Gaeolaelaps ahangarani Kazemi & Beaulieu,

Kazemi, Shahrooz, Rajaei, Asma & Beaulieu, Frédéric, 2014, Two new species of Gaeolaelaps (Acari: Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) from Iran, with a revised generic concept and notes on significant morphological characters in the genus, Zootaxa 3861 (6), pp. 501-530: 514-516

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Gaeolaelaps ahangarani Kazemi & Beaulieu

sp. nov.

Gaeolaelaps ahangarani Kazemi & Beaulieu  sp. nov.

( Figs 29–40View FIGURES 29 – 34View FIGURES 35 – 40)

Diagnosis (based on adult female). Dorsal shield suboval, reticulated throughout, covering almost all dorsal idiosoma, leaving exposed a narrow lateral band of soft cuticle which bears four pairs of marginal setae (R 1 –R 2, R 4–5); shield with 37 pairs of short, needle-like dorsal setae, setae Px 2–3 and unpaired setae Jx absent, with 21 pairs of pore-like structures, including six pairs of gland pores (gd 2 and gd 6 present). Sternal shield longer than wide (length/width ratio ≈1.35), reticulate throughout except for a narrow smooth area posteriorly; anterolateral arms of shield broadly fused to endopodals between coxae I –II, and posterior margin of shield slightly convex. Epigynal shield tongue-shaped, only slightly widened posteriorly, with eight cells surrounded by a Λ-shaped line, with cell borders sinuous. Post-stigmatic region of peritrematal shield short, extending slightly beyond level of mid-coxa IV. Soft opisthogastric cuticle with ten pairs of short setae, with alveoli surrounded by relatively thick sclerotised rings. Anal shield somewhat pear-shaped, broadly rounded anteriorly; anal opening almost entirely on anterior half of shield; cribrum spicules not extending significantly anteriorly. Peritremes long, reaching anterior margin of coxae I. Epistome margin rounded, with variously sized denticles. Deutosternum with six rows of 17–20 denticles. Fixed digit of chelicera with seven teeth. Internal malae with two pairs of lateral fringed projections in addition to the pair of long median projections. Palp apotele 2 -tined. Femur II with av seta thickened, tarsi II-IV with most subapical setae thickened or spine-like; setae av 1, pv 1 on tarsus II, pl 2–3 on tarsus IV, and pl 1 on tibia IV apically blunt, spur-like; tarsus IV with pd 2 slightly longer than other setae, otherwise without significantly elongate setae, ad 3 and pd 3 very short; most dorsal setae of genu IV and tibia IV short.

Description. Female (n= 2). Dorsal idiosoma ( Fig. 29View FIGURES 29 – 34). Idiosoma 486–494 long, 266–271 wide. Dorsal shield 486–494 long, 247–252 wide, suboval, reticulate throughout, more distinctly on opisthonotal region, and with cells more elongate between setae j 5 and j 6; shield broadest at level of setae r 3, ratio of widths at the level of r 3 / S 3 =1.2; shield covering most of dorsal idiosoma, leaving exposed a narrow marginal band of soft cuticle. Dorsal shield with 37 pairs of short setae, setae Px 2–3 absent, setae j 2–4, z 4, s 3, r 2–3, Z 5 longest (20–25), z 1 shortest (6–8), other setae 12–17 long; Z 5 usually with 1–2 minute barbs. Setae R 1 –R 2 (12–14), R 4 (14–15), R 5 (11–12) and one pair of poroids (idR 3) on soft lateral cuticle. Dorsal shield with 16 pairs of discernible poroids (oval-shaped symbols) and six pairs of gland pores (circular symbols).

