Goetheana shakespearei Girault, 1920

Gumovsky, Alex, 2016, Review of Afrotropical species of Goetheana Girault (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), with description of a new species, Zootaxa 4147 (5), pp. 551-563: 553-556

publication ID


publication LSID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Goetheana shakespearei Girault, 1920


Goetheana shakespearei Girault, 1920 

( Figs 1View FIGURE 1 A, B, 2A, B, 3A –D, 4A)

Goetheana shakespearei Girault, 1920: 97  . For full bibliographic list, see Triapitsyn 2005. Dasyscapus parvipennis Gahan, 1927: 27  ; synonymized under G. shakespearei  by Bouček 1988: 735. Dasyscapus thripsivorous Narayanan, Subba Rao & Ramachandra Rao, 1960: 168  , 169. Synonymized under G. shakespearei 

by Bouček 1988: 735.

Diagnosis. Mesosoma uniformly dark brown, head pale brown to yellow in reflected light ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 A, B); fore wing with apical area (beyond venation and apart from row of setae along extreme wing margin) setose, with at least two rows of setae arising from stigmal vein and another row of setae extending parallel to lower wing margin ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2 A, B). Male with scape notably wide, about 1.2× as long as broad, pale brown to yellow in reflected light ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 A –D). Comparative notes. Annecke (1962) provided illustrations and a re-description of this species (reported as G. parvipennis  ) based on material collected in South Africa (Skukuza) and on comparative specimens obtained from the Neotropics ( Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago). He stated that males of G. shakespearei  and his newly described G. incerta  are easily distinguishable, but that females of the two species are more difficult to discriminate between. Nevertheless, he stated that longer antennal segments and fore wings, as well as absence of regular, fine, parallel and readily discernible “lines of sculpture” on the metasoma, were diagnostic for females of G. shakespearei  as compared to those of G. incerta ( Annecke 1962)  . Triapitsyn (2005) did not provide any differential characters for females of the two species, and stated that females of Goetheana  species are quite similar to each other.

My comparative studies of Annecke’s microscopic slides did not reveal any discernible characters suitable for differentiating females identified by him as “ G. parvipennis  ” and “ G. incerta  ”, including those characters listed above. Freshly collected females also demonstrate wide variation in the wing and body character states and may represent both G. shakespearei  and G. incerta  . Also, the South African specimens identified by Annecke as “ G. parvipennis  ” (7 females and 1 male) were collected in the same area (and within the same time period) with the type specimens of G. incerta  (5 females and 2 males, see below). The species identity of the females of these “ G. parvipennis  ” therefore requires confirmation. Similarly, Annecke’s (1962) diagnosis of G. incerta  females might have been generated from morphological observations on a mixture of G. shakespearei  and G. incerta  .

Sculpture on the propodeum was another putative diagnostic character that was expected to be useful to differentiate G. shakespearei  from G. incerta  . Males of the former species have the propodeum nearly smooth medially and have a somewhat weaker sculpture laterally ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4 A) than the latter species, which have these areas more distinctly alutaceous ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4 B). If constant throughout their ranges, this character might be expected to be of some value for distinguishing females of the two species as well. However, the character is of gradual nature and any evaluation of its diagnostic value should be tested on a larger comparative series of specimens from various regions.

Based on the above, only males are referred to here as confirmed representatives of G. shakespearei  and fieldcollected females are referred as G. shakespearei  / G. incerta  (see below). Correspondingly, the females reported by Annecke as “ G. parvipennis  ” may belong to both above mentioned species.

Although males of G. shakespearei  are easily distinguishable by their considerably expanded antennal scape ( Figs 1View FIGURE 1 A, B; 3A –D), they otherwise exhibit considerable morphological variation. Males from the Neotropics have a somewhat longer, though still rather wide scape (1.35–1.4× as long as wide, Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 B, D), than the males from the Afrotropics (1.2–1.25× as long as wide, Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 A, C). Also, F2 and CL1–3 are notably longer than broad for Neotropical males of G. shakespearei  ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 B, D), whereas these segments are wider than long for Afrotropical males referred to this species ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 A, C). As a result, the ratio of flagellum/pedicel is about 2.3 for Neotropical males ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 B, D) and 1.7–1.9 for Afrotropical males ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 A, C). The fore wing is also longer for Neotropical males (about 8.7× as long as its width in the narrowest part, Fig. 2View FIGURE 2 B) than for Afrotropical males (about 8.0×, Fig. 2View FIGURE 2 A). Consequently, the diagnostic value of these characters, as well as the species status of the different populations of what is recognized as G. shakespearei  requires a separate study (see below, Discussion section).

