Enicospilus adustus ( Haller, 1885 ),

Broad, Gavin R. & Shaw, Mark R., 2016, The British species of Enicospilus (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Ophioninae), European Journal of Taxonomy 187, pp. 1-31: 8-10

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Enicospilus adustus ( Haller, 1885 )

stat. rev.

Enicospilus adustus ( Haller, 1885)  stat. rev.

Figs 4BView Fig, 5BView Fig, 6BView Fig, 7AView Fig, 8AView Fig, 9AView Fig, 15AView Fig, 17View Fig, 18AView Fig

Ophion adustus Haller, 1885: 200  .

Enicospilus merdarius  – auctt., misidentification (e.g., Gauld & Mitchell 1981; Horstmann 1997).

Status and taxonomy

As explained above, unfortunately the species generally known as Enicospilus merdarius  (citations can be traced through Yu et al. 2012, including the inevitable gross misidentifications) is not conspecific with the lectotype, as designated by Fitton (1984). The next available name and, surprisingly, the only name currently placed in synonymy with E. merdarius  , is Ophion adustus Haller, 1885  ( Horstmann 1997). Unfortunately, the application of E. adustus  is not straightforward either; there is no published type depository for Ophion adustus  and it appears that nobody has ever referred to a type, if any existed, since Haller (1885) described the species. Haller’s description is sufficient to identify his species as either E. cerebrator  or E. merdarius  in the sense of almost all subsequent authors (Haller describes the metasoma as being dark ventrally from the third tergite, which is a frequent discolouration in ophionines). Given that E. merdarius  in the traditional sense is a widespread species in Europe we aim to preserve some nomenclatural stability by designating a neotype for Enicospilus adustus  . Haller’s types (he mentions two specimens) cannot be found ( Horstmann 1997; H. Baur, A. Müller pers. comm., regarding Swiss collections) and are presumed lost or destroyed. We here designate a neotype, collected in Switzerland, as was Haller’s specimen, and which is equivalent to the segregate after E. cerebrator  and E. myricae  sp. nov. have been separated. Neotype female: Switzerland, “dübdf” [Dübendorf], “ E. merdarius  ”, “ Ophion adustus Haller, 1885  neotype ♀ des. G. Broad 2013” (ETHZ). The fore wing sclerites and a dorsal view of the mesosoma are illustrated in Fig. 17View Fig. Across Europe, E. merdarius  in the old sense is a variable taxon, which prompted Aubert (1966) to separate off E. cerebrator  . What remains under the name E. adustus  may still comprise more than one species, lacking the distinctive features of other species; however, British specimens are rather uniform and very similar to the neotype.

This is a fairly widespread but apparently uncommon species, reared from Noctuidae  that feed on low vegetation. We have seen only one reared specimen, from an uncertain host.


NMS: 15 ♀♀, 6 ƋƋ; BMNH: 18 ♀♀, 11 ƋƋ, 1 unsexed; material from other collections: 5 ♀♀.

Distribution ( Fig. 18AView Fig)

England: VCs 4, 15, 16, 17, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 57; Scotland: VCs 75, 85, 86, 94, 96, 99, 110; Ireland: H16; Channel Islands: Jersey.

Additional material in NMS: Bulgaria: Aksakovo, Silistra region, Varna region; France: Côte-d’Or, Dordogne, Lot-et-Garonne; Hungary: Bugac; Italy: South Tyrol.

Flight time (non-reared material)

July–September, with one outlying November date, but 90% of specimens are concentrated in July– August.


The only host record is of one specimen labelled as having been reared (M. R. Britton) from either Blepharita adusta (Esper)  or Lacanobia oleracea (Linnaeus)  (both Noctuidae  ) ( NMS).

Despite the coincidence of the species name, Haller’s specimens were not reared but were caught in the daytime, basking on vegetation ( Haller 1885). There are no obvious habitat preferences discernible from the collection data.


Identification is relatively straightforward but not all material of “ E. merdarius  ” from light traps was retained until it was realised that E. cerebrator  had been overlooked in Britain. Enicospilus adustus  is a large, testaceous species, lacking dark markings except, sometimes, for discolouration of the metasomal sternites and laterotergites. Morphologically it is very similar to E. combustus  and E. ramidulus  , which each have distinctive colour characters. The long antennae (58–69 flagellar segments in British specimens, usually in the range of 60–65, modal value 63; 62 flagellar segments in the neotype) with elongate preapical flagellar segments serve to distinguish E. adustus  from E. cerebrator  , together with the form of the scutellum and the slightly wider temples. Enicospilus myricae  sp. nov. differs in several respects (see notes under that species) and the antenna is intermediate in length between E. adustus  and E. cerebrator  . Some European specimens of E. adustus  are noticeably larger, with a more pronounced posterior ridge to the scutellum and there may be additional undescribed species in this complex. In both E. adustus  and E. cerebrator  the anterior transverse carina of the propodeum varies from complete to largely absent.


National Museum of Scotland - Natural Sciences


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile














Enicospilus adustus ( Haller, 1885 )

Broad, Gavin R. & Shaw, Mark R. 2016

Ophion adustus

Haller G. 1885: 200