Howickia erythrocephala, 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 : 36-38

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.5192.1.1

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Howickia erythrocephala

sp. nov.

Howickia erythrocephala View in CoL sp. nov.

( Figs. 3.5 View FIGURES 3.1–3.22 , 8.1–8.6 View FIGURES 8.1–8.6 )

Description. Body length: Males 3.5–3.8 mm; females 3.1–4.0 mm.

Head: Dark orange, frontal vitta yellowish, bases of orbital bristles and behind dark brown, ocellar triangle dark brown; gena yellow-orange; antenna orange, apically darkened. Frontal width 1.7x interfrontal height. Four pairs of small interfrontal bristles; 2 lateroclinate orbital bristles, anterior bristle subequal to posterior bristle. Gena with strong upcurved bristle and 8–9 smaller setae, finely and densely striate, shiny, lower fifth microtrichose; vibrissal angle with 4 subvibrissal setae. Face with a small flattened triangle along ventromedial margin; palpus clavate with 1 large apical and 1 large preapical seta. Eye height 2.0x genal height.

Thorax: Black; scutum shiny despite brown microtrichia, posterolateral edge thinly lighter and with pale spot on posterior notopleural lobe. Two pairs of dorsocentral bristles (anterior pair 0.5x length of posterior pair); 11–12 rows of long, fine acrostichal setulae. Prosternum short, triangular. Scutellum microtrichose, large, subrectangular, its length 0.7x its width; 4 scutellar bristles long, apical pair 1.3x length of basal pair.

Legs: Black, femora distally and tibiae proximally and distally paler reddish-brown; tarsi brown, basitarsus darkest. Male mid tibia with a stout apicoventral bristle and 2 rows of stout ventral setae, mid femur with 2 corresponding rows of fine 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: Patterned; membrane slightly infuscate with dark spots at the crossveins and midpoint of CuA. CS2 slightly longer than CS3. R 2+3 strongly sinuate, basal curve straight towards costa (separated by 2x costal width) before curving away slightly, distal curve meeting costa at an angle of 60˚; R 4+5 gently sinuate, meeting costa well before wing tip; costa ending at R 4+5. Halter dark brown.

Male abdomen: Black, heavily sclerotized, shiny despite microtrichia. T2–5 and S2–5 uniformly longsetose with large posterolateral setae; pleural membrane with sparse setae. S5 broad (width 2.5x length), heavily microtrichose, long-setose along posterolateral corners with posteromedially desclerotized triangle with many small stout setae, laterally with much longer setae. Epandrium rather small, squarish, and very densely microtrichose and long-setose; cercus slightly expanded, subquadrate with 1 very long seta and numerous smaller setae. Hypandrium medially sinuate; ventral lobe highly membranous, broad apically; posterodorsal lobe sinuate. Surstylus large, rectangular, ventral edge bisinuate and setose along entire length. Postgonite elongate, gradually tapered though slightly constricted about midlength, proximally with a pair of anterior setulae just above a small triangular lateral lobe, apex bent forwards and rounded. Phallapodeme gently sinuate with a large dorsal fin on anterior half; basiphallus elongate, L-shaped, with the apical two-thirds tapered and curved, laterally resembling the head of an ibis. Distiphallus tubular, elongate, gently sinuate, moderately sclerotized with dorsomedial unsclerotized hole, apex scoop-like and membranous.

Female abdomen: Black, heavily sclerotized, shiny despite microtrichia. T2–5 and S2–5 uniformly long-setose with large posterolateral setae; pleural membrane with sparse setae. Preabdomen slightly longer than length of head + thorax. Postabdomen retracted into preabdomen and hardened, making most of the postabdomen impossible to examine. Cercus short, subtriangular with several long setae. Other details of the terminalia are unavailable.

Material examined. Holotype: AUSTRALIA: New South Wales: Upper Allyn River , 22.iv.1970, D.H. Colless (♂, ANIC).

Paratypes: AUSTRALIA: New South Wales: Brockelos Creek , 16.5 km S of Bermagui, 24–27.ii.1974, Z. Liepa (5 ♂, 1 ♀, ANIC) .

Etymology. This name is in reference to the reddish-orange or rust-coloured head of this species, which stands out markedly from the black body (Latin ‘erythrocephalus’: red-headed, having a red head).

Comments. The postabdomen of the only female specimen is retracted into the preabdomen and firmly dried, making it impossible to evert the postabdomen without risking damaging or destroying the postabdomen. This species is externally very similar to both H. myrmecophila and H. nitidipleura . However, H. erythrocephala can be separated from these other two species by the dark fore tarsi and entirely dark brown or black halter. Interestingly, the wing pattern of H. erythrocephala more closely resembles that of H. nitidipleura than H. myrmecophila , but the male genitalia are more similar to H. myrmecophila than to H. nitidipleura .


Australian National Insect Collection













GBIF Dataset (for parent article) Darwin Core Archive (for parent article) View in SIBiLS Plain XML RDF