Kokominiagraecia dicra Rentz, Su and Ueshima, 2021

Rentz, Dcf, Su, You Ning & Ueshima, Norihiro, 2021, Studies in Australian Tettigoniidae: New short-winged Agraeciini from Australia (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae; Conocephalinae; Agraeciini), Zootaxa 5059 (2), pp. 1-72: 31-33

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Kokominiagraecia dicra Rentz, Su and Ueshima

Gen. et sp. nov.

Kokominiagraecia dicra Rentz, Su and Ueshima   Gen. et sp. nov.

ANIC Number: Nicsara sp.   12

( Fig. 1E View FIG ; Figs 17 View FIG A-P; Fig. 20K View FIG ; Fig. 21B View FIG ; 22b E View FIG ; Table 5, Map 7)

23 Named with reference to the Kokomini indigenous tribe that occupied part of the area inhabited by this genus. Feminine gender. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokomini

Common name. Northern Imposter Katydid

History of recognition.

The placement of this species in the ANIC as “ Nicsara sp.   12” suggests similarity to Nicsara   and Larifugagraecia species.   However, this appears to be superficial when the species are examined in detail. The colour and pattern are remarkably convergent if the two are separate taxa (Compare Figs 17A, B View FIG with 19A, B).

Holotype male. 1. “ 17 o 24.740S 145 o 20.995E (car) Silver Valley Rd (nr Herberton) QLD. 941 m 25 JAN. 2017 DCF Rentz Stop 5”. 2. “ ANIC database #14008756” GoogleMaps   . Holotype in Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra.

Paratypes. Queensland. 16 o 55’S 145 o 35’E (G54S) Clohesy River Rd., 5.2 km from Jct Kennedy Hwy, Dinden State Forest, 419 m, 18.i.2013 (DCF Rentz, Stop 4, GoogleMaps   1 male, 4 females ANIC). 16 o 53’58.84”S 145 o 33’48.38”E (GE) Grievson Rd, nr Koah, 394 m, 16.i.2019 (DCF Rentz, Stop 2, 1 male, ANIC). 17 o 41.317’S 145 o 05.253’E (car) Nymbool Rd to Lappa, SE of Mt Garnet, 707 m, 10.xi.2017 (DCF Rentz, Stop 43, 1 male, ANIC). 16 o 18’S 145 o 05’E Mt Windsor Tableland, (S. edge of scarp) NNW of Mt Carbine, 15.i.1988 (DCF Rentz, Stop A-6, 1 male reared from eggs laid in laboratory, hatched 4.v.1988, matured 25.xi.1988, Cytol. Prep. 88-343; Song recorded S-669, ANIC; additional male hatched 19.v.1988, matured 20.xi.1988, ANIC). 16 o 40’S 145 o 15’E ( GPS) 17 km SE of Mt Molloy on “Toll Rd”, E. of Lake Mitchel, 14.xii.2010 (DCF Rentz, B Richardson, 1 female, ANIC). 16 o 50’S 145 o 28’E ( GPS) Bilwon, Bilwon Rd, nr Bibhoora), 476 m, 1.viii.2016 (DCF Rentz, Stop 43, 1 female, collected as nymph, matured in laboratory 10.x.2016, ANIC). 16 o 49.661’S 145 o 28.394’E Hodzic Rd., State Forest, Koah, 381 m, 27.vi.2020 (DCF Rentz, Stop 14, 1 male, collected as nymph, matured in laboratory 15.x.2020, ANIC). 16 o 46’S 146 o 15’E ( GPS) 17 km SE of Black Mtn. Rd on “Toll Rd” (E. of Lk Mitchell) 6.xii.2010 (DCF Rentz, B Richardson, Stop 18, 1 female, ANIC). 17 o 01’S 145 o 22’E Granite Gorge, 6 km W. by S. of Mareeba, 19.iii.1988 (DCF Rentz, Stop A-23b, ANIC). 17 o 02.116S 145 o 02.380’E (car) Mt Mulligan Rd NW of Dimbulah, ca. 10 km NNW of Leadingham Ck Rd, 557 m 29.iv.2016 (DCF Rentz, Stop 24, 1 male, ANIC). 17 o 24.740’S 145 o 20.995’E (car) Silver Valley Rd, (nr Herberton) 941 m, 25.i.2017 (DCF Rentz, Stop 5, 1 male, 4 females, ANIC). 17 o 25’S 145 o 04E 15 km W. of Irvinebank, 27-28.xi.1981 (J Balderson, 1 male, ANIC). 17 o 06’16.46”S 145 o 32’59.32”E (GE) Mt Edith Rd, 1 km N by E of Tinaroo Rd, 871 m, 28.x.2013 (DCF Rentz, Stop 13, 1 male, 1 female, ANIC). 17 o 38S 145 o 22E 12 km W. by S. of Ravenshoe, 8.xii.1985 (J Balderson, 1 male, DCF Rentz, Cytol. Prep. 86-8; Song recorded, S-392, ANIC). 18 o 06S 144 o 50E Forty Mile Scrub Nat. Pk, 55 km SW by S. of Mt Garnet, 29-30.xi.1981 (J Balderson, 1 male, ANIC).

Type locality. The type locality is an area of natural vegetation under powerlines. This more or less guarantees its continued existence. However, the area is periodically burned and requires more than a year for the katydid population to return to normal. But this may benefit the katydid as this promotes new growth and shorter herbs and grasses which they seem to prefer.

Measurements. See Table 5

Differential diagnosis. Overall body shape robust and small ( Figs 17A, B View FIG ). Colour of most specimens similar, however, some individuals lack stripes on the frons and the holotype has the dorsal surface of the fore tibiae dark brown. Head The fastigium of the vertex of the holotype bears a minute longitudinal sulcus ( Fig. 17F View FIG ). Antennal scape, pedicel and flagellum distinctively coloured ( Figs. 17D, F View FIG ); knees fore and middle femora dark brown, somewhat annulate ( Figs. 17A, B View FIG ); eye dark brown. Head strongly slanting, produced well in front of pronotum ( Fig. 17C View FIG ); frons mostly smooth, minute reticulations laterally; genae minutely, irregularly wrinkled; fastigium of vertex short, spike-like, on some specimens (holotype) bearing a minute longitudinal sulcus ( Fig. 17C View FIG ); eye prominent, bulging, positioned high on head ( Fig. 17D View FIG ); median ocellus small, faint ( Fig. 17F View FIG ), appearing absent on some specimens, lateral ocelli absent. Thorax. Pronotum with surface minute wrinkled, shining ( Fig. 17C View FIG ); no carinae; lateral lobes shallow ( Fig. 17B View FIG ), with a swelling or blister over the thoracic auditory opening; anterior margin of disk straight to feebly convex, posterior margin truncate ( Fig. 17C View FIG ); margins of lateral lobes undulating. Thoracic auditory structure circular, wholly concealed by pronotum. Prothorax unarmed; meso- and metathorax with lobes rounded, not produced ( Fig. 17I View FIG ). Legs. Legs short, stout. Fore coxa armed with a short robust tooth. Foreleg with femur short, stout, surface vitreous, armed ventrally on both margins with minute spines, the anterior margin bearing 0-3 spines, posterior margin with 4 spines; tibia stout, feebly bent distad of auditory foramen, unarmed dorsally, ventral surface with 6 spines on each side. Midleg shorter than foreleg, cylindrical, slightly swollen; femur unarmed dorsally, ventral surface with 3, 5 spines on anterior margin, posterior margin 0-2 minute spines; tibia unarmed dorsally, ventral surface with 6 spines on each margin. Hind leg with femur robust, extending to end of abdomen at rest ( Figs 17A, B View FIG ), ventral surface armed only externally with 5, 6 spines positioned in distal half; tibia with many spines dorsally and ventrally, apex armed dorsally with a pair of elongate spines, ventral surface with a pair of much smaller spines on each side. Genicular lobes of fore and middle femora unarmed, hind femur with a minute tooth on each side. Tegmina. Tegmina minute ( Figs 17G, H View FIG ), costa absent of feebly developed, subcosta and median elongate, with a few cross veins apically; stridulatory area with stridulatory vein short, stout, with a second similar vein bordering mirror, the latter of which lacks any internal venation; remaining veins reticulate and heavy, cells irregular in outline; wing represented as a short, elongate flap lacking venation; stridulatory file nearly straight ( Fig. 20K View FIG ) short, teeth rather broad. Abdomen. Tenth tergite ( Fig. 17J View FIG ) well produced, apex with a shallow U-shaped median incision. Cercus rather simple ( Figs 17 View FIG L-N), dorsal surface with apex bearing an obtuse or truncated broad projection ( Fig. 17L View FIG ); ventral surface bearing a stout tooth, wholly concealed from above, external margin bearing a smaller tooth also concealed from above ( Fig. 17M View FIG ). Phallic complex ( Fig. 17O View FIG ) very membranous, feebly sclerotised; basal membranous portion with weakly sclerotised callouses, arms delicate and covered by membrane except at apex; apical portion bifurcate on each side, the arms thin and weakly sclerotised; subgenital plate typical of tribe, with shallow median incision, style elongate ( Fig. 17K View FIG ).

Female Differs from male in following characters. Size slightly larger ( Table 5); tegmina overlapping and only slightly extending to first abdominal segment ( Fig. 17C View FIG , costa indicated, subcosta and radius prominent, remainder of tegmen reticulate; tenth tergite apically narrowly incised; cercus elongate tapering ( Fig. 17P View FIG ); subgenital plate with relatively broad median incision, laterally somewhat setose ( Fig. 17P View FIG ). Ovipositor falcate, unarmed ( Fig. 17B View FIG ).

Colouration. Overall colouration mottled grey and brown ( Figs 17 View FIG A-C, E). Head usually with a pair of divergent stripes defining the genae ( Fig. 17D View FIG ), occasionally, these stripes are absent; top of head dark brown, antennal scape and pedicel and rims dark brown or black, flagellum yellow brown, not annulate ( Fig. 17A View FIG ), ventral surface of fastigium of vertex black ( Fig. 17F View FIG ); occiput uniformly grey. Pronotum greyish brown, with 2 parallel stripes, the lateral lobes and margins of disk uniformly grey brown ( Fig. 17C View FIG ). Ventral surface grey to straw brown. Legs grey brown except base of all tibiae and adjacent femora black. Tarsi grey brown except pad of third segment slightly darker than the others. Abdomen mottled grey brown with small faint creamish white speckles. Ovipositor uniformly straw brown, not darker at tip.

Species identification. Easily recognised by the overall appearance with mesopterous tegmina in both males and females. Male cerci are distinctive ( Figs 17 View FIG L-N) as is the phallic complex ( Fig. 17O View FIG ). Females have a tapering cercus and an elongate, falcate unarmed ovipositor. The colour and pattern are almost uniform amongst all the specimens we have examined.

Distribution. Known from a broad range of localities and habitats in the Tablelands west of Cairns, Queensland ( Map 5 View MAP ).

Habitat. Occurs in grasslands and open savannahs, often not far from rainforests but never therein.

Seasonal occurrence. Adults of K. dicra   can be found during the wet season (summer). Nymphs mature overwinter ( Fig. 17E View FIG ). Eggs from captive females were laid in moist cotton in individual containers. They showed no indication of diapause and individuals matured about 6 months after the eggs were laid. The nymphs thrived on the Orthopteran Food Mixture (see Henderson et al., 2008).

Stridulatory file. The stridulatory file consists of 75 lamellar teeth around with those at the proximal end gradually narrowing to smaller and more closely spaced teeth at the distal end ( Fig. 20K View FIG ). Compare with Coptaspis sp.   , from 9 km WNW of Berry, New South Wales, Fig. 20L View FIG .

Song. A soft buzz ( Fig. 21B View FIG ) performed at night.

Karyotype. 2n male =29 (2m + 26t +Xm) Fig. 22b E View FIG Upper left gonial metaphase, right diakinesis, bottom 2 nd metaphase.

Comments. This unobtrusive small katydid is unusual in several respects. It is uncommon but easy to discover after dark. The behaviour is entirely nocturnal. It feeds on flowers, seeds and small insects. Males sing from perches shortly after dark. Stridulating males can be discovered using the Mini-Bat detector or similar device. The calling song is soft and probably not detectable by human ears. During the day individuals conceal themselves in leaf litter.

Discussion. The overall similarity of Coptaspis species   and Kokominiagraecia dicra   is rather astounding. Originally, this species was thought to be an odd Nicsara species   but careful observation absolved that conclusion. Instead, this katydid is very similar to members of the southern genus Coptaspis   . The structure of the head, pronotum, tegmina and short legs along with the short overlapping female tegmina, the shape of the ovipositor and its lack of armature is also shared by both of these taxa.

Coptaspis species   occur in heathland habitats in the south-eastern portion of Australia, including Tasmania. There is a gap of several thousand kilometres between the northernmost record of a Coptaspis species   and the southernmost known K. dicra   sp. nov. At this stage we are convinced that they represent distinct. K. dicra   is odd amongst agraeciines in the absence of prosternal processes. The male titillators are unique. With Coptaspis species   the main titillator arms are almost parallel but undulating and apically acute ( Fig. 19J View FIG ). With K. dicra   they are odd in that the arms of the titillators are very weakly sclerotised and are apically branched on each side ( Fig. 17O View FIG ). This is somewhat suggested by the titillators of the very different Cooloolagraecia gubbi Gen.   & sp. nov., p 29 which has the tips minutely divided. The stridulatory file of Coptaspis species   is elongate, and almost straight with lamellar teeth in the middle ( Fig. 20L View FIG ), but rather similar to that of K. dicra   ( Fig. 20K View FIG ). However, a further argument for including Kokominiagraecia dicra   in Coptaspis   could be with the cytology of the two. The chromosome number of species in both genera (2n male= 29). Once molecular samples are analysed, the situation may necessitate placement of K. dicra   in Coptaspis   .


Australian National Insect Collection