Sycophila smilax Gates & Zhang

Gates, Michael W., Zhang, Y. Miles & Buffington, Matthew L., 2020, The great greenbriers gall mystery resolved? New species of Aprostocetus Westwood (Hymenoptera, Eulophidae) gall inducer and two new parasitoids (Hymenoptera, Eurytomidae) associated with Smilax L. in southern Florida, USA, Journal of Hymenoptera Research 80, pp. 71-98: 71

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Sycophila smilax Gates & Zhang

sp. nov.

Sycophila smilax Gates & Zhang   sp. nov. Figs 35-36 View Figure 35–36 , 37-44 View Figure 37–44 , 45-53 View Figure 45–53


This species is recognized by its small size, pale yellow coloration and small/faint stigmal band. It keys to couplet 9 of Balduf (1932) 's key of North American Sycophila   , but differs from the other mostly yellow species Sycophila mimosae   Balduf by the lack of a constricted marginal vein. The Central and South American Sycophila   fauna is poorly known, and no current key exists.

Material examined.

Holotype, female: FL: Dade Co.: SE Miami, Rockdale Pineland, Ex Smilax havanensis   stem gall; 19.Dec.2001, C. Rodriguez & T. Smith leg.; USNMENT01735197 (deposited at USNM). Paratypes (36♀, 8♂): Same information as holotype; USNMENT01735198-01735206 (6♀, 2♂, USNM). FL: Dade Co.: SE Miami, Rockdale Pineland, Ex Smilax havanensis   stem gall; 18.Apr. 2010; M. Gates & M. Buffington leg.; USNMENT01735207-01735238 (27♀, 5♂, USNM). FL: Dade Co.: South Miami, Quail Roost Pineland, Em 1.VI.2000 from galls of Smilax   sp.; 8.V.2000; USNMENT01735239-01735242 (3♀, 1♂, USNM). Additional material: FL: Dade Co.: Coral Gables, Deering Estate Pineland, Ex Smilax havanensis   stem gall; 23.Feb.1995, G. Melika leg. (3♀, 2♂, ABS). FL: Dade Co.: Coral Gables, Ex. Diastrophus smilacis   on Smilax havanensis   ; 8.Nov.1977, R. Schimmel leg. (1♀, 1♂, FSCA).


Female. Body length 1.8 mm (Fig. 35 View Figure 35–36 ).

Color. Mostly pale yellow; antennal segments dark yellow; edges of ocelli, scutellum, hindtibia laterally, tarsal claw, tip of ovipositor black, pterostigma dark brown, wing band light brown, eyes pinkish red (Fig. 35 View Figure 35–36 ).

Head. Rounded in dorsal view, 1.22 × as wide as long in dorsal view, umbilicate with appressed setae (Fig. 37 View Figure 37–44 ). Lower face strigose, clypeus bilobate, mandible tridentate with supraclypeal area smooth, glabrous, slightly raised and extending to toruli (Fig. 38 View Figure 37–44 ). Malar sulcus present, malar space 0.59 × eye height. Genal carina absent. Toruli positioned on lower ocular line, diameter of torulus 1.2 × that of the intertorular space. Interantennal projection narrow, 1.5 × that of the diameter of torulus. Scrobal depression carinate laterally, slightly diverging basally. Vertex imbricate, ratios of POL:OOL:LOL equal to 2.7:1:1 (Fig. 39 View Figure 37–44 ). Ratio of scape (minus radicle):pedicel:anellus: F1:F2: F3:F4:F5:club as 17:6.7:1:5:5:4.7:4.7:4.7:13; pedicel chalice-shaped; funicle fusiform; funicular segments with single row of longitudinal sensilla and two whorls of setae, as long as its bearing segment; clava bisegmented (Fig. 41 View Figure 37–44 ). Head posteriorly lacking postgenal lamina, postgenal groove faint, straight and not converging in their lower part, extending ventrally to ⅘ the lower margin of eyes (Fig. 40 View Figure 37–44 ). Postgenal sulci small.

Forewing. Dark brown band on the wing about the same width as pterostigma and does not reach uncus, faint, reaching about ½ down the wing width, 8 submarginal setae, 3 on parastigma, 1 in basal cell, surrounded by basal and costal setal lines. Pterostigma covering marginal, postmarginal, and stigmal vein.

Mesosoma. Mesosoma umbilicate, 1.52 × as long as broad; notauli complete, shallow (Fig. 43 View Figure 37–44 ); lateral surface of prepectus triangular, smooth, ventral surface of prepectus without median tooth (Fig. 42 View Figure 37–44 ). Mesopleuron reticulate ventrally, dorsally delimited from femoral depression by fine carina. Epicnemium flat and ventral shelf not projected forward. Propodeum with median furrow bordered mediolaterally by numerous carinae forming irregular asetose cells, these bordered laterally by setose cells (Fig. 44 View Figure 37–44 ). Metaplural-precoxal carina interrupted by rugose carinae (Fig. 45 View Figure 45–53 ).

Metasoma. Metasoma smooth, ovipositor sheath microreticulate (Figs 46 View Figure 45–53 , 49 View Figure 45–53 ); petiole 2.3 × as long as broad in dorsal view, with ventral anterior groove, carina, and mediodorsal prong (Figs 47 View Figure 45–53 , 48 View Figure 45–53 ); gaster teardrop-shaped in lateral view, ovipositor angled at about 30° dorsad horizontal axis (Fig. 49 View Figure 45–53 ).

Male. 1.88 mm. Mediodorsal of Gt3-5 black, wing band very faint. Otherwise color and sculpture as described for female (Fig. 36 View Figure 35–36 ). Antenna with four funicular segments (Fig. 50 View Figure 45–53 ). Gaster cylindrical, petiole 3 × as long as wide (Figs 51 View Figure 45–53 , 52 View Figure 45–53 ). Gt4 emarginate posteriorly in dorsal view (Fig. 53 View Figure 45–53 ).


Body ranges 1.7-1.8 mm for females, 1.65-1.88 mm for males. The wing band can range from very faint, mesosoma and metasoma dorsally can be yellow or with a tinge of black.


Associated with galls of Aprostocetus smilax   , likely a parasitoid of the gall inducer.


Southern Florida, USA.