Micropedeticus ochrus, Stiller, M., 2009

Stiller, M., 2009, Revision of Elginus Theron (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Deltocephalinae) with the description of two new genera and comments on the grassland leafhopper fauna in South Africa, Zootaxa 2135 (1), pp. 1-56: 31-33

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http://doi.org/ 10.11646/zootaxa.2135.1.1

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scientific name

Micropedeticus ochrus


Micropedeticus ochrus   sp.n.

( Fig. 45, 46 View FIGURES 41–46 , 274–283 View FIGURES 274–283 )

Diagnosis. Aedeagal shaft with apex bispinose, curved anteroventrally; gonopore at apogee. Small size of specimens (Male 2.3–2.5 mm, female 2.3–3.2 mm). Yellow colour, with singe fuscous marking dorsally on pygofer of male, near anal tube.

Etymology. Greek, ochrus   , pale yellow, sallow, wan, named for the yellow colouration.

Colour. Male & Female. Yellow-orange base colour, without any fuscous markings, except male with paired dark-brown marking dorsally on pygofer on posterior margin near point of incision of anal tube ( Fig. 280 View FIGURES 274–283 ), visible in repose. Face without markings, yellow-orange, female sometimes with brown abdominal tergites. ( Figs 45, 46 View FIGURES 41–46 ).

Dimensions. Male (n = 103). Lengths: flagellum (vector) 0.9–1.2 mm; apex of vertex to apex of tegmina 2.2–2.5 mm, apex of vertex to apex of abdomen 2.0– 2.3 mm; vertex medially 0.3 mm; vertex laterally next to eye 0.2–0.3 mm; pronotum medially 0.3 mm; scutellum medially 0.3–0.4 mm. Maximum widths: head 0.7–0.8 mm; pronotum 0.6–0.7 mm; scutellum 0.3–0.4 mm. Ocellus: diameter 12.3–19.8 µm; ocellocular distance 29.3–43.8 µm.

Abdominal apodeme. Male. Figs 274, 275 View FIGURES 274–283 .

Genital capsule. Male. Aedeagal shaft medially horizontal, tubular; apex curved anteroventrally, apex bispinose; dorsal apodeme directed dorsoposteriorly, articulating with anal tube appendage; gonopore on apogee ( Fig. 276, 277 View FIGURES 274–283 ). Plate with 4 marginal macrosetae; apex minutely serrate ( Fig. 279 View FIGURES 274–283 ). Style apophysis hook-shaped, denticulate, preapical lobe acute, anterior medial lobe relatively short, perpendicular; anterior lateral lobe elongate ( Fig. 282 View FIGURES 274–283 ).

Dimensions. Female (n= 75). Lengths: flagellum (vector) 1.0– 1.3 mm; brachypter: apex of vertex to apex of tegmina 2.4–2.6 mm, apex of vertex to apex of abdomen 2.5–2.8 mm; macropter: tegmina 2.9–3.2 mm, apex of vertex to apex of abdomen 2.5–2.8 mm; brachypter and macropter: vertex medially 0.4 mm; vertex laterally next to eye 0.3 mm; pronotum medially 0.3 mm; scutellum medially 0.3 mm. Maximum widths: head 0.8–0.9 mm; pronotum 0.7–0.8 mm; scutellum 0.4–0.5 mm. Ocellus: diameter 13.3–23.9 µm; ocellocular distance 39.5–51.7 µm.

Genital capsule. Female. Sternite VII ( Fig. 283 View FIGURES 274–283 ) with rounded posterior margin, slightly undulated. Third valvula with apex with variable number of macrosetae: one setum (19.3x6.4 µm) or four setae, (length respectively 21.9, 25.8, 27.1, 28.3 µm; width at base 3.9, 4.5, 5.2, 5.8 µm). First valvula lanceolate; imbricate sculpture, marginal. Second valvula with regular, fine denticulation.

