Dodomeira, Baviera, 2017

Baviera, Cosimo, 2017, A taxonomic monograph of the genus Dodomeira Bellò & Baviera, a new genus of Peritelini from Sicily (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Entiminae), Zootaxa 4334 (1), pp. 1-138 : 11-13

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Dodomeira Bellò & Baviera gen. n.

( Figures 1A, 1B, 1C, 1 View FIGURES 1 ’A, 1’B, 1’C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, 1H, 1I, 1L, 1M, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H)

Type species. Dodomeira exigua ( Stierlin, 1861) comb. n. Gender feminine.

Diagnosis. Curculionidae, Entiminae , Peritelini .

Distinguishable among the Peritelini for the absence of the transverse sulcus on mesorostrum as in Pseudomeira Stierlin, 1881 . Easily distinguishable from Pseudomeira also by its small size and the more or less slender elongate shape ( Pseudomeira length 2.75–4.55 and ratio l/w of elytra: 1.40–1.60). Futhermore, for its short and sturdy antennae with all seven funicle articles bearing more or less extended clear setae (not observed in D. maritimaensis ). It is distinguished from Dolichomeira by the robust antennae and especially by the absence of the transverse depression on the mesorostrum-vertex. While, easily distinguishable from Borovecia by the smaller size, less elongate body shape ( Borovecia ratio l/w of elytra: 1.75–1.95) and less sunken vertex, as well as the genitalia and tegmen which are very different.

Description. Elongate subcylindrical body with length from 2.75 to 4.55 mm. Dorsally covered with shellshaped scales, which are often hawksbill, terrous, single-colored or lighter here and there. They are frequently arranged to form a longitudinal stripe on the pronotum with irregular and poorly defined spots on the elytra. Short setae, aligned on elytral interstria, more or less widened from base to apex and very rarely spatulate.

Head slightly hypognatous. Rostrum very wide and short, covered by scales, sub-conical or sub-parallel sides, short, transverse, not separated from head, (ratio l/ w 0.60 –0.85), dorsally with more or less raised and broadened setae, dorsally limited to the apical edge of the pterygium. Vertex slightly convex, mesorostrum longitudinally more or less concave in the middle, anteriorly with about 10–12 thin, curved, semi-erect setae. Epistome absent or small and weakly carinate. Interocular space with small, more or less evident fovea, frequently covered by scales. Vertex width / mesorostrum width ratio 1.60–2.00. Scrobes lateral, more or less deep, completely visible dorsally with pterygia more or less evident. Eyes moderately small, more or less convex, and protruding from outline of head, each eye consisting of 45–50 ommatidia. Interocular space with more or less visible fovea. Head short and conical with scattered, more or less elongate silvery setae on disc. Genae short, more or less covered by scales. Mandibles in horizontal plane.

Antennae robust and short, with silver-white, recumbent and widened setae. Scape length: 0.55–0.85 mm, funicle length: 0.75–1.15 mm .. Scape length/funicle length ratio: 0.67–0.83. Scape clubbed and normally more robust than funicle, regularly thickened from base to apex, curved in the basal third. Funicle 7-segmented, all segments with more or less widened setae. Funicle segments including club, relative lengths to 50x as follows: 8– 12 mm, 3–6 mm, 3–5 mm, 3–4 mm, 3–4 mm, 3–4 mm, 3–4 mm, 12–18 mm. Club fusiform, more or less elongate, with basal flared segment, sometimes peduncle-shaped, longest of last four/five funicle segments, almost twice wider than funicle, with golden pubescence and some thin, elongate setae.

Pronotum clothed with brownish-golden-silvery scales, transverse or subquadrate, convex with sinuate sides, wider at base than apex with the maximum width at or near the middle. Disc punctation usually covered by scales, each puncture bearing a short, silver-golden seta. Pronotum in lateral view weakly convex. Length: 0.65–1.00 mm; width: 0.75–1.10 mm; ratio: 0.78–1.00. Scutellum small and inconspicuous, triangular, as densely squamose as base of elytra.

Elytra elongate subcylindrical or elongate oval in dorsal view, in lateral view more or less vaulted. Elytra fused with suture slightly evident; convex, rounded at sides; widest in basal third or at the middle. Length: 1.80–3.00 mm, width: 1.07–1.85 mm, ratio: 1.43–1.80. Humeri usually present, short, rounded or straight. Wings absent. Each elytra with seven-eight more or less complete striae and with shallow punctation. Interstriae covered by scales, wider than striae, more or less convex, with silver-golden setae more or less widened, elongate and inclined on elytral surface.

Legs more or less robust and short, usually covered by scales with more or less long, widened, silver-golden setae. Femora unarmed more or less clubbed in the middle and narrowing to apex. Protibia with one-four acute spines on inner edge; mucro more or less evident on inner apical angle ( D. saccoi excluded); apical comb simple. Protibia not or slightly sinuous on inner edge, metatibia and mesotibia straight in side view.

Tarsal segment 1 short, conical; second segment short and transverse; third segment shallowly bilobed; all segments with thin golden setae. Onychium curved, robust and more or less short. Claws short and fused at base.

Abdomen with 7 ventrites (I and II not visible because they are fused below metacoxae, 1–5 visible and more or less covered by scales). Ventrites 1–5, slightly rugose, finely punctured. Ventrite 5 slightly longer than 3+4 and, apically with fringe of few setae. Sutures not evident between ventrites 1 and 2, between ventrites 2 and 3 curved, between ventrites 3–5 straight.

Procoxae large, conical, connate. Mesocoxae large, separated by a space about wide as their diameter. Metacoxae rather flattened, separated by a space about three times the diameter of metacoxa.

Male genitalia. Aedeagus and tegmen weakly sclerotized. Apex, in dorsal view, in the apical region to profile more or less heart-shaped with rounded sides ( Figures 45-49 View FIGURES 45 – 59 bis). Internal sac with small and simple armature ( Figures 50-54 View FIGURES 45 – 59 bis). Sternite IX more or less sinuous at apex with manubrium ( Figures 55-59 View FIGURES 45 – 59 bis).

Female genitalia. Sternite VIII with more or less long apodeme straight or slightly curved; plate trapeziumshaped, hollowed at apical margin, with fringe of short and long setae ( Figures 99-137 View FIGURES 99 – 137 ). Spermatheca sclerotized with cornu, ramus and nodulus more or less developed ( Figures 60-98 View FIGURES 60 – 98 ). Ovipositor weakly sclerotized. Gonocoxites flat close and elongate, regularly tapered, without styli but with several short and long setae at apex ( Figures 1M View FIGURES 1 , 60 View FIGURES 60 – 98 ’–98’).

Sexual dimorphism. Males can be recognized by their smaller size and less slender appearance, the robust legs with more noticeable apical mucro, the robust antennae and ventrites 1 and 2 slightly hollowed ( Figs 1B–1 View FIGURES 1 ’B).

Etymology. Gender feminine. Named from the combination of two words. Dodo is the common name for the bird Raphus cucullatus (Linnaeus, 1758) , an endemic species of Mauritius Islands now extinct since the first half of the 17th century ( IUCN Red List, 2016) and Meira , a name without any derivation, already used for some genera of Peritelini . The Dodo’s significance as one of the best-known extinct animals by direct and indirect human activity (through hunting by settlers and nest predation by introduced invasive vertebrate animal species). The name highlights the high extinction risk of the very localized species of this new genus. Almost all the species of this new genus would be considered as threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria ( IUCN, 2001; 2013).