Ventral idiosoma ( Fig. 30View FIGURES 29 – 34). Tritosternum with a narrow columnar base, 32–33 long, 10–11 wide at base, 7–8 wide at apex, and two free pilose laciniae (68–71). Presternal area weakly sclerotised, granulate-lineate. Sternal shield 146–150 long, 109–111 wide, distinctly reticulate throughout except for a narrow smooth area posteriorly; anterior margin of shield straight, posterior margin slightly convex with a small median depression; anterolateral corners broadly fused to endopodal platelets between coxae I-II, bearing gland pores gvb; shield bearing three pairs of smooth setae st 1 (24–25), st 2 (26–27) and st 3 (26–28), and two pairs of poroids, iv 1 slit-like and iv 2 sub-oval. Metasternal setae (26–28) and poroids iv 3 on soft cuticle (iv 3 asymmetrically captured by sternal shield in one specimen). Epigynal shield tongue-shape, very slightly broadened posteriorly, 166–169 long, and 81–83 from st 5 to posterior margin, 70–72 wide; anterior hyaline margin slightly convex, irregular, covering posterior smooth area of sternal shield; epigynal shield with a Λ –shape line delimiting posteriorly eight cells with sinuous borders; setae st 5 (20–21) on lateral margins of shield, almost at level of posterior edge of coxae IV. Paragenital poroids iv 5 on soft cuticle, near level of coxae IV posterior edges. Anal shield somewhat pear-shaped, anterior margin of shield broadly rounded, 67–70 long, 56–58 wide, lineate-reticulate anteriorly and laterally; circumanal setae smooth, postanal seta (20–22) longer than para-anal setae (15–16); cribrum well developed, with three rows of spicules (four medially), the two anteriormost rows only slightly extending anteriorly of postanal seta; anal opening located almost entirely on anterior half of shield; para-anal gland pores gv 3 on lateral shield margins at level of the posterior edge of anal opening. Peritrematal shields relatively well developed throughout, anteriorly fused to dorsal shield behind setae z 1, bearing one pair of gland pores near external margin of shield at level of anterior edge of coxae III and one pair of poroids at level of posterior edge of coxae II; poststigmatic region with a longitudinal line from stigmata to shield apex, and with two pairs of poroids and one pair of gland pores. Peritremes long (236–243), reaching anterior margin of coxae I. Exopodal platelet between coxae II-III well developed, exopodal between coxae III-IV fused to parapodal. Opisthogastric soft integument with pair of primary metapodal platelets moderately small, narrow, laterad of ZV 1–2; 2–3 additional pair(s) of minute metapodal platelets anterior to and inbetween ZV 1 and primary metapodals; paragenital platelets minute, at level of ZV 1; five pairs of poroids and 10 pairs of short, needle-like setae JV 1–5, ZV 1–5, 14– 20 long.

Gnathosoma  ( Figs 31–34View FIGURES 29 – 34). Anterior margin of epistome somewhat rounded, with about 17 variously sized teeth ( Fig. 31View FIGURES 29 – 34). Corniculi horn-like, 45–47 long. Salivary stylets narrow and apically pointed, aligned beneath corniculi. Internal malae fringed, with a pair of adjacent median pilose projections, flanked by two pairs of shorter and thinner lateral projections. Labrum acuminate, pilose, considerably longer than corniculi. Hypostomal and capitular setae smooth, h 3 (46–49)> h 1 (34–37)> pc (26–27)> h 2 (19–21). Deutosternal groove with six rows of 17–20 denticles each; lateral margins of deutosternum subparallel ( Fig. 32View FIGURES 29 – 34). Basal segment of chelicerae 50–52 long, second segment 140–143 long, 46–48 wide; fixed digit of chelicera 40–42 long, with seven teeth, including subapical offset tooth (gabelzhan), followed by two small teeth, and four larger teeth proximal to the short and setiform pilus dentilis; dorsal seta short and setiform. Movable digit of chelicera 48–50 long, bidentate ( Fig. 33View FIGURES 29 – 34). Palp 146–149 long, palp chaetotaxy normal for Laelapidae  ; all setae smooth, al 1 and al 2 on palpgenu and al on palpfemur thick and subspatulate, ad on palpfemur slightly thickened, somewhat spine-like; palptarsus apotele 2 - tined, anterior tine with spatulate hyaline margin ( Fig. 34View FIGURES 29 – 34).

Legs ( Figs 35–40View FIGURES 35 – 40). Leg chaetotaxy normal for Laelapidae  (sensu Evans & Till, 1965). Legs II –III with largest claws and pulvillus, and broadest ambulacral stalk; leg I with narrowest stalk, claws and pulvillus; lengths of legs I- IV 435–438, 335 – 341, 289 – 292 and 432–440, respectively. Lengths of femora I 70 –73, II 57 –59, III 56 –59, IV 89 –92; genua I 62 –65, II 62 –63, III 38, IV 62 –67; tibiae I 70 –72, II 51 –54, III 38, IV 62; tarsi I 116–119, II 73 –76, III 83 –86, IV 113–121. Leg setae mostly thin and moderately long, except: trochanter I with al and ad short and slightly thickened; trochanter II with al slightly thickened; trochanter IV with pv 1 slightly thickened; femur II with av and pd 1 slightly thickened, ad 3 and al 2 short; femur III with al and ad 1 thickened, ad 2, pd and pl short; femur IV with ad 1 and av slightly thickened, ad 2, pd and pl short; genu II with pd 2 slightly thickened, and genua III-IV with ventrals slightly thickened; tibiae II-III with pv thickened; tibia IV with av and pv thickened, pl 1 thick, somewhat spur-like, pd 2–3 very short; tarsus II with al 2–3 and pl 2–3 slightly thickened, av 1 and pv 1 stout, spurlike (apically blunt), al 1, pl 1 and md stout and spine-like, mv, av 2 and pv 2 thick; tarsus III with pl 2–3 slightly thickened, ad 2, pd 2, pv 2 and al 3 thickened, av 1–2, pv 1–2, al 1–2, mv and pl 1 thickened, somewhat spine-like, md stout, spine-like; tarsus IV with most setae thickened and of moderate length, and pl 2–3 somewhat spur-like, pl 3 half as long as pl 2, pd 2 slightly longer than other setae, ad 3 and pd 3 short and thin. Coxa I bearing two gland pores (gc) ( Fig. 30View FIGURES 29 – 34).