Material examined. Holotype male. South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal. Sani Pass, Southern Drakensberg, 29°35ʹ55ʺS 29°18ʹ19ʺE, 2520 m, 20.iv.2002, DVac grass & forbs, M. Stiller ( SANC). Paratypes (129♂, 87♀, 3 nymphs). Lesotho. 1♀, Sehlabathebe Nature Reserve, 29°53ʹS, 29°04ʹE, 1.iv.1994, sweeping grass. South Africa, Eastern Cape. 1♂, river bank near Rhodes, 30°47ʹS, 27°58ʹE, 27.iv.2000, sweeping Miscanthus capensis   and Eragrostis curvula   ( Poaceae   ), in dense stand; 1♀, Penhoek on road between Aliwal North and Queenstown, 31°26ʹ05ʺS, 26°41ʹ22ʺE, 1854 m, 19.iv.2006, Miscanthus sp.   ; 1♀, Devil’s Bellows Neck, 32°24ʹ43ʺS, 26°37ʹ24ʺE, 1750 m, 19.iv.2006, on Festuca sp.   ; 10♂, 4♀, Uitsig Farm near Humandorp, 34°01ʹ29ʺS, 24°49ʹ05ʺE, 170 m, 21.iv.2006, in lightly grazed pasture; 1♂, Olifantskop Pass on road between Patterson and Cookhouse, 33°18ʹ52ʺS, 25°57ʹ34ʺE, 713 m, 23.iv.2006, in disturbed grassland; 1♀, Stone Hill Grahamstown, 33°20ʹ04ʺS, 26°33ʹ06ʺE, 698 m, 23.iv.2006, grass regrowth after fire; 11♂, 3♀, Charlton Farm north of Somerset East, 32°40ʹ09ʺS, 25°39ʹ43ʺE, 1271 m, 23.iv.2006, in ungrazed tufted grass pasture; 7♂, 4♀, road reserve at Grahamstown - Alicedale junction, 33°23ʹ56ʺS, 26°22ʹ31ʺE, 560 m, 23.iv.2006; 3♂, Doon Farm Thomas River Cathcart, 32°27ʹ34ʺS, 27°06ʹ41ʺE, 1115 m, 24.iv.2006; 2♂, 1♀, Granta Farm Komga, 32°37ʹ06ʺS, 27°46ʹ07ʺE, 784 m, 25.iv.2006; 2♂, 1♀, Morgan Bay, 32°20ʹ28ʺS, 28°17ʹ44ʺE, 115 m, 25.iv.2006; 7♂, 3♀, Dohne Research Station, 32°32ʹ21ʺS, 27°28ʹ24ʺE, 878 m, 25.iv.2006; 1♂, 2♀, road between Dordrecht and Rossouw, 31°18ʹ31ʺS, 26°06ʹ58ʺE, 1767 m, 26.iv.2006, road reserve; 1♂, road between Barkly East and Elliot, 31°11ʹ45ʺS, 27°48ʹ31ʺE, 1962 m, 27.iv.2006; 4♂, road reserve at Umtata Tsolo junction, 31°21ʹ45ʺS, 28°48ʹ36ʺE, 1048 m, 28.iv.2006; 3♂, 1♀, Prentjiesberg, 31°06ʹ06ʺS, 28°10ʹ27ʺE, 1428 m, 29.iv.2006; 1♂, Matatiele, 30°25ʹ25ʺS, 28°39ʹ32ʺE, 1435 m, 30.iv.2006. Free State. 2♂, Wonderwater Strip Mine, 26°45ʹ34ʺS, 27°48ʹ33ʺE, 1450 m, 5.v.1998, disturbed natural wetland vegetation, seasonally saturated, clayey sand, dominated by sterile sedge Eleocharis palustris   ( Cyperaceae   ); 3♂, 1♀, Wonderwater Strip Mine, 26°45ʹ34ʺS, 27°47ʹ07ʺE, 1450 m, 5.xii.1999, near Wonderfontein, permanently damp area. Gauteng. 1♂, Ezemvelo, 25°42ʹ21ʺS, 28°56ʹ23ʺE, 1336 m, 14.xii.2005, moribund grass; all collected by M. Stiller with DVac. KwaZulu-Natal. 1♂, Giant’s Castle, 29°14ʹ38ʺS, 29°31ʹ59ʺE, 9.iv.2002; 2♀, Giant’s Castle, 29°12ʹ35ʺS, 29°31ʹ15ʺE, 9.iii.2002; 1♂, Giant’s Castle, 29°12ʹ29ʺS, 29°30ʹ11ʺE, 9.iv.2002, all collected by W. Bullock by sweeping; 1♀, Cathedral Peak, 28°56ʹ29ʺS, 29°13ʹ06ʺE, 16.iv.2002, on Hyparrhenia dregeana   ( Poaceae   ); 1♀, Mike’s Pass Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve, 28°59ʹ08ʺS, 29°13ʹ06ʺE, 2094 m, 16.iv.2002, on grass in moist shaded NW slope; 1♂, 1♀, Mike’s Pass, 28°58ʹS, 29°14ʹE, 1900 m, 16.iv.2002, moribund grass & forbs; 3♂, 2♀, Mike’s Pass Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve, 28°59ʹ08ʺS, 29°15ʹ07ʺE, 2100 m, 16.iv.2002, grass & forbs; 3♂, 4♀, wetland on Meander Hut road, 29°16ʹ00ʺS, 29°33ʹ00ʺE, 2066 m, 18.iv.2002, Carex sp.   ( Cyperaceae   ) in wetland; 2♂, 2♀, Highmoor Forestry Station, 29°20ʹ30ʺS, 29°34ʹ13ʺE, 2300 m, 19.iv.2002, Festuca costata   ( Poaceae   ); 1♀, Sani Pass, 29°35ʹ55ʺS, 28°18ʹ19ʺE, 2520 m, 20.iv.2002; 4♂, 4♀, Sani Pass, 29°35ʹ55ʺS, 28°18ʹ19ʺE, 2520 m, 20.iv.2002, on grass & forbs, 1 ♀ on Aristida monticola   ( Poaceae   ); 9♂, 4♀, Sani Pass, 29°37ʹ21ʺS, 29°23ʹ08ʺE, 1840 m, 20.iv.2002, grass & forbs, all collected by M. Stiller, E. Breytenbach with the DVac; 2♂, 1♀, Swaiman’s Hut, 29°45ʹ00ʺS, 29°12ʹ00ʺE, 1850 m, 22.iv.2002, on short grass with sparse cover and on regrowth of Merxmuellera sp.   and Festuca sp.   ( Poaceae   ) after fire; 1♀, Mlambondja River Valley, 29°45ʹS, 29°13ʹ00ʺE, 1916 m, 22.iv.2002; 3♂,1 nymph, on road between Dargle and Boston, 29°35ʹS, 30°01ʹE, 1730 m, 25.iv.2002, grass & forbs, all collected by M. Stiller, E. Breytenbach with the DVac; 1♂, Giant’s Castle #7, 29°13ʹ34ʺS, 29°50ʹ06ʺE, 18.xi.2002, W. Bullock; 1♂, Mike’s Pass, 28°59ʹ08ʺS, 29°15ʹ00ʺE, 1900 m, 16.iv.2003, M. Stiller, E. Breytenbach, DVac, unburned grass outside fire break; 1♀, Kamberg, 29°22ʹ36ʺS, 29°40ʹ16ʺE, 1697 m, 19.i.2006, Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Park forest survey, white pan trap; 1♀, Vryheid Hill Nature Reserve eastern perimeter, 27°43ʹ53ʺS, 30°48ʹ37ʺE, 1414 m, 31.i.2007, moribund grass; 1♂, 2♀, Geluk Farm NE Vryheid southern site, 27°40ʹ29ʺS, 30°49ʹ00ʺE, 1511 m, 31.i.2007, Festuca sp.   in grazed pasture.

Limpopo. 21♂, 11♀, 2 nymphs, Serala Forestry Station fire lookout, 24°00ʹ23ʺS, 29°57ʹ00ʺE, 2029 m, 7.xi.2005, moribund Festuca costata   . Mpumalanga. 2♀, Longtom Pass 20 km east Lydenburg, 25°06ʹS, 30°34ʹE, 2040 m, 8.iii.2002, J. du Plessis, short grass & forbs; 1♀, Steenkampsberg Pass Summit, 25°16ʹS, 30°09ʹE, 9.iii.2002, grass, common grass species: Andropogon schirensis   , Eragrostis racemosa   , Microchloa caffra   , Monocymbium ceresiiforme   , Sporobolus sp.   , Themeda triandra   ( Poaceae   ); 1♂, 2♀, Oribi Trail above Rooikat Hut, Sterkspruit Nature Reserve, 25°08ʹ54ʺS, 30°32ʹ00ʺE, 1770 m, 6-8.iii.2003; 3♂, 2♀, Mauchsberg Pass, 25°08ʹ06ʺS, 30°36ʹ03ʺE, 2150 m, 6-8.iii.2003, moribund grass; 2♂, 2♀, Mariepskop summit, 24°32ʹ30ʺS, 30°52ʹ10ʺE, 1929 m, 9.xi.2005, three habitats: moribund grassland, common grass species: Bromus cantharticus   , Eragrostis sp.   , Festuca costata   ( Poaceae   ); short moribund grass; Festuca costata   ; 2♂, near Trout Cottage on road between Mt Sheba and Sabie, 24°58ʹ40ʺS, 30°40ʹ31ʺE, 1881 m, 12.xi.2005, moribund grass, hill above cottage, dry grass; 4♂, ibid. above, but 24°58ʹ36ʺS, 30°39ʹ58ʺE, 1826 m, 12.xi.2005, moribund grass; 1♂, 1♀, Malidyke Blue Swallow Reserve, 24°57ʹ15ʺS, 30°48ʹ52ʺE, 1367 m, 13.xi.2005, moribund grass; 2♀, Mac Mac Reserve, 25°00ʹ58ʺS, 30°49ʹ48ʺE, 1345 m, 13.xi.2005; 3♀, road between Longtom Pass and Sabie, 25°09ʹ29ʺS, 30°37ʹ41ʺE, 1899 m, 13.xi.2005; 1♂, 8♀, road between Longtom Pass and Sabie, 25°09ʹ07ʺS, 30°37ʹ29ʺE, 2014 m, 13.xi.2005, moribund grass; 3♂, Steenkampsberg Pass Summit, 25°14ʹ18ʺS, 30°08ʹ15ʺE, 2238 m, 16.xi.2005, moribund grass; 2♀, on road between Belfast and Vogelfontein, 25°43ʹ19ʺS, 30°03ʹ37ʺE, 1929 m, 16.xi.2005, all collected by M. Stiller with DVac ( AMNH, BMNH, SANC).

Remarks. The species is remarkably similar in colour and shape to Theronus priapus   gen.n. & sp.n. Both species are stramineous with similar fuscous markings on the pygofer of the male. The male pygofer in M. ochrus   has the markings merged and is situated dorsally near the anal tube. In the male of T. priapus   the markings are separate, more laterally and proximally near the anterior margin. Males of M. ochrus   are brachypterous, with the forewing about as long as the abdomen, and the hind wing half as long as the forewing. In females of M. ochrus   , about half of the specimens have the fore and hind wings of similar length and both extending beyond the posterior margin of the abdomen. Genitalia of the male and female readily allow distinction of these species. Although the grassland leafhopper fauna is not well examined, it would appear that this species could be the rare case of alary polymorphism in the Grassland Biome. Most of the species restricted to the Grassland Biome, such as species of Basutoia   , Drakensbergena   and Pravistylus   are usually brachypterous.

Distributed in four vegetation types of the Grassland Biome, and collected almost exclusively with the DVac. This suggests that the species lives near the base of the grass plant and that it is difficult to collect with a sweep net and therefore of minimal use in ecological studies. Standen (2000) compared the efficacy of the swish net (used to collect insects flying over the sward and visiting the tallest inflorescences), pitfalls and DVac as estimates of species richness. Both the swish net and DVac provided adequate estimates of Heteroptera, Auchenorrhyncha, Brachycera, Ashiza and acalyptrate Schizophora. Micropedeticus ochrus   is probably an example of a species that might never be collected with a sweepnet, let alone the swish net. Nevertheless the efficiency of the DVac outweighs the noise, weight and cumbersome operation over rugged terrain.


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American Museum of Natural History