Melligomphus guangdongensis ( Chao 1994 ), Wilson & Xu, 2009

Wilson, Keith Duncan Peter & Xu, Zaifu, 2009, Gomphidae of Guangdong & Hong Kong, China (Odonata: Anisoptera) 2177, Zootaxa 2177, pp. 1-62: 39-42

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Melligomphus guangdongensis ( Chao 1994 )

comb. nov.

Melligomphus guangdongensis ( Chao 1994)   comb. nov.

Figs. 20 (a–j), 21(a–j)

Onychogomphus sp.   : Matsuki (1989: 30–32, figs 8, 12, 16, Hong Kong); Matsuki et al. (1990: 16, Hong Kong); Kitagawa et al. (1994: 12, Hong Kong).

Ophiogomphus guangdongensis Chao 1994   : Chao (1994: 73–75, figs 1–9, type-loc. male, Heishiding, Guangdong).

Melligomphus sp.   : Wilson (1995a: 116–117, 123, 125, Hong Kong).

Melligomphus moluami Wilson 1995b   : Wilson (1995: 325–329, figs 5–14, type-loc. Mount Butler, Hong Kong); Saito & Ogata (1995: 33–34, fig. 52, Hong Kong); Wilson (1997a: 32–33, Hong Kong); Wilson (2003: 238–239, Hong Kong); Wilson (2004a: 240–241, Hong Kong). syn. nov.

Remarks: The single male specimen described by Chao (1994) measured: abd. + app. 37 mm and hw 29 mm. These are virtually the same measurements as given for male Melligomphus moluami   by Wilson (1995), which are abd. + app. 36 mm and hw 29.0 mm. The descriptions also closely match and the drawings of caudal and secondary genitalia are comparable. There is a slight difference in wing venation but the two taxa are clearly synonymous. Wilson (1995) was unaware of Chao (1994), which was published in December 1994 whereas Wilson’s manuscript was submitted in September 1993, more than a year earlier, but published in September 1995. Chao (1994) described guangdongensis   in subgenus Ophiogomphus (Ophionurus) Carle   , but lacking a hooked posterior appendix, it does not belong in this subgenus.

Chao (1953b) published a very detailed account of the external morphology of Onychogomphus ardens Needham. Later, Chao (1990)   selected ardens   as the genotype species for the new genus Melligomphus   , which he established to receive Chinese onychogomphines with, inter alia, superior appendages shorter than inferior appendages and without markedly hooked tips, as in Lamelligomphus   . Chao (1990) created a key to the genera of Chinese Onychogompinae but there are obvious errors in this key with respect to Melligomphus   . In couplet (8) of Chao's (1990) key Melligomphus   is required to possess: "A 2 arising from the triangle". The wings of the genotype M. ardens   were figured in Chao (1953b) and these figures are reproduced here ( Figs. 19a–b). They clearly illustrate A 2 arising from the anal vein between the anal crossing (= cu-a) and the subtriangle. In fresh specimens of M. ardens   from Guangdong A 2 also arises between the anal crossing and triangle ( Fig. 18i). This character will not separate Melligomphus   from Ophiogomphus   . In couplet (8) of Chao's (1990) key Melligomphus   was also separated from Ophiogomphus   based on two other characters, viz. (i) anal loop 1 or 2-celled compared with 3-celled anal loop in Ophiogomphus   and (ii) superior appandages slightly shorter than inferior appendages. In Chao’s drawings of M. ardens   the hindwing anal loops clearly possess two cells but Ophiogomphus sinicus Chao   also has 2-celled anal loops ( Fig. 24e). All the numerous sinicus   specimens examined in this paper possess 2-celled anal loops. A superior appendage longer than inferior appendage is charcteristic of Ophiogomphus   sensu stricto but in Asian Ophiogomphus (Ophionurus) sinicus   the superior appendages are shorter than inferior appendages. Of the three characters Chao used in his key to separate Melligomphus   from Ophiogomphus   , none reliably serve to split Asian Ophiogomphus (Ophionurus)   from Melligomphus   !

