Aphropsylla truncata Hastriter, 2009

Hastriter, Michael, 2009, A description of four new species of fleas (Insecta, Siphonaptera) from Angola, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, and Peru, ZooKeys 8 (8), pp. 39-61 : 45-47

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https://doi.org/ 10.3897/zookeys.8.82

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scientific name

Aphropsylla truncata Hastriter

sp. nov.

Aphropsylla truncata Hastriter View in CoL , sp. n.


( Figs.1 View Figures 1-4 , 5-7 View Figures 5-9 , 10, 12 View Figures 10-13 , 14-16 View Figure 14-18 )

Type Material. Holotype, ♁; allotype ♀, and11 ♁, 10♀ paratypes, Ethiopia: Bale Province , Bale Mts. , Bale National Park , Dinshu (sic) Dinsho [̴ 6°46’N, 39°40’E], 3018 m elev., ex. “bird nest, nest four feet from ground”, 22 II 1973, R. Traub and J. Ash (12 slides B-74177: 12 ♁, 9♀, 2 slides B-74176: 2♀); 8 ♁, 8♀ paratypes, same data as holotype except ex. “mossy bird nest in tree”, 19 II 1973 (8 slides B-74129); 1 ♁, 1♀ paratypes same data as holotype except ex. “mouse nest on bird nest in bush”, 20 II 1973 (1 slide B-74150); 1♀ paratype, same data as holotype except ex. “ Dendromus [Smith, 1829] nest, nest ̴ 5 feet from ground”, 21 II 1973 (slide B-74173); and 1♀ paratype, same data as holotype except ex. “ Dendromus nest atop bird nest on bush, nest ̴ 5 feet from ground”, 21 II 1973 (slide B-74174). Primary types and all paratypes except for 6 paratypes (3 slides B-74177) in the author’s collection are deposited in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA. GoogleMaps

Diagnosis. Male easily distinguished from A. conversa and A. wollastoni by the short truncate shape of P1 (length <1.5 greatest width vs. length>2.5 x greatest width), the presence of a spiculated intersegmental membrane between the lobes of S-VIII, and one seta of fourth hind tarsal segment extended beyond base of distotarsomere 3. Female sex of A. wollastoni unknown. Female sex of A. truncata separable from A. conversa by 1) ventral anal lobe broader, ventrally oblique at apex, and adorned with setae on distal half, 2) anal stylet 3 x as long as greatest width vs.>4 x as long as width in A. conversa , 3) T-VIII without deep marginal sinus as A. convera , 4) first genal tooth <half length of adjacent tooth, nearly as long as adjacent tooth in A. conversa , 5) 7-8 genal teeth vs. 8-9 in A. conversa , and 6) one seta of fourth hind tarsal segment extending beyond base of distotarsomere 3.

