Alfius, Reid, 2006

Reid, Chris A. M., 2006, A taxonomic revision of the Australian Chrysomelinae, with a key to the genera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), Zootaxa 1292 (1), pp. 1-119 : 1-119

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.1292.1.1

publication LSID

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scientific name


gen. nov.

Alfius   gen. nov.

( Figs. 1–14 View FIGURES 1–3 View FIGURES 4–9 View FIGURES 10–14 , 28 View FIGURES 27–32 )

Type species. Oomela pictipennis Lea, 1929   , here designated. Diagnosis

Frons with deep vertical groove along inner margin of eye; short temples behind eyes; eyes laterally projecting; apical maxillary palpomere not expanded to apex; trichobothrium present in each corner of pronotum; prosternal process triangular; procoxal cavities open, gap at least half coxal width; epipleura laterally visible; third tarsomeres not deeply bilobed; apex male last ventrite slightly convex.


Adult with attributes characteristic of Chrysomelinae   (vide supra) and the following diagnostic combination of states.

Body ( Figs. 1–2 View FIGURES 1–3 ): moderately broad and convex, length to width ratio 1.6, length to height ratio 2.0–2.2. Length 3.7–5.3mm. All known species have yellow elytra with dark markings.

Head ( Figs. 3–4 View FIGURES 1–3 View FIGURES 4–9 ): not flattened or produced, nor deeply inserted in prothorax; abruptly constricted behind short temples (0.5x eye width), eyes laterally projecting; eyes separated by more than 2 eye lengths; without trichobothrium near inner margin of eye; large, roughly quadrate, swelling present posterior to base of antenna, continuing as a ridge along entire inner margin of eye, demarcated from middle of frons by deep vertical groove extending from posterior of swelling at base of antenna to behind eye, groove separated from or shallowly connected to deep arcuate groove at junction of frons and clypeus between antennae, endocarinal groove absent or very short; clypeus not produced; fine lateral ridge between lower margin of eye and posterior margin of buccal cavity; all antennomeres elongate or 9–10 quadrate, 1 flat on one side, twice width 2, 3–11 flattened, 6 shorter than 5 or 7, 7–11 expanded and densely pubescent, increasing in width and length from 8 to 11; mandibles not anteriorly produced, apices bidentate, outer face inconspicuously setose; first maxillary palpomere ventrally convex, without sharp leading edge, second transverse, third palpomere as wide as second, 1.5–2.5x longer, flattened, with truncate apex and curved sides; submentum strongly transverse, width>2x length, apex not bilobed.

Thorax ( Figs. 1–2 View FIGURES 1–3 , 5–7 View FIGURES 4–9 ): pronotum smooth, without grooves or punctate depressions, slightly swollen above lateral margins; hind edge pronotum not margined but with row of elongate punctures broken at middle, lateral and anterior edges finely margined; each anterior trichobothrium in middle of rounded apical angles, posterior in middle of 90º basal angles; pronotum transverse­rectangular, with strongly convex basal margin and strongly concave anterior margin, sides contracted towards apices; hypomeron smooth, not laterally grooved; prosternum without lateral ridges; prosternal process triangular, with raised lateral margins converging on median ridge or reaching anterior margin of prosternum, without basal angular lobes, apex truncate or shallowly concave; procoxal cavities open, gap between hypomeral lobe and prosternal process at least half width of procoxa; scutellum semi­ovate; base of elytra slightly overlapping base of pronotum; elytral disc with 9 regular but sparsely punctured striae, sutural striole present; elytra without tubercles, stria 5 deeply grooved at base; epipleuron narrow, less than 0.2x width of elytron, entirely visible from sides, not attenuate before elytral apex, slightly sinuate, without setae; two internal elytral spicule patches, the posterior on a longitudinal ridge; wings fully­developed, yellowish, with one cell and three leading veins in anal region; mesoventrite process visible, anterior and posterior margins straight or almost so, strongly transverse, width at least 4x length; metepisternum impunctate, glabrous, without groove by outer margin; metaventrite borders smoothly and evenly ridged, not medially raised, anterior lobe truncate; hind femora fusiform, dorsal margin not evenly convex, without ventral keels; all tibiae with flat inner surface margined by two keels and smoothly convex external surface, slightly swollen at middle, apices not abruptly expanded, without stout spines; all male first tarsomeres elongate­ovate, with ovate ventral patch of spatulate setae; relative lengths hind tarsomeres: 5 1>3 2, third with shallowly concave apex; fifth not ventrally toothed; tarsal claws free, divergent by 180º, with right­angled appendiculate lobe.

Abdomen ( Figs. 8–14 View FIGURES 4–9 View FIGURES 10–14 ): pygidium not medially grooved; ventrites free, not fused, laterally margined, without large setiferous punctures; first ventrite with truncate transverse intercoxal process, without femoral plates, raised anterior margination thin, with crenulate posterior edge; apical margin of ventrite V not serrate; male ventrite V not apically lobed, truncate; female ventrite V not medially depressed; male genitalia: penis without flagellum, strongly curved in profile, basal foramen longer than half penis length; tegmen Y­shaped, stem and arms of almost equal length; female genitalia: female sternite VIII without basal spiculum or projection; paraprocts present; vaginal palp 2­segmented; spermatheca present, U­shaped.

Distribution and biology

The genus is found in rainforest in north­east (1 species) and south­east Queensland (2 species). Food plants are unknown but one specimen was collected from Drymophila   ( Liliaceae   ). Since no other Australian Chrysomelinae   are known from Liliaceae   this is probably a casual record. Larvae and pupae are unknown. The species are probably rare; 21 specimens of the 3 species have been seen.

Etymology The generic name is derived from the family name Alfi, gender masculine.

Included species

Alfius   includes three species formerly placed in Oomela (Lea 1929)   : A. hieroglyphicus (Lea)   , A. pictus (Lea)   and A. pictipennis (Lea)   . The last is selected as type species because it is best represented in collections.

Alfius pictipennis   is similar in size and colour to its congeners, A. hieroglyphicus   and A. pictus   . These three species are most easily separated by subtle differences in the elytral colour pattern, as illustrated by Lea (1929: 231), and by distribution: A. pictipennis   is confined to north Queensland; A. pictus   is known from ranges at Brisbane and 80 km further north; A. hieroglyphicus   is known from the border ranges between Queensland and New South Wales. All are rare in collections.

Material examined

Alfius hieroglyphicus   : Lectotype (this designation): ♂ / hieroglyphica Lea   type [Lamington] National Park/ National Park Q H. Hacker Nov 1920 / 4438/ Oomela hieroglyphica Lea   Queensland type/ Paropsimorpha hieroglyphica (Lea) M. Daccordi 1996   / Lectotype ♂ Oomela pictipennis Lea   designated C. Reid 2005/ (QMB); paralectotype: ♀ / same data as lectotype and mounted on same pin, with label / Paralectotype ♀ Oomela pictipennis Lea   designated C. Reid 2005/; non­types: ♂ / Warrie Nat. Pk Springbrook SEQ 29.xi.1982 J. Conron/ Chrysomelidae CH   3 net sweep 7.30 ex Drymophila   / conron 13/ (QMB); ♀ / Mt Tamborine 10.i.1929 H. Hacker/ (QMB). The lectotype has been dissected, with the penis dry­mounted.

Alfius pictus   : Holotype: ♀ / Brookfield H. Hacker/ picta Lea   type Brookfield/ 4439/ Oomela picta Lea   Queensland type/ Paropsimorpha picta (Lea) M. Daccordi 1996   / (QMB); non­type: ♀ / Maleny 10.i.29 H. Hacker/ (QMB).

Alfius pictipennis   : see below.

Systematic position of Alfius  

The species of Alfius   were originally placed in Oomela Lea   , but this resemblance is superficial. Oomela   differs in many features, including: frons without grooves beside eyes; head without temples behind eyes; procoxal cavities closed; stria 5 not deepened at base.

Species of the genus Alfius   are morphologically most similar to species of Phyllocharis Dalman   , Tinosis Weise   and Paropsimorpha Lhoste Two   of the three species have been placed in Paropsimorpha (Daccordi 2005a)   . Paropsimorpha   can be distinguished from Alfius   by: frons without vertical grooves beside eyes; eyes not laterally prominent; no ventral ridge between eye and mouth; third maxillary palpomere quadrate or transverse, not longer than second; metepisternum punctured; last abdominal ventrite either trilobed (male) or depressed (female); penis asymmetric. All species of this genus are at least 1mm longer than the largest Alfius species.   Tinosis   is distinguished from Alfius   by: frons without deep groove near but separated from eyes ( T. bicolor   is grooved along the eye margin); trichobothria present near hind margin of eyes; third maxillary palpomere elongate­conical; prosternal process broad, quadrate or transverse, and lateral ridges (if present) not anteriorly convergent; second tarsomere at least as long as first. Phyllocharis species   can be distinguished from Alfius   by: basal edge of pronotum margined; procoxal cavities closed; edges of prosternal process not ridged.

The type species is redescribed, as follows: