Spathius subafricanus Belokobylskij

Belokobylskij, Sergey A. & Achterberg, Cornelis Van, 2021, Review of the braconid parasitoid subfamily Doryctinae (Hymenoptera, Braconidae) from the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, European Journal of Taxonomy 765 (1), pp. 1-143: 54-59

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Spathius subafricanus Belokobylskij

sp. nov.

Spathius subafricanus Belokobylskij   sp. nov.

Figs 24–25 View Fig View Fig

Comparative diagnosis

According to the dense aciculate sculpture of the face, widely smooth mesopleuron, mediocubital (M+CU1) vein of the fore wing weakly sinuate and hind coxa with a basoventral tubercle, S. subafricanus   sp. nov. belongs to the S. vulnificus Wilkinson   species-group.This new species is morphologically similar to S. paracritolaus Belokobylskij, 1996   from China, but differs from it by having the first flagellar segment of the antenna 4.5 times longer than its apical width (5.5 times in S. paracritolaus   ), head behind eyes almost parallel in the anterior half and roundly narrowed in the posterior half (evenly roundly narrowed in S. paracritolaus   ), pronotal keel weakly separated from the posterior margin of pronotum (fused medially in S. paracritolaus   ), mesopleuron widely smooth submedially (entirely and densely reticulate in S. paracritolaus   ), metanotum (lateral view) mediodorsally with a short pointed tubercle (with obtuse tubercle in S. paracritolaus   ), precoxal sulcus deep (shallow in S. paracritolaus   ), nervulus (cu-a) of fore wing distinctly postfurcal (interstitial in S. paracritolaus   ), petiole of metasoma 1.7 times longer than posterior width (2.0 times in S. paracritolaus   ), sculpture on fourth and fifth metasomal tergites absent (present anteriorly in S. paracritolaus   ), second tergite with separated laterotergites (not separated in S. paracritolaus   ), ovipositor 2.5 times longer than petiole and 0.6 times as long as fore wing (1.5 and 0.4 times respectively in S. paracritolaus   ), and hind tibia uniformly yellow, without dark spots (with dark submedial spot in S. paracritolaus   ).

Spathius subafricanus   sp. nov. is also similar to S. aciculatus Tang, Belokobyskij & Chen, 2015   from China (Hainan), but differs from it in having the first flagellar segment of the antenna 4.5 times longer than its apical width (5.5 times in S. aciculatus   ), transverse diameter of the eye 1.6 times length of temple (1.9 times in S. aciculatus   ), vertex smooth laterally and in posterior half (entirely densely aciculate in S. aciculatus   ), pronotal keel weakly separated from the posterior margin of the pronotum (widely fused medially in S. aciculatus   ), notauli deep in the posterior half (very shallow in S. aciculatus   ), mesopleuron widely smooth submedially (entirely and weakly rugulose in S. aciculatus   ), and petiole short, its length 1.7 times its posterior width (dorsal view) and 1.3 times the length of the propodeum (3.0 and 0.9 times accordinctly in S. aciculatus   ).


This species is named after Africa, because its type material was collected from a territory near this continent.

Material examined

Holotype UNITED ARAB EMIRATES • ♀; “ United Arab Emirates , Fujairah (1314), light tr., 13–19.iv.2005, 25°08′ N, 56°21′ E. A.v. Harten, RMNH’05”; RMNH. GoogleMaps  

Paratypes UNITED ARAB EMIRATES • 1 ♀; “United Arab Emirates, Fujairah (4117), light tr., 28.ii–1.iv.2006, 25º08′ N, 56º21′ E, A.v. Harten, RNMH’06”; RMNH GoogleMaps   1 ♀; same label data as for preceding; ZISP GoogleMaps   .



MEASUREMENTS. Body length 3.6–4.4 mm; fore wing length 2.5–2.7 mm.