Description. Head (cf. Figs. 1-4 View Figures 1-4 ). Anterior frons vertical, abrupt obtuse angle caudad to antennal groove (female more angular). Numerous minute coniform pegs on anterior preantennal area. Two large ocular setae; patches of four minute setae below and 10 setae above dorsal ocular seta. Gena with 6-7 sharp darkly pigmented ctenidia (female = 7-8). Small lightly pigmented sharp spine ventrad to apex of genal lobe. Th ree placoids evenly distributed along margin of frons, single placoid near occipital groove (female same except with two placoids along dorsal occipital area and single placoid laterally). Lucodiscs (appear pearly as tiny shiny air bubbles) occur 1) two between eye and genal ctenidia, 2) one anterior to genal spine, 3) one dorsad of clavus, 4) two laterally on each thoracic segment and each abdominal T-I-VII and S- II-VIII (female without lucodisc on S-VIII). Eye large, oval, darkly pigmented. Antennal segments stubby and broad. Scape with numerous slender setae; pedicel with marginal long setae extending to 3/4 length of clavus. Ventral clavus of male with first seven segments fused (all fused in female). Genal lobe produced upward to enclose most of antenna within fossa. Postantennal area with three rows (1, 1, and 4) setae (female = 1, 3, and 6). Occipital groove with dense cluster of minute setae within darkly pigmented groove. Penultimate segment of labial palpus shortest; second segment longest. Maxillary lobe stout, acutely pointed; lobes of five segments, extended 1/2-3/4 length of fore coxa. Thorax ( Fig. 5 View Figures 5-9 ). Each segment with erect dorsal mane; pronounced on pronotum. Pronotum with single row five setae with intercalaries. Pronotal ctenidia of 12-13 in male (female = 15-16). Base of pronotal ctenidia with peduncle and pit-like incrassations. Meso- and metanota each with row of five marginal setae with intercalaries; mesonotum with dorsal anterior patch of ̴30 minute scattered setae, metanotum with anterior row of two setae. Prosternosome stout; without lateral depression; first link plate bar-like without prosternosomal notch. Second link plate robust, spiracle small. Mesepimeron with single dorsal seta; three ventral setae. Mesepisternum without setae; mesosternum quadrate, extended down. Pleural rod bifurcate dorsally. Mesothoracic spiracle mesal and borne in cup-like stalk. Lateral metanotal area and metepisternum fused, with partial sulcus only; single seta in each area. Metasternum quadrate and jutting downward. Pleural ridge and furca fused and stout; pleural arch unusually thick and massive. Metepimeron with two vertical rows (6-7 anterior, 7-8 posterior); spiracle round and dorsad to dorsal most setae. Legs ( Figs. 15, 16 View Figure 14-18 ). Procoxa with 28-30 lateral setae (excluding marginals). Lateral sulcus of mesocoxa interrupted. Metacoxa with mesal group of 18-20 short spiniform setae. Profemur with five small lateral setae; one small mesal seta. Femoral-tibial guard setae two on all segments; lateral shortest or thinner of two. Margin of fore, mid and hind tibiae with 5, 6, 6 dorsal notches, respectively. Number of setae in respective dorsal notches: fore tibia (beginning with proximal notch) (1, 2, 2, 2, 2), mid tibia (1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3), hind tibia (2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 4). Lateral setae of meso- and metatibia, respectively (5, 13). Apical seta of hind tarsomere II extended well onto distotarsomere. Distotarsomeres each with 4 pairs lateral plantar bristles, 2 spiniform preapical plantar bristles; in addition to usual preapical lateral hairs. Numerous fine setae on plantar surfaces of distotarsomeres. Unmodified Abdominal Segments ( Fig. 5 View Figures 5-9 ). T-I with three rows of setae; T-II-VII each with single row of setae with intercalaries. Lowest setae level with round spiracles. Four minute setae on keel of S-II. One lateral seta on S-III-VII (female with one seta on S-II-VI and two on S-VII). Three antesensilial bristles; mesal and lateral vestigial. Sensilium with 14 sensilial pits. Modified Abdominal Segments, Male ( Figs. 6, 7 View Figures 5-9 ). Tergum VIII reduced; without setae. Tergum IX with P1 narrow at base, expanded and truncate at apex. P2 ventrolateral to P1, lobate with 6-7 caudally directed setae of which one is long. Cylindrical trichoid sensilium with two apical setae. Sternum VIII with seven lateral setae; dorsal lobe subtended by shallow sinus. Distal arm of S-IX broader at base than apex; apex hooked caudad. Caudal margin fringed with numerous fine setae, lacking apodemal rod. Spiculated intersegmental membrane connecting mesal area of S-VIII. Aedeagus ( Fig. 14 View Figure 14-18 ). Aedeagal apodeme long and narrow. Penis rods exceed apex of aedeagal apodeme. Ventral lateral lobe expanded ventrad. Median dorsal lobe hood-like at dorsoapical margin. Sclerotized inner tube with dorsal spine on basal third; confined within phallosome. Crochet large and bilobed; ensheathed within lateral lobe. Modified Abdominal Segments, Female ( Figs. 10, 12 View Figures 10-13 ). Tergum VIII with four lateral setae and two marginal setae on broad lobe; several short spiniform mesal setae. Sternum VIII angled apically; with longitudinal striations, no setae. Dorsal anal lobe triangular; anal stylet robust with two lateral short setae and long apical seta. Ventral anal lobe broad with ventrally oblique apex; setae numerous on apical half. Fibula vaginalis sclerotized. Cribriform area of spermatheca at ventroapical aspect of bulga. Bulga spherical. Bulga and hilla subequal in length; no demarcation between them.

Length (slide mounted specimens): Holotype 2.4mm, male average: 2.4mm (n = 13; range: 2330-2641 µm); allotype 2.3mm, female average: 2.4mm (n = 14; range: 1986-2806 µm).

Etymology. The species name “ truncata ” is derived from truncus (L.) or “cut off”, which is descriptive of the male eighth tergite (P1) unique to this species of Aphropsylla .

Remarks. All specimens were collected in an arboreal situation from a nest. Nests were either individual bird nests, or a Dendromus nest associated with a bird nest. It is significant that 39 specimens from three different collections were collected from a bird nest unassociated with a mammal nest, while only two collections yielding only 3 specimens were collected from Dendromus nests associated with the same type of “mossy” bird nests. It would appear that this species is biologically associated with a bird and that the mammal is an accidental host species. It is unfortunate that the bird species is unknown; however, judging from the nest materials, height of nests, elevation, and endemic locality of Dinsho, likely candidates might be the Black Headed Sisken ( Serinus nigriceps Ruppell ) or other local species of the genus Serinus Koch. Th ese bird species should be investigated as possible avian host species.

The genus Aphropsylla (Archaeopsyllini Oudemans) has several unique features shared by few other genera. A dense array of fine setae lining the recess of the occipital groove is present in males. In other flea taxa, this area is usually devoid of setae, or is limited to sparse or unapparent setae. Another unusual feature is the presence of lucodiscs, a term coined by Traub and Johnson (1952) and first identified in the distant related genus Stenoponia Jordan & Rothschild. Within the tribe Archaeopsyllini , lucodiscs also occur in the genera Archaeopsylla Dampf and Ctenocephalides Stiles & Collins. Th e author was unable to examine the other two rare genera in this tribe ( Centetipsylla Jordan and Nesolagobius Jordan & Rothschild) to determine the presence of lucodiscs. All three genera in the tribe Hystrichopsyllini Tiraboschi ( Atyphloceras Jordan & Rothschild, Hystrichopsylla Taschenberg , and Typhloceras Wagner ) also have lucodiscs. It should be noted that lucodiscs are distinct morphological entities present in defined patterns, which are species specific. They may have significance in identification criteria and phylogenetic relationships. Lucodiscs are not the subject of this paper; however, their prevalence among the order Siphonaptera deserves further investigation beyond this discussion.


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile













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