Natural history. Ecology. Dodomeira are stenoecic weevils, most likely inhabiting fresh and edaphic environments. They live mostly on slopes that favour the flow of water. In anthropized areas, they prefer the leaf litter of Olea europea europea L., Pistacia lentiscus L., Rubus sp. and Crataegus sp.. In the Ficuzza Wood, in the Madonie and Sicani Mountains, they live in the leaf litter of Quercus sp. and Fagus sp.. When its is wet, in garrigue-degraded areas, such as Giacalone, Portella della Ginestra, Piana degli Albanesi and Gratteri, they take shelter under small sunken stones. Dodomeira never go, as do other Peritelini , up along the stem of grass or shrubs. Examination of intestinal contents shows that Dodomeira feed on roots or dead leaves like Borovecia Pierotti e Bellò, 2001 ; Dolichomeira F. Solari, 1955 ; Meira Jacquelin du Val, 1853 ; Meirella Pierotti e Bellò, 1997 ; Leptomeira Pierotti e Bellò, 1997 ; Heteromeira F. Solari, 1955 ; Heteromeiropsis Pierotti e Bellò, 2004; Leptosphaerotus Seidlitz, 1866 ; Pseudomeira Stierlin (1881) partim; Troglorhythmus Alziar & Lemaire, 2008 and Solariola Flach, 1908 (Bellò, pers. obs.). Therefore the leaf-litter is used also as food and not just as shelter. So nutrition, in this new genus, is not based on fresh plant material, as observed in many others Peritelini genera ( Simo Dejan, 1821 ; Simmeiropsis Pierotti & Bellò, 2013 ; Pseudosimo Pierotti & Bellò, 1999 ; Centricnemus Germar, 1827 ; Peritelus Germar, 1824 ; Pseudoperitelus Pierotti, Bellò & Alonso-Zarazaga, 2010 ; Euplister Pierotti, Bellò & Alonso-Zarazaga, 2010 ; Lepretius Pierotti & Bellò, 1997 ; Ripetelus F. Solari, 1950 ; Gymnomorphus Seidlitz, 1866 and Pseudomeira Stierlin (1881) partim). The above-cited observations are evident in cryptobiotic specialization wich is reflected in peculiar morphological characters (subcylindrical shape, eyes proportionately small, thickened tegument, fused elytra, short and robust legs) and their bioecology (strictly edaphic cycle). Dodomeira adults appear to be active for a very short time period. Their activity is generally more intense between November and March at lower altitudes (with summer diapause) and between September and November at higher altitudes (with winter diapause). We believe that the species of this new genus are relicts which have survived from the Tertiary period. This is suggested by the winter phenology, the low number of amphigonic species and their widespread distribution. In Sicily, where we have conducted repeated and relatively extensive in-depth research, Dodomeira adults may be found from sea level up to 1750 m. All the species show homochromy and mimicry with the environment, often based on an irregular elytra points pattern and resemblance to plant parts. Mimicry is also accentuated by the thanatosis position that Dodomeira assume when they feel in danger which can last for many minutes (15–30 minutes). Dodomeira seem to be, among the Peritelini in leaf litter, the less agile and the ones with the poorest vagility (almost as in Dolichomeira , considerably less than Pseudomeira (partim), Heteromeira , Solariola , Leptosphaerotus ). There is no information on circadian rhythms in Dodomeira (as for all Peritelini ), although they are photophobic. Reproduction is presumably mainly parthenogenetic given that males are unknown in 33 species out of 39, a rare case among the 22 genera of Peritelini where, except in Leptomeira (2 of 3 species are probably parthenogenetic), Pseudomeira (5 of 81), Dolichomeira (2 of 38) and Leptosphaerotus (5? of 34?), the reproduction is normally amphigonic.

Only in two cases (D. exigua—D. pfisteri on Mount Pellegrino in Palermo, D. adrianae—D. illuminatae Palazzo Adriano ), is there sympatry (by species of different groups). While stressing that our knowledge is still insufficient for any hypothesis of phylogeny within the Palaearctic Peritelini , we can say that Dodomeira constitutes an evolved and specialized genus, with high endemicity and recent appearance. In our opinion this hypothesis is supported also by the predominantly small eyes, the simple armor of the inner bag, the ecological adaptation to the deeper edaphic (as observed in Solariola among Peritelini ) and the winter phenology. Immature stages are unknown except as eggs; otherwise we can assume, as with all Peritelini , that the larvae are rhizophagous (most likely euriecic) and adults, also based on observation of the digestive system contents, are phyllophagous or otherwise feed on dead plant materials ( Pierotti & Bellò, 2000; Pierotti, 2013a). Apomictic parthenogenesis, frequently associated with polyploidy and winglessness, may increase the species ability to establish in new areas because a single female has the potential to start a new population without male fertilization ( Kearney, 2005). Moreover, parthenogenetic weevils may have higher colonization abilities than their sexual counterparts ( Stenberg & Lundmark, 2004). We assume that the amphigonic species D. exigua ( Stierlin, 1861) is the ancestral species. The large number of new species found during this study may be related to their adaptation ability to highly specific sites. For these reasons, we believe that the genus may also include several “sibling species”. In this work, we are limited to describing only the species that can be separated based on morphological characteristics. The species of the exigua and pfisteri groups live mainly on red clay soil ( Figs. 140 View FIGURE 140 , 141) derived by the weathering of limestone, the chromic-luvisols. Many species, mainly of the adrianae group ( Fig. 139), live on cambisol (vertic-cambisol or calcareo-vertic-cambisol) soils with weakly differentiated profiles common in Sicily (See Fig. 138b View FIGURE 138 ). Species belonging to ficuzzensis and petrensis groups live on rendzina, shallow soils over chalk, limestone, or extremely calcareous unconsolidated material, examples of the initial stages of soil development (European Soil Data Centre; Panagos et al. 2012).

