane clear; wing venation dark brown; pterostigma pale yellowish brown medially bordered with dark brown; metasomal tergites 1­3 black dorsally except petiole white basally in dorsal view, petiole entirely white ventrally ( Fig. 13 View FIGURE 13 ), and tergum 2 medially with white broad hourglass­shaped figure (Fig. 14); ovipositor and sheaths dark brown.

Body length: 3.4 mm.

Head: antenna with 30 flagellomeres; flagellar length/width ratios as follows: F1 = 3.1; F2 = 3.1; F3 = 3.0; F26 = 2.4; F27 = 2.2; F28 = 2.0; F29 = 1.8; F30 (apical flagellomere) = 2.6; tip of apical flagellomere acutely pointed (Fig. 7); head 1.2x wider than high, head height 1.4x eye height ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 ); eye small but protuberant, slightly converging ventrally in anterior view ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 ); maximum face width 1.1x minimum face width; minimum face width 1.5x clypeus width; malar space length 1.1x mandible width basally (Fig. 6); ocelli small, ocello­ocular distance 1.6x ocellar diameter; lower margin of clypeus with fine rugulose wrinkles; mandible strongly twisted (Fig. 6); occipital carina complete; vertex, in dorsal view, descending vertically behind lateral ocelli.

Mesosoma: notauli rugulose, not distinct, and mesonotal lobes not well­defined; scutellar furrow with 1 median carina; mesopleuron polished, punctate; sternaulus rugulose, broad but not long; propodeum areolate­rugose, median depression absent.

Legs: hind coxa dull, rugulose (Fig. 8); larger hind tibial spur about ½ as long as hind basitarsus ( Fig. 9 View FIGURE 9 ); tarsal claw with a small blunt basal tooth, strongly curved (Fig. 10).

Wings: forewing length 3.2 mm; vein m­cu postfurcal; second submarginal cell of forewing not strongly narrowed anteriorly; vein r 0.5x length of 3RSa.

Metasoma: first metasomal tergite without dorsopes (Figs. 11­12); ventral borders of first tergite joined completely along basal ½ of segment; first tergite dorsally longitudinally costate on apical half beyond spiracles, costae slightly convergent posteriorly (Fig. 12); ovipositor short, thick at base, 1.8x longer than first tergite (Fig. 11).

Variation: Other females as in holotype except body length 3.2­3.5 mm; forewing length 3.1­3.2 mm; antennae with 30­32 flagellomeres.

Males: Similar to females except body size smaller, body length 2.8­3.2 mm. Antenna with 28­30 flagellomeres. Body color generally much lighter than in females with less extensive black markings particularly noticeable on the ocellar triangle (diffuse black markings), mesonotum (black almost absent except at corners), propodeum (diffuse black markings), and tergum 2 (lateral black markings much smaller than in female). The white medial pattern on tergum 2 still present in males, but much broader and more variable in shape.

Holotype: Female (point­mounted), COSTA RICA: San José, San Pedro, UCR campus, Reserva Ecológica Leonelo Oviedo, 1150 m, 15­16 November 2002, collected and reared by Kenji Nishida, host: 5 th instar larva of Venadicodia caneti   ( Limacodidae   ) on Licaria triandra   ( Lauraceae   ), host collected 30 October 2002, feeding on leaves, host not moving 4 November 2002, black spots on the host 4 November 2002, Meteorus   larvae (26) came out 4 November 2002 (evening) (pictures associated), the host larva became aggressive after 3­ 4 larvae came out, immediately the larvae started spinning cocoons (pictures associated): 5:18 pm. Deposited in UWIM.

Paratypes: 9 females, 16 males, same data as holotype   . 10 females, 3 males, same data as holotype except 13 cocoons hanging collected 27 October 2002 (pictures associated)   , wasps emerged 4 November 2002. 8 females, 2 males, same data as holotype except Meteorus   larvae (10) emerged 4 November 2002 (evening) (pictures associated)   , host larva died 6 November 2002. 5 females, 3 males, same data as holotype except host larva and wasp cocoons collected 23 October 2002   , wasps emerged 28 October 2002. 10 females, 1 male, same data except from penultimate larva collected on 28 October 2002   , molted to final instar 4 November, host larva stopped feeding 19 November, 16 Meteorus   larvae emerged and spun cocoons 21 November, host larva died and fell off leaf 24 November 2002, adult wasps emerged 30­31 November 2002 (some adults did not emerge from cocoons). 7 males, same data except larvae came out 25 October 2002   , adult wasps emerged 2 November 2002. 8 females, 7 males, same data except collected from cocoons found attached to a L. triandra   leaf on 11 October 2003   , adult wasps emerged 20 October 2003. 5 females, 3 males, same data except adult wasps emerged 15 October 2003   . Deposited in UWIM, ICSP, USNM, MCZ, INBio, and UCR.

Mature larva exiting and spinning cocoon: 3 to 4 mm long, translucent to creamy white showing pinkish­red color of interior body. Head translucent to creamy white with mouth parts dark brown ( Figs. 1 ­2).

Cocoon: spindle­shaped, brown with loosely spun exterior silk appearing whitish. Cocoon suspending thread attached to host plant, about 5 mm in length (Figs. 2­4).

Comments: Meteorus oviedoi   is most similar to Meteorus uno Zitani. Both   species have a bright orange head (more brightly colored in females) and extensive black markings. In the key to Costa Rican Meteorus species   by Zitani et al. (1998) M. oviedoi   keys to couplet 8 (near M. uno   ) but it can easily be distinguished from M. uno   by the complete occipital carina. Also, there are several obvious color differences between these two species. The mesonotum of M. uno   is uniformly orange, while the mesonotum of M. oviedoi   has black lateral lobes. The hind coxa is entirely black in M. uno   but only black apically in M. oviedoi   . Only the dorsal surface of the propodeum is black in M. uno   , while the propodeum is entirely black in M. oviedoi   . Metasomal tergum 2 is entirely black in M. uno   , while in M. oviedoi   tergum 2 is white medially, black laterally, forming a somewhat broad hourglass­shaped figure medially. Although the shape of this white pattern is somewhat variable, especially in the males, it is still quite distinctive.

The discovery of a new Meteorus   attacking Limacodidae   in Costa Rica is of interest because use of this host family was not previously known from the region, however a gregarious African species ( Meteorus komensis Wilkinson   ) is known to attack Limacodidae ( Nixon 1943)   . According to Zitani (2003) all the gregarious species of Meteorus   can be assigned to a single monophyletic lineage. Although the gregarious New World species attacking large Sphingidae   are more common and better known ( Zitani et al. 1998), it appears that the use of smaller clumped­feeding Limacodidae   may be another important target for the gregarious lineage of Meteorus   .

Etymology: This new species in named after Sr. Leonelo Oviedo. All the type specimens were collected in the Leonelo Oviedo Ecological Reserve. Sr. Oviedo was a professor in the School of Biology at the University of Costa Rica during the 1960s and 1970s. During that time he worked on starting the ecological reserve, and he contributed more towards its development than anyone else. The ecological reserve was later named in honor of Leonelo Oviedo by Luis Fornier in recognition of Sr. Oviedo's contributions to the development of the ecological study site.

Distribution: Costa Rica. All the type specimens are reared from V. caneti   larvae collected in the ecological reserve on campus of the University of Costa Rica, Montes de Oca, San Pedro, San José. This is the only location where the species has been found, although the host is more widely distributed.