Vitaleucopis nidolkah,

Gaimari, Stephen D., 2020, Two new genera of Nearctic Chamaemyiidae (Diptera: Lauxanioidea) associated with Cinara aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on Pinus, Zootaxa 4852 (1), pp. 61-82: 72-77

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Vitaleucopis nidolkah

sp. nov.

Vitaleucopis nidolkah  sp. nov.

( Figs 11View FIGURES 10–11, 20–34View FIGURES 20–25View FIGURES 26–31View FIGURES 32–34)

Etymology. From the word “ ndołkah ” in the Apache language, meaning cougar, referring both to the clustered whiskers present distolaterally on the frons, and in honor of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, with the type locality being near the Mescalero Apache Tribal lands in south-central New Mexico; a noun in apposition.

Diagnosis. In males, the distance from the vertex to the anterior tip of the frons is subequal to the width of the frons at the level of the anterior ocellus, and the frons is more than 2.2 X wider than long. At the anterolateral corner of the frons, there is a loose whisker-like lateroclinate cluster of 2–4 elongated setae (length equal to half the distance between inner vertical setae). On the legs, the femora are entirely dark grey pruinose. The pleuron is silvery grey pruinose and lighter in color than the scutum. The scutum has dorsocentral setae 0+4 or 0+5, with the posterior seta at most 1.5 X longer than the next anterior one; the anterior notopleural seta is 1.5 X longer than the posterior one. In the male pregenital segments and genitalia: syntergite 7+8 is entire, lacking a median strip; the surstylar lobe is articulated, but partly fused, with the epandrium; the phallus from ventral view is bulbous basally and tapering evenly with straight sides to near the tip, which is abruptly expanded.

Description. Adults, ♂, ♀. Body ( Fig. 20View FIGURES 20–25) length 1.9–2.5 mm (♂, 1.9–2.3 mm; ♀, 1.9–2.5 mm).

Head ( Figs 20–24View FIGURES 20–25). 1.4–1.8 X higher than long; 1.2–1.4 X wider than high; mostly dark silvery grey with exceptions following. Vertex with outer vertical seta longer than inner one by 1.5 X; in ♂, distance from vertex to anterior tip of frons subequal to width of frons at level of anterior ocellus. Postocellar setae absent. Ocellar triangle sexually dimorphic; in ♂, elongate, slightly tapering to anterior margin of frons, slightly raised and distinct from fronto-orbital plate, anteriorly ending in dense patch of short white setulae on dark orange ground color and extending over antennal bases; in ♀, extending most of distance of frons, not raised, distinguishable from fronto-orbital plate by only slight color difference, anteriorly lacking patch of distinct setulae and not extending over antennal bases, but instead abruptly curving downward into plane with lunule; ocelli in equilateral triangle, on small raised tubercle, with ocelli placed well anterior to vertex; setulose within and in front of triangle, and behind posterior ocelli. Ocellar setae absent. Eye 1.2–1.4 X higher than long; height 4.6–5.1 X genal height. Frons with reddish brown vitta along edge of ocellar triangle in ♂, without such vitta in ♀; 2.3–2.5 X wider than long in ♂, 2.1–2.8 X in ♀; with lateral edges only slightly diverging anteriorly, 1.1–1.3 X wider at level of lunule than at level of anterior ocellus. Mid frontal vitta depressed in ♂, not depressed in ♀; oriented downward below tip of ocellar triangle, and meeting lunule at sharp angle in ♂ and in same vertical plane with lunule in ♀. Fronto-orbital area lacking fronto-orbital setae; setulose (setulae oriented slightly lateroclinate), in ♂ with distinct whisker-like cluster of 2–4 elongated (length equal to half distance between inner vertical setae) lateroclinate setulae at anterolateral corner, and in ♀ with no cluster of elongated setulae. Lunule silvery grey pruinose above antennae, strongly depressed below mid frontal vitta in ♂, in same plane with mid frontal vitta in ♀; narrowly arched, height 0.5–0.6 X frons length; with 0–2 small, fine setulae. Antenna entirely black; bases separated by small carina, with area between antennal bases shiny black, lacking pruinosity; 1st flagellomere short, rounded, covered with short thick white setulae; arista with distal segment 3.8–4.3 X longer than basal. Face, parafacial and gena silvery grey pruinose. Face strongly receding. Parafacial narrow. Gena with one strong genal seta in addition to several setulae in front and behind. Clypeus black with sparse covering of silvery grey pruinosity; small, barely exposed. Palpus black; spatulate; densely setulose, larger in ♀. Mouthparts very small and held within oral cavity above palpi; prementum and labellum dark.

Thorax ( Figs 20–21View FIGURES 20–25). Scutum uniformly dark silvery grey pruinose; 1.1–1.2 X longer than wide; 3.5–3.9 X scutellar length; setulose dorsally (bounded laterally by supra-alar line); dorsocentral vittae absent. Prescutellum present. Scutellum concolorous with scutum; 1.4–1.6 X wider than long. Pleuron silvery grey pruinose, lighter than scutum. Chaetotaxy: 0+4 (or rarely 0+5, sometimes only on one side) dorsocentral setae, posterior seta 1.5 X longer than next anterior one, and each anteriorly subsequent seta smaller than the previous, with anterior-most seta only slightly larger than surrounding setulae; one postpronotal seta, with several smaller setulae; two notopleural setae, in anterior and posterior corners, anterior one 1.5 X longer than posterior one; one pre- and one postsutural supra-alar seta; two postalar setae; prescutellar acrostichal seta absent; proepisternum, anepisternum and anepimeron lacking setae; one strong katepisternal seta along upper edge, with 1–4 small setulae in row anterior to seta; two pairs scutellar setae, subequal in length, posterior pair subparallel but bowed out along length. Legs. Dark brown, with femora and tibiae dark grey pruinose, and some specimens with basal part of hind basotarsomere dark orange. Wing. Length 1.9–2.5 mm (♂, 1.9–2.2 mm; ♀, 1.9–2.5 mm), equal to body length; 2.5–2.9 X longer than high. Hyaline, with veins brown. Veins R 2+3, R 4+5 and M 1 subparallel in distal half of wing. Crossvein r-m located slightly basad of halfway point of wing length, and at between 2/3 and 3/4 (about 0.7) point of cell dm length. Vein Cu extends to wing margin; apical section 1.2–1.6 X longer than crossvein dm-cu. Halter stalk brown, knob yellow.

Abdomen ( Figs 25View FIGURES 20–25, 31View FIGURES 26–31). Tergites shiny black, with light covering of dark pruinosity dorsally, and silvery pruinosity laterally (from posterior view); uniformly setulose, except setulae enlarged along posterior margin, longest laterally. Syntergite 1+2 and tergite 3 of ♂ each with patch of microtrichiae on lateral edge (cf. fig. 2 of Gaimari et al. 2008). Sternites silvery grey pruinose; sternite 1 divided medially; sternite 2 divided transversely with anterior part a narrow strip and the posterior part emarginate anteriorly, nearly 2.2 X wider than long and 1.3 X wider than sternite 3; sternite 3 slightly emarginate anteriorly, slightly tapering posteriorly, subequal in length and width, wider than next two sternites; sternite 4 slightly longer than wide, subparallel-sided, rounded posteriorly; sternite 5 slightly wider than long, widest in posterior half, slightly emarginate anteriorly, deeply emarginate posteriorly. Pregenital segments of male. Tergite and sternite 6 absent. Syntergosternite 7+8 a narrow undivided strip, 1/3 length of preceding tergite, tapering laterally; sternite 7 small, lightly sclerotized, 3 X longer than wide, parallel-sided, bare.

