Howickia kurandensis (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 : 52-56

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.5192.1.1

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Howickia kurandensis (Richards)


Howickia kurandensis (Richards) View in CoL

( Figs. 3.10 View FIGURES 3.1–3.22 , 13.1–13.9 View FIGURES 13.1–13.5 )

Leptocera (Popondetta) kurandensis Richards, 1973: 358 View in CoL .

Popondetta kurandensis (Richards) View in CoL , Marshall, 1989: 605; Roháček et al., 2001: 206.

Description. Body length: Males 2.5–4.9 mm, females 3.5–4.7 mm.

Head: Yellow, dull except frontal vitta, darker at level of ocelli, ocelli thinly bordered by black, area around bases of orbital bristles brownish; orbital plate with thin band of pale microtrichia; gena yellow; antenna yellow. Frontal width 1.7x interfrontal height; frontal vitta slightly impressed and narrow. 3–4 pairs of moderate interfrontal bristles preceded by a slightly smaller pair 0.8x length of posterior pairs; 2 lateroclinate orbital bristles, anterior bristle 0.6x length of posterior bristle. Gena with strong upcurved bristle and 10 smaller setulae, finely and densely striate, shiny; vibrissal angle with 3 subvibrissal setae. Face centrally protruding with an impressed triangular groove along ventromedial margin; palpus clavate with 1 large apical and 1 larger preapical seta. Eye height 2.1x genal height.

Thorax: Black; scutum shiny despite brown microtrichia, posterolateral edge thinly lighter and with pale spot on posterior notopleural lobe; anepimeron with lighter posteroventral spot. Two pairs of dorsocentral bristles (anterior pair 0.5x length of posterior pair); 11–12 rows of long, fine acrostichal setulae. Prosternum broadened, triangular. Scutellum microtrichose, semicircular, its length 0.7x its width; 4 scutellar bristles long, apical pair 2.0x length of basal pair.

Legs: Orange, mid and hind femora dark brown proximally; first 2 tarsomeres of fore leg brown, distal 3 white, tarsi of other legs orange. Male mid tibia with 2 rows of stout ventral setae, mid femur with 2 corresponding rows of strong proximoventral setae. 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: Entirely infuscate with dark spots at crossveins. CS2 2.0x length of CS3. R 2+3 sinuate, curves roughly symmetrical, distal curve meeting costa at an angle of 50˚; R 4+5 sinuate, meeting costa well before wing tip; costa ending at R 4+5. Halter pale; knob white; stem pale brown.

Male abdomen: Black, heavily microtrichose and sclerotized. T2–3 rugose, uniformly long-setose in posterior two-third with large posterolateral setae. S5 broad (width 3.0x length), heavily microtrichose, densely setose along posterior edge with small, densely setulose, posteromedial desclerotized triangle with many small setae laterally. Epandrium large, bulging and densely long-setose; cercus slightly expanded, subtriangular with 1 long seta and numerous smaller setae. Hypandrium medially strongly sinuate; ventral lobe broad, triangular, and extending from main part at an 80˚ angle with an additional elongate lobe just anterior; posterodorsal lobe sinuate, slightly expanded posteroventrally. Surstylus bilobed: anterior lobe rectangular with numerous lateral setulae; posterior lobe triangular with many sinuate setae along ventrolateral edge, anteriorly with a large ventral thorn-like seta and posteroapically with a large curved thorn-like seta. Postgonite elongate, sinuate, proximally with a pair of anterior setulae, middle third with a rounded emargination, distal third tapered with numerous minute anterior setulae, apex curved forwards into a rounded knob. Phallapodeme gently sinuate; basiphallus short, sinuate, and truncate. Distiphallus divided into two distinct sections, largely sclerotized: basal two-thirds heavily sclerotized with a large, triangular, saddle-like dorsal sclerite and a large, sinuate ventral sclerite articulating to form a tube; distal third with a Y-shaped, tapered anterodorsal sclerite bent into a 60˚ angle and a flattened ventral sclerite fused laterally into a tube supporting a membranous apex.

Female abdomen: Black, heavily microtrichose and sclerotized. T2–5 uniformly long-setose in posterior twothirds with large posterolateral setae, S2–5 uniformly long-setose along entire surface with large posterolateral setae; pleural membrane with setal patches. Preabdomen subequal to length of head + thorax. Postabdomen elongate, narrow, 2.9x length of T5. T6 relatively well-developed, present as a “hollow” rectangular plate and bearing a posterior row of 5–6 setulae; T7 reduced to a pair of elongate, curved plates, each bearing a pair of apical setae. Epiproct reduced to a pair of narrow, shiny, medially broadened, heavily sclerotized plates, each bearing a dorsomedial seta. Cercus elongate with 3 long sinuate setae (1 apical, 1 basolateral and 1 dorsal) and several smaller setulae. S6 a well-developed rectangular plate bearing a posterior row of 8 setae; S7 separated medially into 2 lateral plates, each bearing a single anteromesial seta and a posterior row of 3 setae. S8 an ovoid, posteriorly microtrichose plate with a deep anteromedial emargination and a patch of setae. Hypoproct largely desclerotized, rounded, microtrichose with a 2 lateral patches of setae. Spermathecae short, stout, spherical and entirely smooth; stem slightly shorter than length of spermatheca and cylindrical with a large base.

Type material. Holotype: AUSTRALIA: Queensland: Kuranda , 21.v.1958, D.K. McAlpine (♀, AMSA).

Paratypes: AUSTRALIA: Queensland: Kuranda , 17,20. v.1958, D.K. McAlpine (3 ♀, AMSA; 2 ♀ BMNH) .

Material examined. AUSTRALIA: Queensland: Kauri Creek , 1 km SW, 17˚09’S 145˚35’E, 700 m, rainforest, dung pitfall, 10–11.ii.1999, D.J. Cook (4 ♂, 1 ♀, DEBU) ; Kauri Creek , 1 km SW, 17˚09’S 145˚35’E, 700 m, rainforest, dung pitfall, 10–11.ii.1999, Monteith & Cook (1 ♂, 1 ♀, QMBA) ; Kjellberg Road, Malaan National Park (formerly Dirran State Forest ) boundary, 920 m, 17˚32’00”S 145˚35’00”E, rainforest, fungus pitfall, 6–9.ii.1999, Monteith & Cook (6 ♂, 1 ♀, QMBA) ; Lake Barrine National Park, Crater Lake , sweeping, 10.iv.1999, S.A. Marshall (4 ♂, DEBU) ; Lake Eacham, Chamber’s Lodge , 19˚35’S 142˚19’E, pan traps, 6–8.iv.1999, S.A. Marshall (1 ♂, 1 ♀, DEBU) ; Lake Eacham, Chamber’s Lodge , pan traps, 6–8.iv.1999, S.A. Marshall (6 ♂, 1 ♀, DEBU) ; Millaa Millaa Falls , 17˚30’00”S 145˚37’00”E, 800 m, rainforest, dung pitfall, 6–9.ii.1999, G.B. Monteith (3 ♀, QMBA) ; Mount Hugh Nelson , south base, 17˚31’S 143˚33’E, 1080 m, rainforest, rotten bait, 7–9.ii.1999, Monteith & Cook (5 ♂, QMBA) ; Mount Hypipamee National Park , 19˚43’S 143˚11’E, dung, 11.iv.1999, S.A. Marshall (2 ♀, DEBU) ; Mount Hypipamee National Park , dung, 11.iv.1999, S.A. Marshall (1 ♂, 2 ♀, DEBU) ; Mount Murray Prior , 16˚56’S 145˚51’E, dung traps, 7–8.xii.1998, G. Monteith (7 ♂, 4 ♀, QMBA) .

Comments. The type specimens of Howickia kurandensis were not examined, but this distinctive species can be readily distinguished from all other Australian sphaerocerids by the large body size (2.5–4.9 mm) and bright yellow-orange head and legs contrasting with the black thorax. All other macropterous species of Howickia with orange or yellow heads (such as H. nitidipleura or H. xanthocephala ) have dark legs.

Richards (1973) described Popondetta (as a subgenus of Leptocera ) largely on the basis of its “broadly rectangular” (as in the type species, P. vittigera Richards from New Guinea) or “more triangular” (as in P. kurandensis) prosternum, which is a poor defining character because of its homoplastic nature (rectangular and triangular prosterna are described by Richards in Biroina , Monteithiana , and Howickia ) and the variability of the trait itself in the genus (rectangular and triangular are quite different from each other). In the same paper, he described Biroina as also characterized by a broad prosternum, but did not provide any features that can be used to distinguish it from Popondetta . Additionally, in his key to genera, Richards’ couplet separates Biroina from the following genera (including Popondetta ) as having “Vein R 2+3 usually strongly bisinuate”, while others are “rarely so strongly bisinuate”. However, in his generic description of Popondetta, Richards describes R 2+3 as “weakly or rather strongly sinuate”, directly contradicting his key. We have examined both species of Popondetta , and dissected P. kurandensis to confirm that it has the defining features of Howickia . Popondetta is therefore a junior synonym of Howickia .


Albany Museum


Ontario Insect Collection, University of Guelph














Howickia kurandensis (Richards)

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

Popondetta kurandensis (Richards)

Rohacek, J. & Marshall, S. A. & Norrbom, A. L. & Buck, M. & Quiros, D. I. & Smith, I. 2001: 206
Marshall, S. A. 1989: 605

Leptocera (Popondetta) kurandensis

Richards, O. W. 1973: 358
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