Material examined. Holotype: female, northern Iran, Mazandaran Province, Tonekabon County, Tirom Forest (40 ˚ 62 ' 69 " N; 47 ˚ 11 ' 26 " E), 1465 m above sea level, from decayed wood of Beech trees, 2 June 2010, coll. Y. Ahangaran, deposited in ACISTE. One paratype female with same collection data, deposited in ACISTE.

Etymology. The species is named in honour of Yazdanfar Ahangaran (General Office of Natural Resources of Mazandaran Province, Nowshahr, Iran), for his help in collecting these mites.

Remarks. Gaeolaelaps ahangarani  can most readily be distinguished from all other species in the genus by the following combination of characters: very short dorsal setae, particularly so in the opisthonotal region; the absence of Px 2–3; only three pairs of marginal setae on soft lateral cuticle; epigynal shield with posterior cells with sinuous borders; an anal shield broadly rounded anteriorly, with the anus almost entirely in the anterior half of shield; and modified leg setae, such as pl 2–3 of tarsus IV and pl 1 of tibia IV spur-like, and ad 3, pd 3 very short.

Many other Gaeolaelaps  have short dorsal setae, but the large majority of them possess Px 2–3 setae, rarely have the anal opening positioned as anteriorly as in the new species (based on species descriptions), and have other distinctive characters. For instance, G. tenuisetus Rosario (1981)  has short setae, but seems to possess Px 2–3 (at least on one side; the illustration is difficult to interpret), and has an epigynal shield considerably expanded posteriorly (nearly parallel-sided in G. ahangarani  ), and a subtriangular anal shield that is relatively flat anteriorly. Gaeolaelaps analis ( Karg, 1982)  has a broader, more oval dorsal shield, Px 2 present, and a broader anal shield with anus located on its posterior half. Gaeolaelaps gleba Karg, 1979  (= G. glabra Karg, 1978  ) has Px 2–3 setae as well as shortened peritremes.

The few Gaeolaelaps  species lacking Px 2–3 setae that we are aware of are distinguished from G. ahangarani  by at least a few characters. Gaeolaelaps queenslandicus  and G. angustus ( Karg, 1965)  have a posteriorly tapered dorsal shield, longer dorsal setae, a three-tined palp apotele, and a deutosternum narrowing posteriorly (based on Costa, 1966). Based on the illustrations, Gaeolaelaps tengi ( Gu & Bai, 1991)  may appear similar to the new species, but it has longer setae, a broader, subtriangular anal shield that is flatter anteriorly, a sternal shield truncate posteriorly, with st 3 setae near the edge, a post-stigmatic region of peritrematal shield almost reaching the posterior margin of coxae IV (shorter in G. ahangarani  ), and a narrower deutosternal groove. Gaeolaelaps wufengensis ( Liu & Ma, 2003)  also has relatively short setae, but possesses an epigynal shield ornamented by circular lines posteriorly, seven rows of deutosternal denticles, and an acuminate epistome. Gaeolaelaps barbarae ( Strong 1995)  , associated with funnel-web spiders, has a more oval dorsal shield, and much longer setae, and a subtriangular epistome. Other arthropod associates also lack Px 2–3 (e.g. G. disjuncta Hunter & Yeh, 1969  , G. circularis  , G. ruggi  , and G. rarosae Rosario, 1981  ), but have fewer setae on the dorsal shield (<37), longer setae, and often a more oval dorsal shield, a shorter, more compact sternal shield, and/or an epigynal shield with distinct ornamentation.

Gaeolaelaps ahangarani  shares characters with G. aculeifer  and relatives (see Discussion), such as the spinelike setae on tarsi, especially of legs II-III, the deutosternal groove with numerous denticles per row, and similarly shaped and ornamented dorsal, sternal, and epigynal shields (although these shields are similar in several other Gaeolaelaps  species). Like G. aculeifer  , it also has internal malae with two pairs of short lateral projections. However, it differs from G. aculeifer  and relatives by lacking Px 2–3 setae, and having only three marginal setae laterad of the dorsal shield, a fixed cheliceral digit with fewer teeth proximal to the pilus dentilis, and shortened leg setae (see Diagnosis). At first glance, the sinuous borders of the cells of the epigynal shield appear as a fairly unique character of G. ahangarani  . However, we suspect that such ornamentation occurs in other species, which we may have overlooked, or that are still undescribed.