Material examined. Specimens identified as Goetheana parvipennis (Gahan)  by D.P. Annecke: Ƌ, two slides: with body under one small ring cover slip and with antennae and wings on another, “ Goetheana parvipennis (Gahan)  , det. Annecke ”, “ƋN, T14, South Africa, Skukuza , Tvl., i.1960, D. P. Annecke, Suction trap ” ( SANCAbout SANC)  . Specimens identified as “ Dasyscapus parvipennis  ”: Ƌ, slide with body under one small ring cover slip, wings, head and antennae under separate cover slips, Venezuela, “T 531”, “ Ell Valle, D.F., D1”; Ƌ, ibid., D2; Ƌ, ibid., Venezuela, 29 Sept. 1943, E. McC. Callan, D 3”; Ƌ, ibid., D4”; 2 Ƌ, slides with body under one ring cover slip, Trinidad and Tobago, “ Trinidad ”, “ Dasyscapus parvipennis Gahan  , reared from Selenothrips rubrocinctus  , Trinidad, B.W  . I., March 1936, P. Alteck” ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1 A) (SANC). Reared material (females are putatively assumed to be conspecific with males): Ƌ, 2 ♀ (in gelatine capsule), South Africa, Kranskloof nr. Buffelspoort Dam , Magaliesberg , Tvl., 16. III.1993, with Lecanodiaspis  sp., on Dombeya rotundifolia (S. Neser)  , AF 2488, SANCAbout SANC Pretoria Database No. HYMC 05228, “ Goetheana  sp. J. Huber det., 2006” ( SANCAbout SANC)  .

Other material: 11 Ƌ, Republic of South Africa, Limpopo Province, Phalaborwa, Molengraaf Farm, between the Palabora Copper Mine and Phalaborwa town , yellow pan traps, 25.V.2014 (A. Gumovsky & C. Davies) ( SIZKAbout SIZK)  ; Ƌ, Johannesburg, Northcliff , ex hort: suburban garden, S 26°8’26.149”, E 27°57’40.349”, yellow pan traps, 30.IX.2015 (A. Gumovsky); 7 Ƌ, ibid., 01–03.X.2015, under Kiggelaria africana  ( SIZKAbout SIZK, SANCAbout SANC)GoogleMaps  ; Ƌ, Namibia, ~ 20 km SE Tsumeb, Baltimore Farm , yellow pan traps, 18–23.VIII.2014 (A. Gumovsky); Ƌ, Senegal  , Dakar, Botanical Garden of the Cheikh Anta Diop University , near pond, 03.IV.2008 (A. Gumovsky) ( SIZKAbout SIZK)  ; 30 Ƌ, Tanzania, Mkomazi Game Reserve, Ibaya camp, S 3°58’, E 37°48’, Acacia  spp bushveld, yellow pan trap, 9– 10.XII.1995, SAM-HYM PO15128, PO15129, PO15132, PO15134, PO15137 (S. van Noort) ( SAMCAbout SAMC)GoogleMaps  .

Hosts. Various thrips species of Thripidae ( Noyes 2015)  , including the agricultural pests Selenothrips rubrocinctus (Giard) ( Clausen 1978)  , Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché) ( Hessein & McMurtry 1989)  , and Ceratothripoides claratris (Shumsher) ( Murai et al. 2000)  . Occurrence of this parasitoid appears seasonal in South Africa, its adults being most numerous in the dry winter seasons, but hardly collected in the rainy summer seasons.

Distribution. Nearly cosmopolitan ( Triapitsyn 2005, Noyes 2015). Afrotropical: Ghana ( Clausen 1978), Ivory Coast ( Triapitsyn 2005), Namibia, Tanzania, Senegal (new records) and South Africa ( Annecke 1962). However, as noted above, the specific status of the different populations requires confirmation.

After initially recorded from Australia ( Girault 1920) and Java ( Gahan 1927), the species was mentioned in two catalogues of parasitoids and predators ( Thompson 1955; Herting 1971). In the former catalogue it was recorded from Ghana, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, whereas the records in the latter catalogue chiefly originated from the Neotropics (Bermuda, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela). Some of the records are likely to have been based on specimens studied later by D.P. Annecke (1962) and discussed in this paper. Goetheana shakespearei  (identified as this species due to the expanded antennal scape of males) was released for control of thrips in Trinidad and the Bahamas in 1935 and in USA (California, Florida) in 1962 and 1982 ( Viggiani & Nieves-Aldrey 1993; Bennett et al. 1993). Thereafter the species was recorded from various regions, and assumed to be G. shakespearei  based on distinctive morphological markers, i.e. the expanded antennal scape of the males (for example, Peck 1963, De Santis 1979, Schauff 1991, and others).


Agricultural Research Council-Plant Protection Research Institute


Schmaulhausen Institute of Zoology


Iziko Museums of Cape Town














Goetheana shakespearei Girault, 1920

Gumovsky, Alex 2016


Goetheana shakespearei

Boucek 1988: 735Narayanan 1960: 168Gahan 1927: 27Girault 1920: 97