Smicronyx australis, Haran, Julien M., 2021

Haran, Julien M., 2021, The Smicronychini of southern Africa (Coleoptera, Curculionidae): Review of the tribe and description of 12 new species, European Journal of Taxonomy 735, pp. 34-73 : 57-59

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Smicronyx australis

sp. nov.

Smicronyx australis sp. nov.

Figs 1K View Fig , 4C View Fig , 5J View Fig ; Table 1 View Table 1

Differential diagnosis

Smicronyx australis sp. nov. is closest to S. pauperculus , a species widely distributed in the Mediterranean region and in Africa, including the Republic of South Africa. The two species can be distinguished by the colour of their integument (elytra black in S. australis sp. nov., at least partly red in S. pauperculus ). The sequences of COI of S. australis sp. nov. (GB accession: MT370318 View Materials ) showed an interspecific p-distance of 3% with specimens of S. pauperculus from the Near East and Canary Islands (Genbank accessions: KU942318 View Materials and KU942313 View Materials , respectively).


Smicronyx australis sp. nov. is named in reference to the southern distribution of this species, compared to the wide distribution of its neighbour species S. pauperculus .

Material examined

Holotype REPUBLIC OF SOUTHAFRICA • 1♂; “Rep.of SouthAfrica; Stellenbosch Mt. [Western Cape Province]; 33°57′09.41S, 18°53′14.09E; 539 m, 4.x.2018; J. Haran leg.” / “Sweeping fynbos; JHAR01557_0101” / “HOLOTYPE; Smicronyx australis ; Haran 2021”; SAMC. GoogleMaps

Paratypes REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA • 1 ♂; Western Cape Province, Malmesbury ; 33.486789 S, 18.669325 E; 10 Sep. 2019; J. Haran leg.; beating Cuscuta nitida ; JHAR03005 ; SAMC GoogleMaps 1 ♀; same collection data as for preceding; JHAR03005 ; CBGP GoogleMaps 1 ♂, 1 ♀; 7–20 km North of Citrusdal; 32.25.67 S, 18°57.32 E; alt. 150 m; 15 Nov. 2007; E. Colonnelli leg.; MCZ 1 ♂; Aurora Mts ; 32°43′784 S, 18.34.5889 E; alt. 850 m; 9 Sept. 2013; R. Borovec leg.; beating fynbos; FFWS 1 ♂; Boschendal Wine estate; 33°53.955′ S, 18°59.651′ E; alt. 354 m; 16 Aug. 2019; J. Haran leg.; beating fynbos; ethanol coll. CBGP GoogleMaps 1 ♂; Cederberg Mts , 2 km west Algeria; 32°22′194 S, 09°02′297 E; alt. 545 m; 26 Oct. 2011; R. Borovec leg.; sweeping; FFWS 1 ♂, mounted; Geko Creek Lodge ; 32.381182 S, 18.993322 E; 2 Nov. 2019; J. Haran leg.; beating Cuscuta sp.; JHAR03017 ; ethanol coll. CBGP GoogleMaps 30 specs; same collection data as for preceding; JHAR03017 ; ethanol coll. CBGP GoogleMaps 1 ♂; Groenfontein ; 33°51.105′ S, 020°49.360′ E; 16 Jan. 2019; J. Haran leg.; light trap; JHAR02094 ; ethanol coll. CBGP GoogleMaps 1 ♂; Gauteng Province, Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve ; 25.41 S, 28.18 E; 22 Feb. 1988; I.M. Millar leg.; SANC GoogleMaps .


BODY LENGTH. 1.9–2.0 mm.

COLOUR. Body integument entirely black, shiny, femora and tibiae reddish in middle; vestiture of elytra consisting of whitish and brownish recumbent elliptical scales, more than twice as long as wide; whitish scales forming ill-defined transverse bands and a spot on prothorax and elytra near scutellum.

HEAD. Rostrum as long as head capsule + prothorax in lateral view, moderately downcurved ( Fig. 4C View Fig ); dorsal face weakly punctate, covered with suberect whitish scales forming 4 more-or-less distinct series in basal ¾ (♂) or ⅓ (♀), more condensed near eyes, apical ⅓ bearing scattered white setae; transverse furrow at base of rostrum shiny, bare of scales; head capsule glabrous; eyes flat, sub-contiguous on ventral side, separated by a distance as wide as the width of 1 ommatidium; scape of antennae very slightly bisinuate, regularly widening toward apex, clavate at apex, segment 1 of funicle elongate, slightly longer than 2 + 3, segments 2–7 transverse, segment 7 more than twice as wide as long.

PROTHORAX. Isodiametric (ratio w/l: 1), widest slightly before middle of length, sides moderately rounded, narrowed at apex; integument punctuate and granulous; scales whitish and brownish, elongate, mostly oriented toward the median line.

ELYTRA. Sides subparallel in basal ¾, rounded in apical ⅓, widest near middle of length (ratio w/l: 0.70); humeri raised; striae narrow, interstriae flat, 3–4× as wide as striae, integument slightly reticulate, apex of interstria 5 with a very moderate callosity; scutellum small, bare of scales.

ABDOMEN. Underside mostly covered with non-overlapping whitish scales, not condensed on metanepisterna.

LEGS. Covered with whitish semi-erect elongate scales; femora clavate, bearing a minute ventral tooth usually hidden by scales; tibiae straight on external side, slightly bisinuate ventrally at basal third; claws equal in length.

GENITALIA. Body of penis short (ratio w/l: 0.60), 0.6× as long as apodemes, sides sub-parallel or slightly expanding apicad, apex truncate, curvature in lateral view moderate and regular ( Fig. 5J View Fig ); endophallus sclerified, forming longitudinal striae at base of body in dorsal view.

Sexual dimorphism

Females are distinguished from males by their rostrum, which is slightly longer, and covered with scales only in basal ⅓ (in basal ¾ in males).

Life history

This species was collected on stems and flowers of Cuscuta nitida ( Fig. 6D View Fig ) and other Cuscuta spp. Adult specimens were also collected by light trap and by beating fynbos bushes. Adult collection times ranged from August to February.


This species is distributed in the Gauteng and Western Cape provinces of the Republic of South Africa.


Slight differences in the external and internal morphology and the genetic distances between these species enabled S. australis sp. nov. to be distinguished as a distinct species. The black specimens of S. pauperculus reported previously ( Haran 2018) correspond to S. australis sp. nov.


South Africa, Cape Town, Iziko Museum of Capetown (formerly South African Museum)


USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology


South Africa, Pretoria, South African National Collection of Insects


Iziko Museums of Cape Town


Museum of Comparative Zoology


Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute