Ita punica, Meregalli & Borovec, 2011

Meregalli, Massimo & Borovec, Roman, 2011, Radiation in the halophytic coenoses of the Peri-Tethys: taxonomy and biogeography of the genus Ita (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Journal of Natural History 45 (21 - 22), pp. 1331-1401: 1363-1369

publication ID 10.1080/00222933.2011.557550

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Ita punica

sp. nov.

Ita punica   sp. nov.

(Figures 10–12)

Type locality

Tunisia, Sfax, N Gabes, Sebkhet En Noual , 34 ◦ 31 ′ N 10 ◦ 01 ′ E GoogleMaps   .

Material examined

Holotype ♂: TUNISIA, “ Tunisia, Sebkhet En Noual , [34 ◦ 31’ N 10 ◦ 01’ E], N Gabes, 4.5.1998, 70 m, M. Meregalli, R. Borovec, J. Krátký leg.” ( MER). GoogleMaps  

Paratypes: same data as the holotype, 61 ex. ( BMNH, BOR, KRA, MER) GoogleMaps   .

Specimens excluded from the type series: “ Tunisia c. or., 59 km S Sfax, 7 km N El Hachichina [34 ◦ 26 ′ N 10 ◦ 15 ′ E] 50 m, 22.4.1998, M. Meregalli, R. Borovec, J. Krátký leg.” 45 ex. ( BMNH, BOR, KRA, MER) GoogleMaps   ; “ Tunisia, bords de la sebkha d’El Djem [35 ◦ 11 ′ N 10 ◦ 36 ′ E], 6.5.1978, sur Salicornia sp.   , J. Péricart lgt.” nine ex. ( MNHN, Coll. Péricart ALO, MER, BOR, OSL) GoogleMaps   ; “ Tunisia, 50 km N Sfax, Sebkhet El Djem, 25 m, 22.IV.1998, M. Meregalli, R. Borovec, J. Krátký leg.” 45 ex. ( MER, KRA)   ; “ Tunisia, Medenine, route C-104, 5 km W Toujane direction Matmata [33 ◦ 29 ′ N 10 ◦ 06 ′ E], 24.IV.1998, M. Meregalli leg.”, one ♂, three ♀ ( MER) GoogleMaps   ; “ Tunisia, 33 km S Gabes, 1 km W Mareth [33 ◦ 35 ′ N 10 ◦ 18 ′ E], 22.IV.1998, M. Meregalli, R. Borovec leg.” two ex. ( MER, BOR) GoogleMaps   .


A species of Ita   characterized by the rostrum being moderately slender, particularly in the female, with strongly concave sides, the wide oval scales completely hiding the integument, the yellow legs, and the aedeagus with narrow, sclerotized sides.

Description of the male. Head, most of rostrum, pronotum and elytra black; apical part of rostrum dark ferruginous; segments 6–7 of antennae, coxae, base of femora, segment 3 of tarsi and onychium brownish, antennal club brown-blackish; apex of femora, tibiae, segments 1 and 2 of tarsi, scape and segments 1–5 of funicle yellow (Figures 10A, C). Scales greyish, oval, three times as long as wide, completely covering integument on head, pronotum, elytra and underside, more scarce and narrower on legs (Figures 10H, I). Rostrum feebly and regularly curved in lateral view; interocular space narrower than base of rostrum; antenna inserted in basal third, sides in basal as well as in apical part distinctly concave, rostrum at base as wide as at antennal insertion, widened at apex; rostrum in lateral part of basal half finely punctured, dorsum along the whole length with very sparse and fine punctures (Figures 10F, 11A). Scrobes straight with upper and lower margins parallel. Antennal scape narrow, curved, enlarged in apical quarter, segment 1 of funicle conical, less than twice as long as wide and 1.5 times as long as segment 2, segment 2 slightly longer than wide, segments 3–7 globose; club elliptical (Figure 11I). Pronotum with maximum width barely behind mid-length, sides regularly tapered anteriad. Elytra oval–oblong, sides linearly and feebly broadened from base to posterior third, regularly rounded at apex. Tarsi slender, segment 1 of fore tarsi twice as long as wide, subcylindrical, segment 2 subtriangular, slightly more broadened and nearly as long as segment 1, segment 3 moderately lobed, slightly shorter and less than twice as wide as segment 2, onychium slender, almost twice as long as segment 3, regularly broadened from base to apex (Figure 10E). Aedeagus curved with apex horizontally folded, margins of median lobe narrowly sclerotized, sclerotization slightly broadened towards centre but median membranous part broader than sclerotized sides; sides linearly and feebly convergent at apex, apex shortly triangular (Figures 11M, N).

Description of the female. Size larger (Figures 10B, D). Rostrum feebly and regularly curved in lateral view, antenna inserted before the basal third of the rostral length; sides in basal and apical part more distinctly concave; lateral portion of the rostrum punctured in the basal part, dorsum in the basal part densely punctured, punctures towards the apical part sparse, minute and shallow (Figures 10G, 11B).


The specimens from the type locality are rather uniform. The variation concerns the shape of the rostrum, in some male specimens being a little more thickened basad and more broadened apicad, and the size, varying from 1.81 to 1.97 mm in the male and from 2.04 to 2.12 mm in the female.

