Howickia capitalis (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 : 33-36

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.5192.1.1

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Howickia capitalis (Richards)


Howickia capitalis (Richards) View in CoL

( Figs. 3.4 View FIGURES 3.1–3.22 , 7.1–7.6 View FIGURES 7.1–7.2 )

Leptocera (Biroina) capitalis Richards, 1973: 343 View in CoL .

Biroina capitalis (Richards) View in CoL , Marshall, 1989: 602; Roháček et al., 2001: 125.

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

Description. Body length: Males 1.5–1.8 mm, females 1.6–1.7 mm.

Head: Dark brown, lower half of frons orange, darker spots around bases of interfrontal bristles and along orbital plate; entire head shiny despite dense microtrichia; gena reddish, lighter anteriorly; antenna orange. Frontal width 1.8x interfrontal height. 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 strong upcurved bristle and 2 smaller setae, finely and densely striate, shiny, lower half microtrichose; vibrissal angle with 2 subvibrissal setae. Face with small flattened triangle along ventromedial margin; palpus clavate with 2 large apical setae. Eye height 2.8x genal height.

Thorax: Dark brown; scutum shiny despite brown microtrichia, posterolateral edges reddish and with pale spots on posterior notopleural lobes. Anepisternum with a shining (bare) spot on the anterior margin. One pair of dorsocentral bristles; 9–10 rows of long, fine acrostichal setulae. Prosternum triangular, slightly broadened. Scutellum microtrichose, subtriangular, its length 0.7x its width; 4 scutellar bristles long, apical pair 1.7x length of basal pair.

Legs: Dark brown, tibiae proximally paler; tarsi brown. Male mid tibia with a stout apicoventral seta and 2 rows of stout ventral setae; mid tibia 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: Moderately infuscate, especially so along anterior half. CS2 0.8x length of CS3. R 2+3 sinuate, distal curve stronger than basal curve, meeting costa at an angle of 60˚; R 4+5 upcurved, meeting costa well before wing tip; costa extending past R 4+5 (5x costal width). Halter dark; knob dark brown; stem light brown.

Male abdomen: Dark brown, heavily sclerotized, shiny despite dense microtrichia. T2–5 and S2–4 sparsely long-setose along posterior half with large posterolateral setae. S5 broad, broadly desclerotized posteromedially with 2 preapical rows of short setae (6 anterior and 10 posterior) anterior to a row of 22 short, flat teeth, laterally with longer setae. Epandrium small, hemispherical, and uniformly long-setose; cercus flattened, apparently with no enlarged setae. Hypandrium medially gently curved; ventral and posterodorsal lobes undescribed/unillustrated. Surstylus bilobed: anterior lobe broad, spoon-like; posterior lobe also spoon-like, curved inwards and bearing 5–6 long, stout apical setae and an apicolateral patch of setulae. Postgonite elongate, tapered. Phallapodeme gently curved, apically slightly broadened. Distiphallus apparently largely desclerotized with apex tapered.

Female abdomen: Dark brown to almost black, 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 sparse setae. Preabdomen subequal in length to thorax. Postabdomen elongate, narrow, 3.1x length of T5. T6 and T7 relatively well-developed, present as rectangular plates with some central desclerotization and bearing a posterior row of 6 setae. Epiproct rectangular, centrally desclerotized and bearing a dorsomedial pair of setae. Cercus semicircular with 4 long sinuate setae (1 apical, 2 lateral and 1 dorsal) and several smaller setulae. S6 and S7 relatively well-developed, present as microtrichose, rectangular plates with some central desclerotization and bearing a posterior row of 10 and 8 setae, respectively. S8 reduced to a rectangular, microtrichose plate with medial row of 4 setae. Hypoproct rounded, posteriorly microtrichose with a preapical row of setae. Spermathecae stout, ovoid and deeply grooved; stem subequal to length of spermatheca and cylindrical.

Type material. Holotype: AUSTRALIA: New South Wales: Boro , 16 km S Lake Bathurst, 27.ii.1966, Z. Liepa (♂, ANIC) . Holotype photos provided by James Lumbers, ANIC .

Paratypes: AUSTRALIA: Australian Capital Territory: Black Mountain , light trap, 28.x.1964, I.F.B. Common (1 ♀, ANIC) ; Mount Gingera , 3.xii.1964, E.B. Britton (1 ♂, ANIC) ; Tidbinbilla , Malaise trap, 29.xi.– 2.xii.1965, D. Havenstein (1 ♀, ANIC) ; New South Wales: Burke’s Creek, near The Rock , 6.iv.1963, D.K. Alpine (3 ♀, AMSA) .

Material examined. AUSTRALIA: Australian Capital Territory: Black Mountain , 700 m, carrion trap, 11– 18.iv.1978, S. & J. Peck (1 ♀, DEBU) ; New South Wales: Kosciuszko National Park , 4 km NNE Mount Perisher, 36˚13’12”S 148˚15’00”E, 4.ii.1984, L. Hill (1 ♀, ANIC) ; Queensland: Carnavaron National Park, Mount Moffat Section, Maranoa River , east branch, near Top Moffat Camp , 10–13.x.2002, J.M. Cumming (1 ♀, DEBU) .

Comments. We have seen only photos of the male type specimen and no further males were available for examination. The description of the male abdomen is therefore based on photos and on Richards’ (1973) description and figures. This species is externally similar to H. fuscalis ( Richards, 1973) , which also has a dark brown halter and shining anepisternum. Howickia capitalis ( Richards, 1973) can be separated from H. fuscalis by the presence of two posterodorsal setae in the proximal half of the mid tibia, and by its unique male and female terminalia.


Australian National Insect Collection


Albany Museum


Ontario Insect Collection, University of Guelph














Howickia capitalis (Richards)

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

Biroina capitalis (Richards)

Rohacek, J. & Marshall, S. A. & Norrbom, A. L. & Buck, M. & Quiros, D. I. & Smith, I. 2001: 125
Marshall, S. A. 1989: 602

Leptocera (Biroina) capitalis

Richards, O. W. 1973: 343
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