Melobasis fortipunctata, Levey, 2018, Levey, 2018

Levey, Brian, 2018, A revision of the Australian species of the genus Melobasis Laporte & Gory 1837 (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), Part 2 (Revision of the nervosa species group), Zootaxa 4528 (1), pp. 1-79: 25-26

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Melobasis fortipunctata

sp. n.

M. fortipunctata   sp. n.

(Figs 7, 47–50, 106–107, 151, 185, 191–192, 197, 202–203)

Type locality: Western Australia, Marloo Stn., Wurarga   .

Type specimens examined. Holotype ♂ ( ANIC) Marloo Stn., Wurarga, W.A. 1931–1941, A. Goerling   / HOLOTYPE Melobasis fortipunctata   sp. n. B. Levey 2012. Paratypes as follows: Western Australia: 1♂, 6♀ ( ANIC, BLC, NMWC) same data as Holotype   .

Other specimens examined. The following specimens have been excluded from the paratype series since they show some differences which may indicate they belong to a closely related undescribed species, however there are not enough specimens to justify description at this time. The aedeagus of two dissected male specimens from Dedari differ from the holotype and male paratype from Wurarga, being less strongly narrowed behind the setae bearing part of the parameres (Figs 49–50), there are also slight differences in the shape of the antennal segments. Western Australia: 2♂, 1♀ ( WAMA) Dedari, H.W. Brown, du Boulay coll.   ; 4♀ ( IRSNB, BLC) Dedari W. Austr. Dec. – Jan. ex coll. C. Deuquet   ; 1♂, 2♀ ( ANIC) Dedari , W. Aust. H.W. Brown, 20.1.1937. on Acacia   , ex S.R.E. Brock coll.   1♂, 3♀ ( BLC, BMNH, NMVA) Southern Cross , 21.1.1937, on Acacia     ; 1♀ ( SAMA) Southern Cross , H.W. Brown   .

Diagnosis. General diagnosis: length 12.3–13.4 mm; head and pronotum blackish bronze sometimes with a slight reddish purple or bronze-green reflection; elytra deep lilac, reddish purple to purple-brown with the following gold, greenish gold or blue-green markings: a narrow sutural vitta in the basal quarter; a broad slightly sinuate humeral vitta just internal of the humeral callosity, the same length as the sutural vitta; a pair of elongate approximately elliptical median maculae, one overlapping and external to the 1 st costa, one slightly closer to the base next to the lateral margin; an elongate ovate pre-apical macula external of the 1 st costa; underside greenish to blackish bronze, with coppery or reddish purple reflections on the glabrous central parts.

Head (Fig. 151): very densely to contiguously punctate with small strong ovate punctures, which are arranged in dorso-ventrally orientated linear series over most of the vertex and frontoclypeus; moderately densely clothed with long silvery pubescence; ridges between the punctures shiny; clypeal excision shallow U- or V-shaped with a fairly broad, impunctate, weakly microreticulate border; clypeal peaks slightly obtuse to right angled; vertex flat, slightly more than half width of head across eye when viewed from above; eyes very strongly convex.

Antenna (Figs 191–192): sexually dimorphic; ♂ serrate from segment 3–10, the expanded part approximately triangular, segments 5–10 petiolate in basal half (Fig. 191); ♀ serrate from segment 3 or 4–10, segments 3 or 4–8 with expanded part more or less triangular and slightly petiolate at base, segments 9–10 much shorter than preceding segments, almost as wide as long (Fig. 192).

Pronotum: 1.43–1.65 as wide at base as long in midline; anterior margin weakly bisinuate with a poorly developed broad median lobe, with a narrow beaded margin, often absent in the central third; posterior margin weakly biarcuate; widest near mid-length; lateral margins very weakly rectilinearly diverging from basal angles to widest point, sometimes nearly parallel sided in basal half, before weakly curvilinearly converging to apical angles; basal angles acute; as wide as, or very slightly narrower at base as elytra at base; lateral carina very slightly sinuate, about half to two-thirds complete; punctation in central-sixth moderately densely punctate with small, weak, round punctures; punctation lateral to this area dense to very dense, the punctures larger and stronger, transversely elliptical, becoming round in the lateral quarter; sometimes with an incomplete narrow impunctate median line; moderately densely clothed with moderately long silvery pubescence in lateral third.

Scutellum: approximately quadrate to shield shaped, about one-tenth width of elytra at base.

Elytra: 2.29–2.47 × as long as wide at base; basal margin weakly biarcuate to biangulate, slightly widening from base over the humeral callosities, thence almost parallel sided to mid-length, before narrowing to the rounded or sub-acute apices; lateral margins in apical third and apices with small acute serrations; sutural margins slightly raised in apical half; each elytron with a well defined costa bordering the subsutural depression, usually extending from the basal quarter to the apical sixth, sometimes with slight indications of one or two poorly defined costae, lateral to this costa; subsutural depression sparsely, to moderately densely punctate, with tiny, weak, round or pinprick punctures; remainder of elytra, except for the poorly defined costae, densely to very densely punctate with small, stronger, transversely elliptical punctures, which often form tranverse series near the lateral margin; weakly microreticulate.

Hypomeron: very densely punctate with small round punctures mostly obscured by dense, long, silvery pubescence.

Prosternum: with a narrow bead at the anterior margin; the anterior margin at the same level as the area behind; prosternal process slightly, to strongly widening behind the fore coxae, moderately densely punctate, with small round punctures, glabrous (Fig.185).

Mesanepisternum: very densely punctate, with small, round, shallow punctures, mostly obscured by long silvery pubescence.

Central part of metaventrite, inner part of metacoxa, central part of abdominal ventrites, glabrous, more sparsely and weakly punctate than lateral parts of these structures, which are densely to very densely punctate, and densely clothed with long silvery pubescence, which partly obscures the punctation.

Apical ventrite (Figs 106–107): lunate punctures coalescing to form grooves parallel to the lateral margin; excision in ♂ broad, W shaped, with the flange produced at the centre as a broad truncated lobe, with well developed parallel lateral spines (Fig. 106); ♀ narrow, deep, U-shaped, the flange slightly developed, the lateral spines well developed parallel (Fig. 107).

Fore tibia: ♂ slightly curved, with a few small teeth on the ventral face, only the one nearest the apex obvious, and a slightly developed setal brush (Figs 202–203); ♀ teeth absent.

Mid tibia: ♂ slightly curved, with a few widely spaced teeth on the inner face (Fig. 197); ♀ almost straight, without teeth.

Aedeagus (Figs 47–50): parameres strongly widening towards the base; apical setae bearing part with numerous, large, slightly curved, spine-like setae, in addition to the usual long fine setae; median lobe with a rounded tip.

Ovipositor: not examined.

Comments. This species is likely to be confused with M. breviserrata   sp. n. which has similar elytral markings and a similar overall appearance. In addition to the differences mentioned in the key, the parameres of the aedeagus are more strongly widened towards the base, the apical setae bearing part is relatively narrower and the fore tibia lacks the large backwardly directed tooth at the apex found in M. breviserrata   sp. n.

Etymology. The name comes from the relatively stronger denser punctation of the prosternal process in comparison to M. breviserrata   sp. n.

Bionomics. Adults have been collected on Acacia coolgardiensis   . Larval host A. coolgardiensis   (Hanlon pers. comm.)


Australian National Insect Collection


National Museum of Wales


Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique


South Australia Museum