Syphrea thurstonae, Clark & Lillrose & Belo Neto, 2013

Clark, Shawn M., Lillrose, Tiffany & Belo Neto, Luiz A., 2013, Leaf Beetles of the Cayman Islands (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), Insecta Mundi 2013 (279), pp. 1-41: 28

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Syphrea thurstonae

new species

Syphrea thurstonae   , new species

( Figures 21, 38, 46)

Diagnosis. In this species, the hind femora are greatly enlarged, there is a well-developed prebasal groove on the pronotum, and the body is strikingly bicolored, the head and prothorax being orangebrown, the elytra being dark with metallic blue or green luster. This combination of characters does not occur in any other chrysomelid known to occur in the Cayman Islands. Elsewhere in the West Indies, this species is similar in size and color to Syphrea constanzae (Blake)   , a species from Hispaniola, but the elytra of that species are much more coarsely punctate.

Description of male. Body oval, glabrous. Head, prothorax, and legs pale orange-brown; elytra dark brown to black with blue-green metallic luster; ventral areas of mesothorax pale orange-brown; ventral areas of metathorax and abdomen dark brown. Length 1.8 mm; width across humeri 1.0 mm.

Head pale orange-brown, similar in color to pronotum; labrum, palpi, and basal half of antennae pale orange-brown; distal half of antennae darker brown; tips of mandibles piceous. Eyes separated by about 0.6 times width of head. Vertex impunctate, polished; frontal tubercles subtriangular, shallowly delimited laterally, deeply delimited behind, deeply delimited from frontal ridge; frontal ridge distinct and narrow posteriorly, broadly expanded laterally in clypeal area.

Pronotum 1.4-1.6 times as wide as long, 1.6 times as wide as head across eyes, 0.7 times as wide as elytra across humeri; lateral margins each with well-defined bead; anterior and posterior margins without bead; antebasal groove deep, extending to posterolateral corners; disc polished, minutely punctate; color pale orange-brown. Scutellum subtriangular, brown.

Elytra together 1.4 times as long as wide at humeri, 2.8-3.1 times as long as pronotum. Punctures fine, confused, separated by a distance about twice as great as their diameters. Interpunctural areas polished. Color dark brown to black with blue-green metallic sheen.

Ventral areas of prothorax polished, of same color as dorsal areas of pronotum; prosternum between coxae about as wide as antennae; procoxal cavities broadly open behind; ventral areas of mesothorax alutaceous, pale orange-brown; metasternum dark brown without metallic luster, mesally polished and sparsely pubescent, laterally glabrous and alutaceous; metepisternum dark brown without metallic luster, glabrous, alutaceous; abdomen dark brown, alutaceous, sparsely pubescent. Legs slightly darker than prothorax; tarsal claws bluntly appendiculate. Aedeagus as in Figure 38.

Description of female. Characters as in male, but with spermatheca as in Figure 46.

Material examined. Holotype: “CAYMAN, Grand Cayman Mastic Trailhead S, bl trap 21 May 2009, Thomas, Turnbow & Ball” (male, FSCA)   . Paratypes: Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac , Bight Rd. at Major Donald Dr. , Brac Parrot Preserve, 23-V-2009, M. C. Thomas (8 females, FSCA)   ; Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac , Brac Parrot Reserve, 23-V-2009, R. Turnbow (1 female, BYUC; 1 female, RHTC)   ; Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac , Major Donald Dr., 0.6 km E jct. Ashton Reid Dr., 6-VI-2008, M. C. Thomas, B. K. Dozier, blacklight trap (1 male, FSCA)   ; Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman , 3 km W Colliers, 19°2l2 N, 81°072W, 21-II-1993, W. E. Steiner & J. M. Swearingen, at black light in cut-over forest near ponds (2 females, USNM)   ; Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman , Mastic Trailhead S, 21-V-2009, Thomas, Turnbow & Ball, bl trap (1 female, BYUC)   ; Cayman Islands, Little Cayman , North Coast Rd., 26-V-2009, R. Turnbow (1 female, RHTC)   .

Plant associations. Unknown. Related species are associated with Euphorbiaceae   .

Etymology. The species epithet of this taxon honors the mother of the second author.

Comments. As currently constituted, the genus Syphrea Baly   , including the West Indian species formerly classified in Hermaeophaga Foudras   , is a somewhat heterogeneous assemblage. The placement of Cayman Islands material in this genus does not necessarily indicate a close relationship with the type species, S. pretiosa Baly. It   merely reflects a close similarity to several other West Indian species that are now included in the genus.


Florida State Collection of Arthropods, The Museum of Entomology


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History