Pseudoneuroterus nichollsi Melika & Stone, 2010

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 : 16-18

publication ID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Pseudoneuroterus nichollsi Melika & Stone

new species

Pseudoneuroterus nichollsi Melika & Stone , new species

Figs 91–96, 97–101, 102–105.

Type material. HOLOTYPE female: IRAN, Lorestan, Kaka-Sharaf, ex Q. brantii ; coll. M. Tavakoli, September 2008 . PARATYPES: 13 female: 8 females with the same label as the holotype; 5 females: IRAN, Lorestan, Ghelaie, Lor 456, ex Q. brantii ; coll. M. Tavakoli, September 2008. The holotype and 11 paratype females are deposited in PDL, 2 paratype females in USNM .

Etymology. In recognition of the continuing contribution of Dr. James Nicholls (Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland) to research on oak gallwasps.

Diagnosis. Most closely resembles P.macropterus , however, in P. nichollsi Rs +M distinct, reaching basalis in lower 1/3, veins around the areolet with smoky dark stripes; the metasoma is nearly 2.0 times as high as long, the prominent part of the ventral spine of the hypopygium is very short, as long as broad, while in P. macropterus Rs +M indistinct, never reach basalis, its projection pointed into lower half of the basalis, veins around the areolet without smoky dark stripes; the metasoma definitely less than 2.0 times higher than long, as the prominent part of the ventral spine of the hypopygium is longer, at least 3.0 times as long as broad. The galls are somewhat reminiscent of those of Andricus stonei Melika, Tavakoli & Sadeghi , however, the latter is found on the section Quercus sensu stricto oak Q. infectoria Olivier and never with the section Cerris oaks Q. brantii Lindl. or Q. libani Olivier ( Azizkhani et al. 2006) .

Description. ASEXUAL FEMALE (holotype). Body and antenna black, femurs black in basal 2/3, brown in distal 1/3; tibiae and tarsi dark brown. Head and mesosoma with uniformly dense long white setae.

Head delicately coriaceous, 2.1 times as broad as long from above; 1.4 times as broad as high in anterior view and equal or very slightly broader than width of mesosoma. Gena delicately micropunctate, broadened behind eye, well visible in anterior view behind eye, 2.0 times narrower than cross diameter of eye. Malar space delicately micropunctate, with dense setae, without striae and malar sulcus, 0.3 times as long as height of eye. POL 1.5 times as long as OOL; OOL 3.0 times as long as diameter of lateral ocellus, 4.2 times as long as LOL; ocelli slightly ovate, equal in size and shape. Transfacial distance 1.3 times as long as height of eye and 1.9 times as long as height of lower face (distance between antennal rim and ventral margin of clypeus); diameter of antennal socket equal to distance between sockets, distance between socket and eye margin very slightly shorter than diameter of socket. Lower face coriaceous, with strongly elevated median area and dense setae. Clypeus rectangular, more than 2.0 times as broad as high, delicately coriaceous, with elevated central area, with deep anterior tentorial pits, distinct epistomal sulcus and clypeo-pleurostomal line; ventrally broadly emarginate, without median incision. Frons coriaceous, with deep smooth and shiny impression below median ocellus; vertex and occiput coriaceous; interocellar area slightly elevated. Postocciput around occipital foramen impressed, with numerous delicate striae extending to level of gula; posterior tentorial pits large, deep, elongate; hypostomal bridge at least 2.0 times as high as broad, lower part narrowed down, but gular sulci running separately, not fused, hypostomal carina emarginate; occipital foramen slightly shorter than height of hypostomal bridge, and around 2/3 of height of oral foramen. Antenna with 12 flagellomeres, longer than head+mesosoma; pedicel nearly 2.0 times as long as broad, F1 2.3 times as long as pedicel, slightly longer than F2, F2 1.2 times as long as F3, F4 slightly shorter than F3, subsequent flagellomeres shorter; F12 1.6 times as long as F11; placodeal sensilla on F4–F12, in numerous rows, absent on F1–F3.