Male genitalia ( Figs 26–30View FIGURES 26–31). Epandrium slightly convex posteriorly, with 4–8 setae along posterior part on each side; extending into partly articulating (i.e., partly fused to epandrium, but partly separated at base) surstylar lobe; surstylus long (slightly shorter than width of epandrium) and with large flat lobe medially from articulation with epandrium, flattened throughout length, strongly incurved, with sharpened ventral edge, and distomedially with tiny setulae. Cercus large, rounded, with several long and numerous short setulae. Hypandrium in dorsal view 1.3 X longer than wide, with anterior arms very thick to point of articulation with pregonite, becoming abruptly thin posteriorly, anterior margin straight; in profile, slightly undulating, evenly wide in anterior half, and abruptly narrower posteriorly. Pregonite articulating with medial portion of wide part of hypandrium, such that bases are close together; parallel-sided, with blunt tip; slightly curved in lateral view; laterally setulose. Postgonite long (shorter than pregonite), tapering to small outcurved tip; bare. Phallapodeme as high as long from lateral view, with anterior edge evenly convex, with ventral edge evenly concave; in dorsal and ventral views, about 4 X longer than wide, narrow through middle, widening both anteriorly and posteriorly, with anterior end pointed. Phallus from ventral view bulbous basally, tapering evenly with straight sides to near tip, with tip slightly expanded, lateral part an even sclerotized strip with middle area membranous; length about 4 X width of bulbous base; from lateral view slightly curved, narrow throughout, with anterior part widest, with very small dorsal bump, and tapering posteriorly, but abruptly widening at tip.

Female terminalia ( Fig. 31View FIGURES 26–31). Tergite 6 about 3 X wider than long, length through middle 0.4 X length of tergite 5; sternite 6 enlarged, rounded anteriorly and emarginate posteriorly, with width subequal to width of tergite 6, about 2 X wider than maximum median length, and about 3 X wider than sternite 5, with long setulae along posterior edge; tergite 7 entirely membranous, but with corresponding patch of long setulae (as long as setulae of cercus) on membrane; sternite 7 small (half length and 2/5 width of sternite 6), nearly 2 X wider than long, with deeply emarginated posterior margin, with long setulae (as long as setulae of cercus) on membrane posterior to sternite; tergite 8 subsquare, slightly narrower than sternite 7, lightly sclerotized, with long setulae (as long as setulae of cercus) along posterior margin; sternite 8 absent, entirely membranous, with corresponding patch of long setulae (as long as setulae of cercus). Hypoproct tapering evenly to rounded tip. Epiproct subtriangular, with normal cercus bearing uniformly short setulae. Internally, spermathecae 2+2, round.

Immatures. Similar to typical leucopine immatures (e.g., Gaimari & Turner 1996), with the following particular characteristics. Egg (from dissection of ♀) ( Fig. 11View FIGURES 10–11). Length 0.55–0.57 mm, width 0.24–0.25 mm; with series of 16–18 longitudinal ridges, rarely anastomosing except at posterior pole, and less so at anterior pole. Larva. Integument in all instars white to translucent; 3rd instar with chaetoids black. Puparium ( Figs 32–34View FIGURES 32–34). Length 0.26–0.32 mm, width 0.09–0.11 mm, barrel-shaped. Dorsal surface highly convex, with dense pattern of flattened chaetoids; each segment with paired patches of darkened cuticle dorsolaterally. Dehiscent anterior segments (dorsal and ventral) 0.07–0.09 mm long, with each strongly sloping in lateral view into thin anterior-most part. Anterior spiracle white; with slit-like spiracular opening at tip of each of 3 finger-like lobes. Posterior spiracles on separated, raised tubercles, 0.24–0.27 mm long, rugose, covered with sharp spinules and setulae, and with 3–4 larger spinules mediodistally; distally, spiracle white, trilobed, with slit-like spiracular opening at tip of each of 3 finger-like lobes.

Type material. Holotype ♂ (point mounted, very good condition, with gel capsule containing puparium), deposited in CSCA, with the following labels: “USA: New Mexico; Lincoln Co.; 2.4 km W Angus, Lincoln Nat’l For.; Mills Cyn, along Rio Bonito, 33°27’05”N 105°41’46”W, 2130 m, coll: S.D. Gaimari, 23 JUN 1995, ex: reared from colonies of Cinara ponderosae  on Pinus ponderosa  (1#3P), emerged: 3 JUL 1995 ” / “ HOLOTYPUS ♂ Vitaleucopis nidolkah Gaimari  ” (red label). Paratypes: USA: ARIZONA. Apache Co., Apache National Forest, 0.5 km S. mile marker 249 on US Rte. 191; 8 km S Alpine, along Coleman Creek, 33°47’24”N 109°10’01”W, 2500 m, coll: S.D. Gaimari,, ex: sweep Pinus ponderosa  (1 ♀, CSCA); Apache National Forest, 7 km SSW Alpine, 33°47’24”N 109°10’01”W, 2500 m, coll: T.N. & S.D. Gaimari,, ex: Pinus ponderosa  (1 ♀, CSCA). NEW MEXICO. Lincoln Co., 2.4 km W Angus, Lincoln National Forest, Mills Canyon, along Rio Bonito, 33°27’05”N 105°41’46”W, 2130 m, coll: S.D. Gaimari, 18–, ex: reared from colonies of Cinara ponderosae  on Pinus ponderosa  , larva 1#1L, pupariated, emerged 6.vii.1995 (1 ♂ with puparium, CSCA), larva 1#2L, pupariated, emerged 3.vii.1995 (1 ♀ with puparium, CSCA), larva 1#85L, pupariated, emerged 7.vii.1995 (1 ♂ with puparium, CSCA);, ex: sweep colonies of Cinara ponderosae  on Pinus ponderosa  (3 ♀, CSCA);, ex: reared from colonies of Cinara ponderosae  on Pinus ponderosa  , larva 1#11L, pupariated, emerged 8.vii.1995 (1 ♀ with puparium, CSCA), larva 1#149L, pupariated, emerged 9.vii.1995 (1 ♂ (SDG dissection #1369) with puparium, CSCA), larva 1#168L, pupariated, emerged 9.vii.1995 (1 ♂ with puparium, CSCA);; ex: sweep colonies of Cinara ponderosae  on Pinus ponderosa, Lot CSCA  09L771, Specimen #09E462 (1 ♀ [molecular voucher], CSCA), Specimen #09E463 (1 ♀ [molecular voucher], CSCA), Voucher #09E516 (3 ♀, CSCA-FTC);, ex: sweep colonies of Cinara ponderosae  on Pinus ponderosa, Lot CSCA  09L772, Specimen #09E464 (1 ♀ [molecular voucher], CSCA), Voucher #09E521 (5 ♀, CSCA-FTC).

Distribution. Known from the southwestern United States (Arizona, New Mexico), in areas above 2100 m elevation. The species probably occurs in at least the intervening areas at elevations and places characterized by stands of ponderosa pine.

Biology. Confirmed as a predator on Cinara ponderosae  infesting Pinus ponderosa  . All specimens were collected from stands of infested young ponderosa pine (e.g., average under 5 m high). Several specimens were swept from these infestations, and several were reared from larvae or puparia, with adult emergence from 12–14 days after pupariation. Specimens that were collected as larvae were held individually in snap-top petri dishes, feeding them daily with living Cinara ponderosae  until pupariation, and then held until adult emergence.

Remarks. All larvae collected were reared, so none were preserved, but the black chaetoids are so far unique among chamaemyiids. At two different localities (one in New Mexico and one in Arizona), this species was collected together with Chamaethrix necopina  and the adelgid-feeding species Leucopis argenticollis Zetterstedt  and Leucopis atrifacies Aldrich. 


California State Collection of Arthropods


University of Stellenbosch


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics