Metommatius Hull, 2010

Scarbrough, A. G., 2010, An overview of the Afrotropical Ommatiinae (Diptera: Asilidae) with a key to genera, Zootaxa 2540, pp. 1-47 : 21

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Metommatius Hull

new status

Metommatius Hull , new status

Fig. 108

Ommatius (Metommatius) Hull, 1962: 436 (as subgenus Ommatius ; type species: Ommatius aegyptius Efflatoun 1934: 66 ). Scarbrough & Marascia , 2000: 157. Revision.

Coquillett (1910) designated Asilus marginellus Fabricius, 1781 the type of genus of Ommatius . This species Ommatius marginellus has the style with setae in two well defined rows. However some species have setae in only a single row. Hull (1962) proposed the subgenus Metommatius to include those species that possessed setae in a single rank (row) below the style, selecting O. aegyptius as the type species. Earlier Efflatoun (1934) noted some variation in the alignment of setae in O. aegyptius and questioned the validity of using this character to separate taxa. Later Bromley (1964) rejected Hull’s subfamily because of this variability. In a study of the subgenus Scarbrough and Marascia (2000) found that setae were in only one rank though the length and number per species varied from quite short to long and 3 to 9, respectively. Further, the status of the taxa was supported by the glabrous mesonotum, absence of scutellar marginal and ventral femoral bristles, a horizontal tubular aedeagus, and long, sometimes convoluted, spermathecae ( Scarbrough and Marascia 2000). Lastly this is the only group taxa of Afrotropical species studied that lack stout marginal scutellar bristles. These differences distinguish it from all Ommatius in this region. Thus I propose elevating the subgenus to generic level.

Distribution. Common in southern and eastern Africa as far north as Egypt and Israel. Only two records exist from the west coast, Togo and Ghana ( Fig. 108). Adults were captured with hand nets and malaise traps in all months of the year except June and July. They were found in a variety of habitats including savanna woodlands (thornveld), acacia grassland, coastal dune vegetation (grass, brush, forest), and forest nursery. Label of one specimen stated ‘in the house’, suggesting that it was captured indoors.

Remarks. This small genus has 4 species: aegyptius ( Egypt, Israel), planatus ( Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe), politus ( Kenya, South Africa), and puchellus ( Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe).

Metommatius politus (Scarbrough and Marascia)

NEW RECORDS. KENYA, Coast Province / Muhaka Forest, Malaise / trap, 9– / 4 o 19.47’ S, 39 o 31.45’E / R. Copeland (1 ♂, USNM) GoogleMaps ; same data except dates, 4–9.viii.1999 (1 ♂, NMKE) GoogleMaps , 10–17.x.1999 (1 ♀, NMKE) GoogleMaps , 15–22.ix.1999 (1 ♀, NMKE) , 16–23.iv.2000 (1 ♀, USNM) , 22–29.xii. 1999 (1 ♂, USNM) ; Coast Prov. / Arabuko-Sokoke Forest / 3 o 25.21’ S, 39 o 53.81’E 29.iv–5.v.2000 / R. Copeland (1 ♀, USNM) GoogleMaps ; Nyanza Prov. / Gembe Hills 1362 m / 0 o 29.36’ S, 34 o 14.60’E / Malaise trap, 15–22.i.2005 / R.S. Copeland (2 ♂, NMKE) GoogleMaps ; Nyanza Prov. / Rusinga Island ; 1206 m, / 0 o 23.240’S, 34 o 10.995’E / Malaise trap, 15–21.xi.2004 / R.S. Copeland (1 ♂, 1 ♀, NMKE) GoogleMaps ; same data except dates, 28.xi.– / 5.xii.2004, R.S. Copeland (1 ♂, USNM) GoogleMaps .


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


National Museum of Kenya












Metommatius Hull

Scarbrough, A. G. 2010

Ommatius (Metommatius)

Scarbrough, A. G. & Marascia, C. G. 2000: 157
Hull, F. M. 1962: 436
Efflatoun, B. H. C. 1934: 66