Mesosoma longer than high in lateral view, with uniform dense white setae. Pronotum uniformly alutaceous, with piliferous points; with uniform dense white setae. Anterior rim of pronotum narrow, emarginate; propleuron alutaceous, with piliferous points and white setae, strongly concave in mediocentral part. Mesoscutum delicately alutaceous or smooth, shiny; longer than broad (width measured across basis of tegulae); notaulus absent, indicated by rows of denser setae only; median mesoscutal line absent; anterior parallel and parapsidal lines indicated by broad, smooth and shiny area, without setae. Transscutal articulation absent, posterolateral sides of mesoscutum emarginate and elevated above dorsoaxillar areas. Mesoscutellum slightly longer than broad, flattened, trapezoid, with broader part in distal end, 1.8 times shorter than length of mesoscutum, uniformly alutaceous, overhanging metanotum; without scutellar foveae, with transverse, deeply impressed shiny, smooth area anteriorly. Mesopleuron, including speculum, delicately coriaceous, shiny, with dense white setae, narrowly impressed along posterior edge; mesopleural triangle rugose, with dense white setae. Metapleural sulcus indistinct, invisible, delimiting matte area with micropunctures; preaxilla coriaceous; lateral axillar area with parallel wrinkles, without setae; axillar carina broad, smooth, shiny without longitudinal striae; axillula slightly ovate, smooth, with dense white setae and punctures; subaxillular bar smooth, shiny, with parallel sides, in most posterior end narrower than height of metanotal trough. Metascutellum smooth, matte, without sculpture, slightly higher than height of smooth, shiny ventral impressed area; metanotal trough smooth, shiny, without setae. Lateral propodeal carinae absent, central propodeal area smooth, shiny, delimited only by setae; lateral propodeal area uniformly coriaceous, with dense white setae; nucha very short, with few delicate longitudinal sulci dorsally and dorsolaterally. Forewing longer than body, with dark brown veins and dark stripes along 2r and dark spot both sides of Cu 1 vein, margin with long dense cilia; radial cell 4.4 times as long as broad, R1 and Rs nearly reaching wing margin; Rs+M distinct, reaching basalis in lower 1/3, veins around large, triangular, well-delimited areolet, with smoky dark stripes. Tarsal claws simple, without basal lobe.

Metasoma not longer than head+mesosoma (however, dorsally pointed backwards and seems to be much longer than head+mesosoma), 2.0 times as high as long in lateral view, smooth, matte, without setae; 2nd tergite extending to half length of metasoma; prominent part of ventral spine of hypopygium extremely short, as long as broad ventrally, with dense very short white setae, which only slightly extending beyond apex of spine.

Body length 3.8 – 4.3 mm (n=14).

Gall. A subterranean gall in clusters of 6 – 18. Commonly in a crowded mass clustered around the base of young shoots, at or only slightly above ground level ( Figs 102 – 105). Sometimes 3-4 clusters grow together and encircle the young shoot. Unilocular. The gall cluster is usually globular, 10 – 25 mm in diameter, with 6 – 18 galls in one cluster. Young galls are pale yellow, later turning reddish-green and then brown or blackbrown as they mature. Individual galls are elongate, resembling pine-cone seeds, while those in groups may become cuboid due to crowding. Individual galls are 8 – 12 mm long, and 5 – 10 x 4 – 6 mm at their broadest apical part, narrowing continually towards the base by which they are attached to the twig. A crater or a scar on the bark marks the position occupied by the gall on the twig. The gall wall is thin, 1.5 – 2 mm thick, not woody and hard, and the mature gall can easily be cut. The gall parenchyma is juicy and soft when the gall is young, becoming slightly lignified when mature.

Biology. Only the asexual generation is known to induce subterranean galls on Quercus brantii . The galls start to develop from mid-summer and mature in October-November. Adults emerge by the end of winter of the following year.

Distribution. Currently known from Iran (Lorestan province, Kaka-Sharaf & Ghelaie).

Comments. This is the first root or subterranean gall found on the oak section Cerris, and the first known species in Cerroneuroterus and Neuroterus which induces root galls.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History