This species occupies a relatively broad range, at least compared with that of the other western Mediterranean species, in eastern and central-eastern Tunisia; all these forms show the taxonomic characters typical of the species, such as the female rostrum strongly concave in its apical part, the position of the antennal insertion, etc., but each population is distinguished by some peculiar characters, and thus only that from En Noual was included into the type series. The distinctive traits of each form are discussed below; the variation regards the size, always within a range of about ± 5%, and the shape and sculpture of the rostrum.

El Hachichina population. Scales of the pronotum and elytra slightly yellowish, dense, slightly broader and shorter, slightly raised on the integument; rostrum in both the sexes more robust, slightly more elongate and less broadened at apex, in the male more deeply punctured; antennal funicle shorter, segment 1 twice as long as wide, segment 2 1.2 times as long as wide, segments 3–7 globose. Tarsi with segments 1 and 2 longer, a little more broadened, segment 3 twice as wide as segment 2; aedeagus nearly identical to the typical form, apex slightly shorter (Figures 10J–R, 11C, D, J, O, P).

El Djem population. Rostrum in both the sexes slightly less broadened at apex, sides in the male indistinctly concave from the antennal insertion to the apex. Antennal funicle shorter, segment 1 twice as long as wide and more than twice as long as segment 2, segment 2 nearly 1.5 times as long as wide, segments 3–5 subquadrate, segments 6 and 7 globose. Elytral scales oval, very dense, whitish, not raised. Tarsi shorter, segment 1 twice as long as wide, segment 2 shorter than previous, 1.3 times as long as wide, segment 3 1.5 times as wide as segment 2 and onychium 1.6 times as long as segment 2. Aedeagus moderately shorter, median lobe wider (Figures 11E, F, K, Q, R, 12A–I).

Toujane population. Body less robust, sides subparallel. Rostrum smaller, narrower at base and slightly shorter in both the sexes; apical half in the female strongly concave, sharply broadened at apex, rostrum in the male often ferruginous from the mid-length and in lateral view a little gibbous beyond the basal part. Elytral scales narrower, feebly widened, slightly yellowish; segment 1 of the antennae broadened, less than twice as long as wide, segments 2–4 globose, much smaller than segment 1, segment 5 transverse, segments 6–7 slightly broader. Tarsi relatively short, segment 1 about 2.5 times as long as wide, segment 2 nearly as long as segment 1, triangular, segment 3 shorter and barely wider than segment 2, with moderately broadened lobes. Aedeagus with Figure 10. Ita punica   , holotype ♂: (A, C) body; (E) fore tarsus; (F) rostrum. Ita punica   , paratype ♀: (B, D) body; (G) rostrum; (H) scales of side and (I) dorsum of elytra. Ita punica, El Hachichina   , ♂: (J, L) body; (N) rostrum; (P) fore tarsus. Ita punica, El Hachichina   , ♀: (K, M) body; (O) rostrum; (Q) scales of side and (R) dorsum of elytra. Scale bar: (A–D, J–M) 1 mm; (E–G, N–P) 250 µm.

Figure 11. Ita punica   , holotype ♂: (A) rostrum; (I) antenna. Ita punica   , paratype ♂: (M, N) aedeagus. Ita punica   , paratype ♀: (B) rostrum. Ita punica, El Hachichina   : rostrum (C) ♂ and (D) ♀; (J) antenna; (O, P) aedeagus. Ita punica, El Djem   : rostrum (E) ♂ and (F) ♀; (K) antenna; (Q, R) aedeagus. Ita punica, Toujane   : rostrum (G) ♂ and (H) ♀; (L) antenna; (S, T) aedeagus. Scale bar: (A–H) 1 mm; (I–T) 200 µm.

Figure 12. Ita punica, El Djem   , ♂: (A, C) body; (E) fore tarsus; (F) rostrum. Ita punica, El Djem   , ♀: (B, D) body; (G) rostrum; (H) scales of side and (I) dorsum of elytra. Ita punica, Toujane   , ♂. (J, L) body; (N) rostrum; (P) fore tarsus. Ita punica, Toujane   , ♀. (K, M) body; (O) rostrum; (Q) scales of side and (R) dorsum of elytra. Scale bar: (A–D, J–M) 1 mm; (E–G, N–P) 250 µm.

sides more sharply convergent apicad, apical lamella short, in lateral view median lobe not regularly curved in all its length (Figures 11G, H, L, S, T, 12J–R).


From the Punics, a group of peoples originating from Carthage, in the region of North Africa now part of Tunisia, in the first millennium BC (from Latin punicus).

Natural history

All the specimens collected by the authors were found sweeping shrubs of Salicornia arabica Pall.   in salty flats, often at the border of brackish marshes.


Ita punica   is known from several localities of central-eastern and south-eastern Tunisia. Normand (1937) reported a species of Ita   (as I. crassirostris   ) from the surroundings of Kairouan, about 60 km north of El Djem. These localities are geographically intermediate between the range of I. punica   and Aïn Draham, where a specimen referable to I. crassirostris   was found. We could not have access to the specimens conserved in the Normand collection.


See the description of I. chavanoni   for differences from that species; Ita punica   is also relatively similar to I. berbera   sp. nov., from which it mainly differs in the wider elytral scales, almost completely covering the integument, and the aedeagus with narrow sclerotization of the margins of the median lobe. Ita chobauti   differs in the shorter rostrum and in the aedeagus with sclerotized margins strongly broadened, closely approaching in the central part of the median lobe. I. gracilis   is distinguishable in the much longer and narrower female rostrum.


Universidad de Los Andes


Guermonprez Museum


Jagiellonian University


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle