Aphelonyx Mayr, 1881

Melika, George, Pujade-Villar, Juli, Abe, Yoshihisa, Tang, Chang-Ti, Nicholls, James, Wachi, Nakatada, Ide, Tatsuya, Yang, Man-Miao, Pénzes, Zsolt, Csóka, György & Stone, Graham N., 2010, 2470, Zootaxa 2470, pp. 1-79 : 27-28

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Aphelonyx Mayr, 1881


Aphelonyx Mayr, 1881

Figs 184–188, 189–193, 194–199.

Type species: Cynips cerricola Giraud, 1859 . Type designated by Mayr (1881).

Diagnosis. Very closely resembles asexual Andricus , differs in antennae being 2.0 times as long as the head+mesosoma, notauli are incomplete in the anterior 1/3 ( Fig. 185), and tarsal claws are simple; in asexual Andricus , antennae are less than 2.0 times as long as head+mesosoma, notauli are usually complete, tarsal claws always with a basal lobe.

Redescription. ASEXUAL FEMALE. Body length 4.7 – 5.2 mm, brown to light brown, with some darker spots on head and mesosoma; with dense long setae. Head coriaceous, slightly broader than high in anterior view. POL nearly equal OOL. Transfacial distance more than 1.5 times as long as height of lower face. Gena strongly broadened behind eye. Lower face rugose, with striae radiating from clypeus and extending into the area between antennal socket and inner margin of compound eye. Antenna with 12 flagellomeres, around 2.0 times as long as head+mesosoma. Mesosoma 1.5 times as long as high, with uniform dense white setae. Mesoscutum rugose and pustulate, notauli distinct and impressed in posterior 2/3; median mesoscutal line absent. Mesoscutellum as long or slightly longer than broad, rounded, strongly overhanging metanotum, with strong rugae. Mesopleuron, including speculum uniformly coriaceous, with dense setae. Propodeum shiny, smooth, without carinae, lateral propodeal carina fragmented or absent; smooth, shiny rounded central propodeal area delimited by very dense white setae both sides of central area. Forewing 1.4 times as long as body length, margin with short cilia; radial cell long and narrow, opened. Legs with dense white setae; tarsal claws simple. Metasoma slightly higher than long, laterally compressed, with very dense setae; ventral spine of hypopygium long, needle-like, nearly 4.5 – 5.0 times as long as broad, with sparse short white setae.

Biology and Distribution. Three species are known, Aphelonyx cerricola (Giraud) , A. persica Melika, Stone, Sadeghi & Pujade-Villar and A. kordestanica , new species. Only an asexual generation is known for all three species. They induce bud galls that are very similar in structure and location, developing singly or in groups most commonly on lateral buds on young shoots only on section Cerris oaks. The mature gall is hollow, with a tough woody wall 1.5 – 3.0 mm thick; the interior space contains a single, free-rolling or only loosely attached larval chamber. No other Western Palaearctic Cynipini induce galls of this structure, although one Eastern Palaearctic species known from Taiwan, Trichagalma formosana [described above] induces a structurally similar gall. The galls develop through the summer and mature in October. Adult wasps overwinter in the gall and emerge in the following March-April. Aphelonyx cerricola is native and relatively common in central and southern Europe, but a recent invader in Britain ( Crawley 1997); also found in Algeria and Greece (authors), Turkey ( Dalla Torre & Kieffer 1910) and Ukraine (Transcarpathia region only, Melika 2006a). Records of this species from Iran ( Chodjai 1980) probably belong to the recently described species A. persica , currently known from Iran, Syria and Lebanon ( Melika et al. 2004).

Comments. Three Eastern Palaearctic species which were known as Aphelonyx ( A. crispulae Mukaigawa , A. glanduliferae Mukaigawa and A. acutissimae Monzen ) were erroneously assigned to Aphelonyx ( Melika & Abrahamson 2002, Abe et al. 2007) and are discussed above. Aphelonyx is a distinct monophyletic group in DNA sequence analyses, closely grouped with Dryocosmus cerriphilus Giraud , and together these cluster with Pseudoneuroterus . All three lineages are ancient compare to other non-Cerris galling Cynipini , diverging ca 10 – 13 million years ago ( Stone et al. 2009; Fig.1).