Howickia vernalis (Richards)

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 : 83-86

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.5192.1.1

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Howickia vernalis (Richards)


Howickia vernalis (Richards) View in CoL

( Figs. 3.19 View FIGURES 3.1–3.22 , 22.1–22.9 View FIGURES 22.1–22.5 )

Leptocera (Biroina) vernalis Richards, 1973: 346 View in CoL .

Biroina vernalis (Richards) View in CoL , Marshall, 1989: 602; Roháček et al., 2001: 126.

Howickia vernalis (Richards) View in CoL , Marshall et al., 2014.

Description. Body length: Males 2.3–2.7 mm, females 2.9–3.1 mm.

Head: Orange-brown, darkest just behind ocellar triangle; lower half of frontal vitta yellow, upper half brownish; strips between interfrontal plates and orbital plates orange; frontal vitta, interfrontal plates and orbital plates microtrichose; gena orange-yellow; antenna orange. Frontal width 2.1x interfrontal height. Two pairs of large interfrontal bristles, preceded by a smaller pair (0.5x length of posterior pairs); 2 lateroclinate orbital bristles, anterior bristle 0.5x length of posterior bristle. Gena with strong upcurved bristle and 2–3 smaller setae, finely and densely striate, shiny, lower half microtrichose; vibrissal angle with 2 subvibrissal setae. Face with a small flattened triangle along ventromedial margin; palpus clavate with 1 large apical and 1 large preapical seta. Eye height 2.7x genal height.

Thorax: Dark brown; scutum shiny despite brown microtrichia, lateral edges broadly brown and with pale spot on posterior notopleural lobe. One pair of dorsocentral bristles; 5–6 rows of short, rather stout acrostichal setulae. Prosternum broadened, triangular. Scutellum large, microtrichose, semicircular, its length 0.7x its width; 4 scutellar bristles long, apical pair 2.0x length of basal pair.

Legs: Brown, tibiae proximally (especially so in hind tibia) and distally pale brown; tarsi brown, basal 2 tarsomeres of hind leg dark brown. Male mid tibia with a moderate apicoventral bristle and 2 rows of stout ventral setae, mid femur with 2 corresponding rows of strong proximoventral setae. Basal half of mid tibia with 4 dorsal bristles (2 anterodorsal and 2 posterodorsal), distal half with 3 dorsal bristles (2 anterodorsal and 1 posterodorsal).

Wing/halter: Strongly infuscate. CS2 0.4x length of CS3. R 2+3 very strongly sinuate, curves roughly symmetrical rounded right angled, distal curve meeting costa at an angle of 80˚ above crossvein i-m, sometimes with a short appendage on distal curve; R 4+5 rather strongly upcurved, meeting costa well before wing tip; costa extending past R 4+5 (3x costal width). Halter pale; knob brown and apically pale; stem pale brown.

Male abdomen: Dark reddish-brown with reddish synsternite 6+7 and S8, heavily sclerotized, shiny despite microtrichia. T2–5 and S2–4 sparsely long-setose with large posterolateral setae. S5 broad (width 2.5x length), sparsely long-setose, broadly posteromedially desclerotized with dense microtrichia and several small stout setae anterior to a row of 15–16 stout, flattened teeth along the posteromedial margin. Epandrium small, wedge-shaped, and sparsely long-setose; cercus very large, bulging and out-curved posteriorly with few long setae and dense upcurved setulae along flattened posterior face. Hypandrium medially upcurved and flattened; ventral lobe large, elongate and apicoventrally tapered; posterodorsal lobe elongate, sinuate. Surstylus bilobed: broad inner-anterior lobe rounded and flattened; outer-posterior lobe triangular, slightly curved inwards with many apical setae. Postgonite elongate, proximally with a pair of anterior setulae, gently tapered and curved forwards along apical half, apex rounded into a slight club. Phallapodeme gently sinuate, apex curved downwards into a broad hook; basiphallus elongate, arms gently curved forwards and broadened distally. Distiphallus simple, tubular, sinuate, tapered apically with 2 triangular, highly membranous apicolateral flaps.

Female abdomen: Dark brown, heavily sclerotized, shiny despite microtrichia. T2–5 sparsely long-setose in posterior two-thirds with large posterolateral setae, S2–5 uniformly long-setose along entire surface with large posterolateral setae; pleural membrane with very sparse setae. Preabdomen slightly shorter than length of head + thorax. Postabdomen elongate, narrow, 3.0x length of T5. T6 and T7 reduced to paired lateral plates which may be narrowly joined posteriorly, each bearing 3 and 2 apical setae, respectively. Epiproct rectangular with a slight posteromedial emargination and bearing a dorsomedial pair of setae. Cercus triangular and apically diverging with 3 long sinuate setae (1 apical, 1 basolateral and 1 dorsal) and several smaller setulae. S6 and S7 relatively well-developed, present as microtrichose, trapezoidal plates with some anteromedial desclerotization and bearing a posterior row of 8 setae. S8 reduced to an ovoid, microtrichose plate with medial row of 4 setae. Hypoproct largely desclerotized, rounded, microtrichose with a preapical row of setae. Spermathecae stout, ovoid and deeply grooved; stem short (0.5x length of spermatheca) and cylindrical.

Type material. Holotype: AUSTRALIA: New South Wales: Dorrigo National Park , 12.x.1962, D.H. Colless (♂, ANIC) . Holotype photos provided by James Lumbers, ANIC .

Material examined. AUSTRALIA: New South Wales: 33 km NE Wiangaree, near Tweed Valley Lookout, 1000 m, rainforest, flight-intercept trap,–24.viii.1982, S. & J. Peck (1 ♂, DEBU) ; lower Gibraltar Range , 29˚13’S 152˚22’E, 800 m, rainforest, pitfall trap, 23.ix.1999, J. Holt (1 ♂, DEBU) ; Queensland: Lamington National Park, Binna Burma , 900 m, Nothofagus grove, carrion,–7.vii.1978, S. & J. Peck (5 ♂, 2 ♀, DEBU) ; Mount Glorious , Malaise trap, 27.iv–26.x.1989, A. Hiller (2 ♂, DEBU) ; Springbrook , pan traps, 9–10.iii.1999, S.A. Marshall (1 ♂, DEBU) ; Victoria: Mallacoota National Park , temperate rainforest “Cal.”, 21–26.v.1978, S. & J. Peck (1 ♂, DEBU) .

Comments. The male terminalia of H. vernalis closely resemble those of H. trivittata , with enlarged cerci and similar S5 morphology, but external features of these species are dissimilar. Both species have been collected from some of the same localities in NSW and QLD. Howickia vernalis is externally similar to H. xanthocephala , from which it can be readily distinguished by the strongly S-shaped R 2+3 (straighter in H. xanthocephala ), mid tibia with four dorsal setae in the proximal half (five in H. xanthocephala ), and brown fore tarsus (in H. xanthocephala the apical four tarsomeres are white).


Australian National Insect Collection


Ontario Insect Collection, University of Guelph














Howickia vernalis (Richards)

Kuwahara, Gregory K. & Marshall, Stephen A. 2022

Biroina vernalis (Richards)

Rohacek, J. & Marshall, S. A. & Norrbom, A. L. & Buck, M. & Quiros, D. I. & Smith, I. 2001: 126
Marshall, S. A. 1989: 602

Leptocera (Biroina) vernalis

Richards, O. W. 1973: 346
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