HEAD. Head width (dorsal view) 1.3–1.4 times its median length, 1.2 times width of mesoscutum. Vertex convex. Head behind eyes (dorsal view) subparallel in anterior half and evenly roundness decreased in posterior half. Transverse diameter of eye (dorsal view) 1.4–1.5 times longer than temple. Ocelli small, in triangle with base 1.3–1.4 times its sides. POL almost equal to Od, 0.45–0.50 times OOL. Eye glabrous, in lateral view weakly oblique, its maximum diameter 1.3 times minimum diameter. Malar space 0.5–0.6 times maximum diameter of eye, 1.0–1.2 times basal width of mandible. Face weakly convex, its width 1.1 times maximum diameter of eye, 1.0–1.1 times height of face and clypeus combined. Clypeal suture mainly absent, distinct laterally at short lower part. Ventral margin of clypeus with distinct narrow flange. Hypoclypeal depression medium-sized and oval, its width 0.7–0.9 times shortest distance from edge to eye, 0.4 times width of face. Occipital carina dorsally complete and not broken toward ocellar triangle, not reaching below hypostomal carina and obliterated relatively short distance before mandible base. Hypostomal flange narrow.

ANTENNA. Antenna slender, weakly setiform, 28–29-segmented, almost as long as body. Scape 1.5–1.7 times longer than its maximum width. First flagellar segment 4.2–4.3 times longer than apical width, 1.00–1.05 times as long as second segment. Penultimate segment 3.0–3.5 times longer than width, 0.5 times as long as first segment, 0.9 times as long as apical segment; latter not acuminate apically and without spine.

MESOSOMA. Mesosoma not depressed, its maximum length 1.9–2.0 times its maximum height. Pronotal carina fine, its anterior branch situated submedially and separated from posterior margin of pronotum. Pronotal lateral depression distinct, wide, crenulate, delineated upper and below by carinae. Mesoscutum (lateral view) rather high, subroundly and curvedly elevated above pronotum, its median lobe (dorsal view) distinctly convex anteriorly and without anterolateral corners, without longitudinal median furrow; mesoscutum in dorsal view almost as long as wide. Notauli complete, wide, deep anteriorly and shallow posteriorly, densely crenulate. Prescutellar depression rather deep, wide, with six–seven carinae, 0.4 times as long as scutellum. Scutellum weakly convex, with distinct lateral carinae, almost as long as maximum anterior width. Subalar depression wide, shallow, sparsely rugulose-striate. Precoxal sulcus deep, wide, short, densely crenulate, running along anterior 0.5 of lower part of mesopleuron. Postpectal carina absent. Metanotum with low, wide below and distally weakly acuminate medio-dorsal tubercle (lateral view). Metapleural flange (lobe) narrow, distinct, subrounded distally. Propodeum evenly roundly convex, without lateral tubercles.

WINGS. Fore wing 3.8–4.1 times longer than wide. Pterostigma rather wide, 4.0–4.4 times longer than its maximum width. Radial vein (r) arising weakly behind middle of pterostigma. Radial (marginal) cell not shortened, metacarpus (1-R1) 1.2 times longer than pterostigma. Second radial abscissa (3-SR) 3.3–3.7 times longer than first abscissa (r) and forming with it weakly obtuse angle, 0.6–0.7 times as long as straight third abscissa (SR1), 1.1 times longer than straight first radiomedial vein(2-SR). Second radiomedial (submarginal) cell weakly narrowed distally, its length 3.2–3.5 times maximum width, 1.4–1.6 times length of brachial (subdiscal) cell. Second abscissa of medial vein (2-SR+M) rather long, 0.7–0.8 times as long as recurrent vein (m-cu). Nervulus (cu-a) postfurcal, 1.5–1.6 times longer than distance between basal (1-M) vein and nervulus (cu-a). Mediocubital vein (M+CU1) weakly sinuate to longitudinal anal vein (1-1A). Narrow brachial (subdiscal) cell closed apically weakly behind recurrent vein (m-cu). Parallel vein (CU1a) not interstitial, arising from anterior third of the vein closed brachial (subdiscal) cell distally. Hind wing 5.0–5.2 times longer than its maximum width. First costal abscissa (C+SC+R) 0.5 times as long as second abscissa (1-SC+R). First abscissa of mediocubital vein (M+CU) 0.55–0.60 times as long as second and third abscissa (1-M) combined. Recurrent vein (m-cu) rather short, unsclerotised but pigmented, antefurcal, curved towards base of wing.

LEGS. Fore tibia anterior margin with short and dense spines arranged in long single vertical line. Segments of middle tarsus distinctly longer than their width. Hind coxa rather short, with basoventral corner and small tubercle, 1.3–1.4 times longer than its maximum width. Hind femur thickened, elongate-oval, 3.2–3.3 times longer than wide. Hind tibia with several slender spines on outer distal margin. Hind tarsus 0.95 times as long as hind tibia. Hind basitarsus 0.65 times as long as remaining segments combined. Second segment of hind tarsus 0.45–0.50 times as long as basitarsus, 1.2–1.4 times longer than fifth segment (without pretarsus). Tarsal segments rather slender.

METASOMA. Petiole in lateral view, ventrally weakly evenly curved, dorsally distinctly arched in anterior third and almost straight on remaining part, highest in anterior fourth; in dorsal view, petiole distinctly evenly widening from base towards its apex, with weak spiracular tubercles in anterior quarter and fine dorsope. Length of petiole 1.7 times its posterior width, 1.5 times length of propodeum; posterior width 1.7–1.8 times its width at spiracular level, 2.4–2.5 times its minimum anterior width. Second tergite with separated laterotergites; following tergites without separated laterotergites; laterotergites of second and third tergites fused, without suture. Second suture almost absent. Median length of second and third tergites combined 1.3 times anterior width of second tergite, 0.7–0.8 times their maximum width. Ovipositor straight. Ovipositor sheath 2.0–2.6 times longer than petiole, 0.6–0.8 times as long as metasoma, 0.95–1.20 times longer than mesosoma, 0.50–0.65 times as long as fore wing.

SCULPTURE AND PUBESCENCE. Vertex finely transversely striate in median anterior half, smooth laterally and posteriorly; frons distinctly and densely transversely striate; face entirely with very dense and thin aciculation; temple entirely smooth. Mesoscutum and scutellum with very dense and fine granulation; mesoscutum additionally with two distinctly subparallel median carinae in posterior half and rugulosity between carinae. Mesopleuron widely smooth, with fine reticulation of striation laterally, upper and lower. Propodeum entirely rugose-areolate, with fine granulation anteriorly, with areas rather distinctly delineated by carinae, medio-basal carina in anterior third of propodeum about 1.5 times as long as anterior fork of areola; areola long and narrow, 2.5 times longer than its maximum width. Hind coxa transverse striate dorsally, rugulose-striate with granulation laterally; hind femur fine reticulate-coriaceous, with rugulosity dorsally, almost smooth below. Petiole distinctly and densely striate, with dense rugosity in anterior half. Second and third tergites densely and small reticulate- areolate in wide median areas, smooth posteriorly and laterally. Remainder tergites almost entirely smooth. Vertex mainly with long and very sparse pale setae. Mesoscutum with long and sparse white setae arranged widely along notauli and laterally, glabrous on wide median areas on lobes. Setae of hind tibia semi-erect, medium length and rather dense, their length on dorsal surface 0.9–1.3 times maximum width of tibia.

COLOUR. Head and anterior half of mesosoma light reddish brown with yellowish areas, posterior half of mesosoma and metasoma reddish brown, metasoma laterally with yellowish spots or stripes. Palpi pale yellow. Antenna mainly brownish yellow, infuscate apically on one–two segments. Legs mainly brownish yellow to yellow, all femora with additional elongate dark spots dorsally or ventrally. Ovipositor sheath pale yellow in anterior half, brown to dark brown in posterior half. Fore wing mainly finely infuscate, with several hyaline spots. Pterostigma dark brown in apical half, whitish in basal half.




UAE, Yemen.


Russia, St. Petersburg, Russian Academy of Sciences, Zoological Institute


National Museum of Natural History, Naturalis


Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences