Howickia cruspica, Kuwahara & Marshall, 2022

Kuwahara, Gregory K. & Marshall, Stephen A., 2022, A revision of the Australian species of Howickia Richards (Diptera: Sphaeroceridae: Limosininae), Zootaxa 5192 (1), pp. 1-152 : 95-98

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.5192.1.1

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Howickia cruspica

sp. nov.

Howickia cruspica View in CoL sp. nov.

( Figs. 26.1–26.5 View FIGURES 26.1–26.2 )

Description. Body length: Female 1.8 mm.

Head: Yellow, areas between frontal vitta and orbital plates orange-yellow; frontal vitta striate and shiny, orbital plates microtrichose; gena yellow; antenna yellow, apically pale. Frontal width 1.5x interfrontal height, frontal vitta narrow. Two pairs of large interfrontal bristles preceded by a smaller pair (0.6x length of posterior pairs); 2 lateroclinate orbital bristles, anterior bristle 0.6x length of posterior bristle. Gena with large upcurved bristle and 2 smaller setae, finely and densely striate, shiny, lower third microtrichose; vibrissal angle with 2 very fine subvibrissal setae. Face shiny with a very small flattened triangle along ventral margin; palpus clavate with 1 large apical and 1 large preapical seta. Eye height 2.0x genal height.

Thorax: Dark brown; scutum shiny despite microtrichia, posterolateral corners yellow-brown and with pale spot on posterior notopleural lobe; posterodorsal corners of anepisternum and katepisternum lighter brown, katatergite black. Two pairs of dorsocentral bristles (anterior pair 0.6x length of posterior pair); 6–7 rows of long, fine acrostichal setulae. Prosternum narrow, linear, posteriorly expanded. Scutellum microtrichose, subquadrate, its length 0.5x its width; 4 scutellar bristles long, apical pair 1.5x length of basal pair.

Legs: Brown, fore and mid femora caramel-brown and distally paler, hind femur dark brown, tibiae paler than femora; tarsi dirty-white. Mid basitarsus with a distinctly enlarged ventral seta; hind femur with a large curved apicoventral spur. Basal half of mid tibia with 5 dorsal bristles (3 anterodorsal and 2 posterodorsal), distal half with 3 dorsal bristles (2 anterodorsal and 1 posterodorsal).

Wing/halter: Wings significantly reduced, extending to about midpoint of T4; veins reduced but all identifiable: CS2 0.5x length of CS3; R 2+3 sinuate, meeting costa above crossvein i-m; R 4+5 strongly upcurved, meeting costa well before wing tip; costa slightly overpassing R 4+5. Halter slightly reduced and pure white.

Male abdomen: Male unknown.

Female abdomen: Black, shiny despite dense microtrichia. T2–5 and S2–5 heavily sclerotized, sparsely longsetose; pleural membrane with sparse setae. Preabdomen slightly shorter than length of head + thorax. Postabdomen largely retracted into preabdomen, with only last few segments exposed, broad as far as can be seen and likely 3.0x length of T5. T6 and S6 hidden; T7 and S7 reduced to pairs of L-shaped plates, each bearing a posterior row of 2–3 setae. Medial plate of T8 appears to be absent or greatly reduced. Epiproct elongate, rhombic, centrally split into two equal lateral halves, each bearing a dorsal seta. Cercus elongate rectangular with 3–4 long sinuate setae (2 apical, 1 lateral and 1 dorsal) and several smaller setulae. S8 a broad, rectangular, posteriorly microtrichose plate with a posterior row of setae. Hypoproct broad but short, posteriorly microtrichose with a row of setae.

Material examined. Holotype: AUSTRALIA: Victoria: Warburton, Cement Creek , 200 m, 28.iv–7.v.1978, S. Peck (♀, ANIC).

Etymology. This species name refers to the enlarged apicoventral hind tibial spur (Latin ‘crus’: leg; Latin ‘spica’: spike, dart, spear).

Comments. Howickia cruspica is known from a single female specimen but is easily distinguishable from all other species of Howickia . This species was included in Howickia due to synapomorphies shared with known species of Howickia (mid tibia with paired proximal and distal dorsal bristles, sinuate R 2+3, curved R 4+5, telescopic female terminalia with reduced postabdominal sclerites). Without a male specimen of H. cruspica , it is impossible to determine whether this species has the defining hypandrial characters of Howickia , but the synapomorphies listed above provide some support for the placement of H. cruspica in this genus.

Howickia cruspica has the largest wing of the three brachypterous species of Howickia , and is the only species of Howickia to have an enlarged apicoventral spur on the hind tibia. The only other brachypterous species known from VIC, Howickia sabina ( Richards, 1973) , has a striped frons, a shorter gena, smaller wings, no apicoventral spur on the hind tibia, and only two dorsal setae on the basal half of the mid tibia.


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