Brinckiella Chopard, 1955

Naskrecki, Piotr & Bazelet, Corinna S., 2009, A species radiation among South African flightless spring katydids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae: Brinckiella Chopard), Zootaxa 2056, pp. 46-62: 48-49

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.186707


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Brinckiella Chopard, 1955


Brinckiella Chopard, 1955  

Chopard 1955: 274 >>original description, in Meconematinae   ; type species: Brinckiella viridis Chopard, 1955   , by monotypy

Naskrecki 1996: 193 >>redescription, in Phaneropterinae   ( Barbitistini   )

Description (male, except where specified)

General. Body very small for Phaneropterinae   , slender to moderately robust, cylindrical; male brachypterous to apterous, female apterous; legs elongate to extremely elongate ( Figs. 4 View FIGURE 4 A–E, 5 A–E.)

Head. Head hypognathous; frons vertical, flat; antennae more than three times as long as body; antennal scapus unarmed. Eyes globular to oval, moderately protruding. Fastigium of frons small, separated from fastigium of vertex by distinct gap, fastigium of vertex very narrow, as wide as 1 / 6 – 1 / 5 of scapus, blunt apically and not reaching apex of antennal sockets, grooved dorsally. Lateral and median ocelli absent.

Thorax. Pronotum surface smooth, nearly flat, without lateral carinae; humeral sinus of pronotum absent; lateral lobe from about as long as high to twice as long as high; marginal fold of pronotum very narrow, smooth; anterior margin of pronotum flat, broadly rounded; metazona flat, posterior edge of metazona flat to slightly raised; straight or broadly rounded when seen from above. Prosternum unarmed, sternum flat, sternal lobes poorly developed to absent. Thoracic auditory spiracle very small, slit-like, fully exposed or only partially hidden under lateral lobe of pronotum, without any setation on inner margins ( Fig. 3 View FIGURE 3 Q.)

Legs. Legs proportionately long to extremely long and slender. Front coxa unarmed; front femur unarmed ventrally, round in cross section; genicular lobes of front femur armed with one or two small spines on both sides. Front tibia with both dorsal margins armed with small spines, and both ventral margins armed with several spines; tibial spines short, about half as long as tibia diameter; apical dorsal spines of front tibia present or absent (sometimes within the same species); tympanum bilaterally open, oval, about twice as long as wide. Mid femur unarmed ventrally, genicular lobes of mid femur armed with one to two small spines on both sides; mid tibia not noticeably thickened in basal part, armed dorsally on both margins. Hind femur elongate, slightly thickened at base, evenly tapering towards knee; unarmed ventrally to armed with small spines on both ventral margins, genicular lobes of hind femur unarmed or armed with single spines on both sides; dorsal spines of hind tibia of equal size on both edges; consecutive spines of similar size.

Wings. Tegmen reduced, shorter than pronotum and fully exposed, not covered by pronotum at its basal part; rounded, about as long as wide; anterior margin rounded; costal field not dilated at base; tegminal venation strongly reduced; both left and right stridulatory areas coriaceous, without well developed mirror ( Fig. 3 View FIGURE 3 J.) Stridulatory file flat, nearly straight to weakly bent, with 41–55 teeth ( Figs. 1 View FIGURE 1 K–N;) hind wing absent. Males of some species apterous; female of all species apterous.

Abdomen. Tenth tergite unmodified to strongly sclerotized and overhanging epiproct; epiproct small and rounded; unmodified; paraprocts unmodified. Cercus short, nearly straight to strongly curved, with or without inner lobes or dilatations; apex usually sclerotized. Phallus almost entirely membranous, sometimes with weakly sclerotized elements covered with minute dentation ( Figs. 3 View FIGURE 3 A–D.) Subgenital plate narrowly to broadly trapezoidal, straight apically; styli cylindrical, about twice to three times as long as wide, parallel; separated by small gap, held horizontally. Female subgenital plate variable, with or without posterior lobes.

Ovipositor. Ovipositor nearly straight to strongly curved, usually shorter than half of hind femur; dorsal edge of upper valvula usually parallel to lower valvula, smooth or distinctly serrated; apex pointed, often with minute dentitions on both lower and upper valvulae.

Egg. Egg elongate, spindle-shaped, straight to distinctly bent, cylindrical in cross section; without external appendages; egg coloration black ( Figs. 3 View FIGURE 3 M– O.)

Coloration. Coloration green to yellow, with variable markings. Antennae concolorous; antennal scapus without markings. Face pale green, sometimes with white markings; eyes uniformly colored. Pronotum green, sometimes with darker markings dorsally, bordered by light stripes continuous with those on rest of thorax. Tegmen mostly dark brown, with costal area lighter than rest of wing. Legs with basal parts sometimes darker or lighter than distal parts; hind femur uniformly colored; genicular lobes of legs without markings; abdominal sterna sometimes with median white stripe and pair of lateral, longitudinal white stripes; abdominal terga with variable markings; subgenital plate without markings; ovipositor green, with brown apical portion.

Diagnostic remarks. The genus Brinckiella   can be identified among other Phaneropterinae   by the unique size and position of the thoracic auditory spiracle, which in this genus is small, slit-like, and fully exposed ( Fig 3 View FIGURE 3 Q.) In all other members of the subfamily the thoracic auditory spiracle is large and positioned under the lateral lobe of the pronotum, sometimes nearly completely hidden by the lobe ( Fig 3 View FIGURE 3 P.) The fastigium of frons is very poorly developed in Brinckiella   , but usually well developed in other brachypterous Phaneropterinae   . The fastigium of vertex is narrow, at the most as wide as 1 / 5 of the scapus, and grooved dorsally, while in other brachypterous Phaneropterinae   the fastigium of vertex is at least as wide as half of the scapus. In its overall appearance Brinckiella   resembles species of the western Palaearctic genus Leptophyes Fieber   , sharing a similar size and position of the male tegmina, and the shape of the ovipositor, which is devoid of large valvular teeth, typical of most Barbitistini   and Odonturini   . They differ, however, in the characters outlined above. Brinckiella   is also the only genus of the Phaneropterinae   , in which females, and sometimes males, are entirely apterous. Many genera of the Phaneropterinae   (e.g., Poecilimon Fischer-Waldheim   , Barbitistes Charpentier   , Leptophyes   , Kurdia Uvarov   , Metaplastes Ramme   , Phonochorion Uvarov   , Monticolaria Sjöstedt   , Dichopetala Br.   -Watt., Peronura Karsch   , Arachnitus Hebard   , Odontura Rambur   , Peropyrrhicia Br.   -Watt., and several others) display strong brachyptery in the males, but none has apterous females, albeit females in some genera are squamipterous, and their vestigial wings may be entirely hidden under the pronotum. Among the Tettigoniidae   few taxa display complete aptery in both sexes. The three known species of the monogeneric subfamily Phasmodinae   from Western Australia are apterous ( Rentz 1993), and so is the peculiar Argentine genus Apteropedetes Gurney and Lieberman   ( Tettigoniinae   .) Apterous females are known in the Australian Tympanophorinae   , and a few genera of the Tettigoniinae   (e.g., Platydecticus Chopard.   )

Among southern African Phaneropterinae   Brinckiella   can be confused only with Austrodontura Fontana and Buzzetti   , from which it differs in the complete aptery of females (females of Austrodontura   are brachypterous), a smooth, pointed ovipositor (the ovipositor is strongly serrated and rounded apically in Austrodontura   ), a much narrower fastigium of vertex, and the position of the male tegmina (partially hidden under the pronotum in Austrodontura   .) These two genera also differ in their time of adult activity – September/October for Brinckiella   and February/March for Austrodontura   .

Chopard (1955) originally placed Brinckiella   in the Meconematinae   , but upon reexamination of the holotype Naskrecki (1996) transferred it to the tribe Barbitistini   of the Phaneropterinae   . Now, however, after an examination of an extensive sampling of several species of this genus, it appears that Brinckiella   is not closely related to any known genera of Barbitistini   or Odonturini   , tribes with the preponderance of brachyptery. Instead, Brinckiella   probably represents a case of an independent loss of flight and, in some cases, wings altogether. It is unclear what existing genera Brinckiella   might be related to, and it is possible that this genus represents a unique lineage within the Phaneropterinae   , warranting a separate tribe. Its relationships to other Tettigoniidae   will be investigated in near future using a wide range of morphological and molecular characters, and should appear in a separate publication devoted to the phylogeny of katydids.