In Chao’s drawings of guangdongensis   ( Figs. 20a–j) the superior appendages are clearly shorter than the inferior appendages but the anal loop is 3-celled, however, in three guangdongensis   (= moluami   ) specimens examined from Hong Kong the anal loop is 2-celled ( Fig. 21j). Chao (1994) elected to place guangdongensis   in the subgenus Ophiogomphus (Ophionurus)   based on: "posterior hamulus produced into a short finger-like process and the inferior anal appendage with a well devloped dorsolateral spine." Carle (1986) divided the genus Ophiogomphus   into three subgenera, namely: Ophionuroides Carle   , Ophionurus   Carle and Ophiogomphus Selys. When Carle   created the subgenus Ophionurus   it was characterised as follows, “Posterior hamulus elongate with a hook-like apex, male epiproct with a well developed dorsolateral spine, female postocellar ridge well developed medially”. The posterior hamulus of guangdongensis   is elongate and acuminate and not hook-like. The inferior appendage has a dorsolateral spine in the subgenus Ophionurus   but not in Ophiogomphus   sensu stricto. Species within the genus Melligomphus   , where the males are known, do not possess inferior appendages with a sub-basal spine i.e Melligomphus ardens (Needham)   , Melligomphus cataractus Chao & Liu   and Melligomphus ludens (Needham)   . However, the presence or absence of an inferior appendage with a sub-basal spine or tooth may not be a useful character at generic level (it is a subgeneric character in Ophiogomphus   ). The general structure of the penile organ and hamuli may serve as more reliable generic characters. The penile organ of Melligomphus ardens   ( Fig. 19c) strongly resembles guangdongensis   (cf Figs. 20e & 21d–e). The median segment of both species' penile organs features a prominent, somewhat flattened, posterior lobe (also known as the prepuce or preputial fold) and ventrally a pair of raised and prominent (nose–like), heavily scleritized structures to which the bilobed distal segment is attached. These scleritized structures are also prominent in Melligomphus   congeners i.e. Melligomphus cataractus   ( Fig. 19e) and Melligomphus ludens   ( Fig. 19f). However the penile organ of Ophiogomphus sinicus   also possesses these features (cf Fig. 19d & 24d), but not quite so pronounced. Perhaps the most reliable character to distinguish Melligomphus   from Ophiogomphus   is the structure of the posterior hamulus. In general appearance guangdongensis   strongly resembles Melligomphus   congeners, especially Melligomphus ludens   (see Wilson 1995b), whereas there is no general resmblance to species of Ophiogomphus (Ophionurus)   or Ophiogomphus   sensu stricto.

In summary the genus Melligomphus   is reliably characterised by: (i) inferior anal appendages of male slightly longer than superior appendages, (ii) both branches of superior appendages more or less parallel, (iii) penile organ with a prominent postgenital lobe and pair of raised, prominent, nose-like scleritized structures, (iv) anal triangle of male 4-celled, (v) anal loop 2-celled or occasionally 1 or 3-celled, and (vi) posterior hamulus with an acuminate tip, not overtly hook-like. The only species known from China in the subgenus Ophiogomphus (Ophionurus)   is sinicus Chao (1954)   , which bears very little resemblance to its North American congeners (see remarks section under sinicus   below).

Distribution: China (Guangdong & Hong Kong).














Melligomphus guangdongensis ( Chao 1994 )

Wilson, Keith Duncan Peter & Xu, Zaifu 2009

Melligomphus sp.

Wilson, K. D. P. 1995: 116

Melligomphus moluami

Wilson 2004: 240
Wilson 2003: 238
Wilson, K. D. P. 1997: 32
Saito, Y & Ogata, S. 1995: 33

Ophiogomphus guangdongensis

Chao, H. - F. 1994: 73

Onychogomphus sp.

Kitagawa, K. & Ueda, Y. & Katatani, N. & Muraki, A. 1994: 12
Matsuki, K. & Yamamoto, T. & Ichii, H. 1990: 16