Machado, Renato Jose Pires, Godoi, Fabio Siqueira P. & Rafael, José Albertino, 2009, Neotropical Mecoptera (Insecta): New generic synonymies, new combinations, key to families and genera, and checklist of species, Zootaxa 2148, pp. 27-38: 31

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.275008

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Bittacus   and Neobittacus  

The genus Neobittacus Esben-Petersen, 1914   was proposed for the Brazilian species Bittacus blancheti Pictet, 1836   and the generic characters pointed out by the author were: wings long, slender, and decorated with distinct bands and dots; costal area with about five crossveins; first anal vein joining the hind margin distal to the fork of the medial vein; cubital cell very narrow; third anal vein present in the forewing; hind tarsi with the first tarsomere slightly longer than second and third together, third tarsomere slightly shorter than the second and fourth tarsomeres and half the length of the first tarsomere; female subgenital plate large and strongly haired. These seven characters were considered quite variable by Navás (1929), who synonymized Neobittacus   with Thyridates   , thus transferring B. blancheti   to Thyridates   .

Navás’ decision was ignored by Penny (1977) who described a second species in the genus, Neobittacus aripuanaensis Penny, 1977   , from northern Mato Grosso state, Brazil. The author argued that N. aripuanaensis   appeared to be closely related to Bittacus andinus Londt & Byers, 1974   , but the character that placed it in Neobittacus   was the large number of crossveins in the costal area.

Penny and Byers (1979 a) published a key to the families and genera of the Mecoptera   of the Americas south of the United States and separated Bittacus   from Neobittacus   by the number of costal crossveins: more than two costal crossveins in Neobittacus   and two or less in Bittacus   . This character is essentially the same as that pointed out by Esben-Petersen (1914). Neobittacus   more recently also has been cited by Willmann (1983) and Petrulevičius (2003).

During our analysis, we found the main character used by Penny and Byers (1979 a) to be quite variable; we commonly found specimens of B. diversinervis   and B. latreillei   with more than two crossveins in one wing and two or less in the other. This character is similar to the second proposed synapomorphy of Thyridates   introduced by Willmann (1983), which has already been discussed and considered as a very plastic character by Collucci and Amorim (2000) and Petrulevičius (2003). The other six characters of Esben-Petersen (1921) are also inconsistent, and all of them are found in other species such as B. chilensis   , B. femoralis   , and B. diversinervis   .

Because of the inconsistency of the characters and the absence of a comprehensive phylogenetic work based on many characters related to these taxa, we synonymize Neobittacus   with Bittacus   , and transfer Neobittacus aripuanaensis Penny, 1977   to Bittacus   ( B. aripuanaensis ( Penny, 1977)   comb. nov.) The other species treated in Neobittacus   , N. blanchetti   , was originally described in Bittacus   .