Distribution. ( Figures 138a View FIGURE 138 , 139, 140 View FIGURE 140 , 141). The species belonging to the new genus are today present in Sicily (37), Sardinia (1) and in northwestern Tunisia (1). So, in all probability it is an endemic genus, showing a south-eastern betic gravitation, on more or less isolated mountain areas, of Mesozoic limestone and dolomie (the mountains of Palermo, Sicani, Madonie, Nebrodi) or compacted soil and / or clayey (Trapani province with the Egadi Islands, Termini Imerese) which originate from the orogenic chain called the Sicilian Magrebides ( Bosellini 2005). The observed distribution in Sicily most likely occurred by the dispersing of the ancestral species which settled in the Palermo Mountains (Monte Pellegrino—Monte Catalfano) to the present patterns of colonization of the species. This hypothesis is supported by the presence of the exigua species group (all amphigonic) in the Palermo area. Moreover these species show a predominantly spring phenology, little-reduced eyes and general morphological affinities with the genus Pseudomeira . Monte Pellegrino, the heart of Palermo’s Mountains, hosts a peculiar fossil faunal assemblage, the oldest Quaternary fossil record in Sicily ( Bonfiglio et al., 2001, 2002). The composition of the Monte Pellegrino fauna, unique in the Mediterranean islands, suggests it may have been derived in part from an older, not locally known, population phase ( Azzaroli & Guazzone 1979) and partially from more recent dispersals from Europe. The different degree of endemism and the different geographical affinity of the taxa, indicate a polyphasic origin (Masini et alii, 2002). Sicilian Dodomeira , even if rare and localized, are spread throughout the territories of the Madonie and Drepano-Panormitano districts; there are rare point-like presences in the Nebrodi, the W-Peloritani Mountains, on Etna, in Agrigento, Erei, Iblei and the Egadi Islands. In Tunisia and Sardinia there is only one locality known in each country were they have been recorded.

Phylogenetic hypothesis. Dodomeira gen. n. shows the most affinity with the genus Dolichomeira Solari, 1955 and Borovecia Pierotti & Bellò, 2001 (the adrianae and pfisteri groups in particular), with which it shares morphology, ecological niches and edaphic phenology mainly in winter. It also shares phenological and morphological convergences (the exigua group in particular) with the Pseudomeira of insularis-echidna-tunicensis group. The new genus seems to be furthest from the genus Meira Jacquelin du Val,1852 ; Leptosphaerotus Seidlitz, 1865 ; Heteromeira F. Solari, 1955 ; Meirella Pierotti & Bellò,1997 ; Leptomeira Pierotti & Bellò,1997 ; Heteromeiropsis Pierotti & Bellò, 2004 and with the remaining species of Pseudomeira genus (a typically polyphyletic genus that we have started to break up in this work). Dodomeira Bellò & Baviera gen. n. also differs clearly from other Peritelini such as Simo Dejan, 1821 ; Troglorhythmus Alziar & Lemaire, 2008 ; Peritelus Germar, 1824 , Centricnemus Germar, 1827 , Gymnomorphus Seidlitz, 1865 , Ripetelus F. Solari,1950 , Lepretius Pierotti & Bellò, 1997 , Pseudosimo Pierotti & Bello, 1999 , Euplister Pierotti, Bellò & Zarazaga, 2010 , Pseudoperitelus Pierotti, Bellò & Zarazaga, 2010 , Simmeiropsis Pierotti & Bellò, 2013 , and finally Solariola (Flach, 1908) , which we confirm belong to the Peritelini tribe (Baviera, 2015; Pierotti, 2016).