Synolcus acrobaptus ( Wiedemann, 1828 )

Londt, Jason G. H., 2012, The genus Synolcus Loew, 1858, with descriptions of new species (Diptera: Asilidae), African Invertebrates 53 (2), pp. 661-661 : 665-670

publication ID 10.5733/afin.053.0206

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Synolcus acrobaptus ( Wiedemann, 1828 )


Synolcus acrobaptus ( Wiedemann, 1828) View in CoL View at ENA

Figs 2 View Figs 2–14 , 15–21 View Figs 15–21 , 76 View Figs 76–86 , 88 View Fig

Asilus acrobaptus: Wiedemann 1828: 449 View in CoL .

Asilus incisuralis Macquart, 1838: 140 View in CoL . Syn. n.

Synolcus signatus Loew, 1858: 362 View in CoL ; 1860: 148–149, figs 1a (♂ gen.), 1b (♂ wing), 1c (head), 2a (♀ wing), 2b (♀ gen.); Kertész 1909: 282 (catalogue); Engel 1927: 145; Hull 1962: 526; Oldroyd 1974: 165; 1980: 346 (catalogue); Londt 1980: 30–32.

Synolcus acrobaptus: Kertész 1909: 282 View in CoL (catalogue); Engel 1927: 145–146, figs 8 (♂ gen.), 8a (♀ gen.); Hull 1962: 526, figs 724 (wing), 1459, 1469 (head); Oldroyd 1974: 165, fig. 161 (wing); 1980: 346 (catalogue); Londt 1980: 25–27, figs 2 (wing), 8–10 (♂ gen.), 11 (♀ gen.); 1990: 2, 9.

Notes on synonymies:

Asilus incisuralis Macquart, 1838 View in CoL

Oldroyd (1980), without explanation, catalogued Asilus incisuralis Macquart, 1838 View in CoL as a valid Synolcus View in CoL . This species had never before been associated with the genus. Unfortunately efforts to trace Macquart’s material, believed to be in the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France, proved unsuccessful. Macquart’s (1838:140) description of Asilus incisuralis View in CoL is brief and is reproduced below as it appears in the original publication.


Ater. Abdomine basi, incisurisque albidis. Pedibus nigris.

Alis fuscanis, dilatatis ♂.

Long. 5 l. ♂

Face à duvet blanchâtre; moustache noire en-dessus, blanche en-

dessous. Barbe blanche. Thorax cendré, à larges bandes noires.

Abdomen noir; les deux premiers segments à léger duvet blanc; les autres à incisions blanches. Pieds noirs; jambs un peu testacées.

Ailes dilatées au bord extérieur, gaufrées, un peu brunâtres, à base et centre clairs.

Nous rapportons à la meme espéce un individu ♀ qui en différe par les jambs testacies, à extrémité noire; les ailes ne sont pas dilatées et l’espace clair est plus grand.

L’un et l’autre sont de Cap. Collection de M. Serville.

Although Macquart’s description is not detailed enough to allow definite conclusions to be formulated concerning the generic placement of the species it appears to support placement within Synolcus . If it is indeed a Synolcus , the small size (length c. 10.5 mm) and mystacal coloration would suggest an affinity with the acrobaptus species-group which occurs in the region once referred to as ‘Cap’ (= Cape). However, Macquart described the wing as dilated, and while many Synolcus have dilated wings this is not an obvious feature of species in the acrobaptus group whose wings are usually only slightly dilated.

In the interests of taxonomic stability I here suggest that Asilus incisuralis Macquart, 1838 should be considered a synonym of Synolcus acrobaptus ( Wiedemann, 1828) until proved otherwise.

Synolcus signatus Loew, 1858 View in CoL

Londt (1980), in discussing the synonymy of signatus View in CoL with acrobaptus View in CoL , tentatively repositioned signatus View in CoL within the synonym of dubius because the illustrations provided by Loew (1860) were clearly not depictions of typical acrobaptus View in CoL , but were instead far more representative of dubius . I suggested that Loew might have mislabelled his illustrations and that they actually depicted his other 1858 species, tenuiventris View in CoL (subsequently synonymised with dubius ). Now that I have studied good photographs of Loew’s types of both signatus View in CoL and tenuiventris View in CoL , housed in the NHRS, I can report with certainty that Loew did indeed mislabel his illustrations. Loew’s signatus View in CoL type clearly represents acrobaptus View in CoL and his illustrations depict well the wings, head and genitalia of tenuiventris View in CoL . My decision to tentatively place signatus View in CoL in the synonymy of dubius was therefore incorrect. However, there is another matter that requires mention. Loew (1858) gives the provenance of signatus View in CoL as ‘Caffraria (Wahlb.)’, but in 1860 he states ‘(Cap, Victorin.)’. The NHRS female bears Victorin’s name and ‘Cap. B. Spei’ (Cape of Good Hope) while the male is merely labelled with numbers that may refer to Wahlberg’s collecting activities in ‘Caffraria’ (now understood to be in the eastern parts of southern Africa). The significance of Loew’s two, apparently conflicting citations is not known.



Head: Dark red-brown to blackish, strongly silver pruinose, white and black setose. Antenna: Dark red­brown to blackish, fine silver­gray pruinose, scape and pedicel black setose, postpedicel may have some black setae dorsally; mean segmental ratios (n =5) 1:0.9:1.6:1.5 (0.3:1.1:0.1), i.e. pedicel slightly shorter than scape, postpedicel about 1.5 length of scape, stylus about as long as postpedicel. Face: Blackish, strongly silver pruinose. Mystax mostly white with a variable number of black setae medially (rarely absent), setae better developed ventrally. Frons and vertex: Blackish, weakly silver-gray pruinose, frons white and black setose laterally (rarely entirely white), ocellar tubercle black setose (rarely white). Occiput: Blackish, strongly silver pruinose, black (dorsally) and white (centrally and ventrally) setose (rarely entirely white).

Thorax: Dark red-brown to blackish, silver and red-gold pruinose, black, pale yellow and white setose. Prothorax: Dark red-brown to blackish, silver pruinose, white setose. Mesonotum: Dark red-brown to blackish, silver pruinose with red-gold pruinose median band and lateral patches (may also be fairly uniformly red-gold pruinose), macrosetae uniformly black or mixed black and pale yellow, minor setae short blackish (mainly anteriorly) and longish white (mainly posteriorly). Macrosetae (uniform black or mixed black and pale yellow): acr and dc moderately developed posterior of transverse suture only, 2 npl, 2 spal (1 strong, 1 weak), 1–2 pal (1 strong, 1 absent or weak). Scutellum: Dark red-brown to blackish, silvery pruinose, disc white or mixed black and white setose, 1 pair black or pale yellow apical macrosetae. Pleura: Uniform dark red-brown to black, silver to silver-gold pruinose, weakly white and pale yellow (ktg) setose. Legs: Cx dark red-brown to black, silver pruinose, white setose; cx 3 with 2–3 lateral macrosetae. Tro dark red-brown, largely apruinose, weakly white setose. Fem uniform dark red-brown to black, major setae mostly pale yellow (few black), minor setae long or short white. Tib uniform brown, major setae black and pale yellow, minor setae white. Tar dark red-brown, major and minor setae mostly black (may be a few pale yellow major setae). Wing ( Fig. 2 View Figs 2–14 ): Veins mostly dark red-brown, anterior veins more orange-brown proximally, membrane usually transparent, but may be pale yellowish, wing tip commonly dark stained. Cell sc with sc–r. Cells r 1 and r 2+3 slightly expanded and displaying corrugations. Wing length × breadth (mean, n= 10) 6.6 (6.4–7.6) × 2.3 (1.8–2.8) mm. Haltere: Pale yellow with pale brownish distal and proximal ends.

Abdomen: Dark red-brown to black, silver and dull reddish pruinose, black and white setose. T1 fairly uniformly silver pruinose, 3–4 white macrosetae laterally accompanied by many white setae, medially short black setose. T2–8 mostly silver pruinose but usually darker in appearance anteromedially with a dull reddish pruinescence, setae mostly white laterally and posterolaterally (including c. 3 macrosetae), mostly short black anteromedially. S as T but uniformly silver pruinose, white setose.

Terminalia ( Figs 15–21 View Figs 15–21 ): Epand in lateral view ( Fig. 15 View Figs 15–21 ) at least 3 times as long as deep, with narrowly rounded distal tip; epand lobes in dorsal view narrowly separated proximally. S8 well-developed, thickly setose along posterior margin and projecting distally as a somewhat trifurcate structure (in ventral view, Fig. 17 View Figs 15–21 ) that largely hides from view both hypd and goncx. Central prong of S8 projecting distally as a dorsally directed finger­like lobe ( Fig. 17 View Figs 15–21 ) that demonstrates geographical variation ( Figs 20, 21 View Figs 15–21 ), the tip becoming broader distally in the eastern parts of the distribution. Hypd poorly developed. Gonst in lateral view as in Fig. 18 View Figs 15–21 . Aed S-shaped distally ( Fig. 19 View Figs 15–21 ).

Female: Essentially similar to male. Wing length × breadth (mean, n=10) 6.6 (4.7–8.3) × 2.1 (1.5–2.8) mm (size and range almost identical to ♂). Terminalia ( Fig. 76 View Figs 76–86 ): Ovipositor laterally compressed, knife-like, elongate (almost 3 times as long as deep).

Material examined: SOUTH AFRICA: 1♀ Nieuwoudtville, Wild Flower Res. 3119AC, 690 m, 16.xi.1986 , Londt & Quickelberge; 1♂ 5♀ Cape Town, Table Mountain near Cable Way (Bottom) Station , 3318CD, 25.iii.1979 , Londt; 4♂ 2♀ Gydo Mt. 24 km NE Prince Alfred Hamlet, 3319AB, 1150 m, 21.xi.1986 , Londt & Quickelberge, rocky area/ Proteas; 2♀ Worcester, Karoo Botanic Gardens , 3319CB [33°36'57"S 19°27'09"E], 30.xii.1982 GoogleMaps 6.i.1983 GoogleMaps , Miller, Malaise trap; 3♂ 2♀ same date but 1–2.i.1983, Miller & Stabbins; 2♂ 1♀ Jan de Boers , 18 km NE Touws River, 3320AC, 1000 m, 20.xi.1986 , Londt & Quickelberge, rocky area nr fields; 2♂ 1♀ Cogman’s Kloof, Ashton­Montagu Road , 3320CC, 11.i.1983 , Stabbins & Miller, along river; 3♂ 2♀ Oukloof , 3 km S Prince Albert, 3322AA, 10.xi.1986 , Londt & Quickelberge, sand/ Acacias; 3♀ Meiringspoort , 3322BC, 11–12.xii.1979 , Londt & Stuckenberg, rocky hillside & stream edge; 1♀ Diepkloof c. 20 km E De Rust, 3322BD, 12.xii.1979 , Londt & Stuckenberg, dry rocky hillside & stream; 2♂ 3♀ Uniondale , 3323CA, 12.xii.1979 , Londt & Stuckenberg, steep hillside macchia; 1♀ Brenton­on­Sea , 3423AA, 10.xii.1979 , Londt & Stuckenberg, dune & hillside vegetation; 2♂ Doring River Waterfall , 10 km NE Nieuwoudtville, 31°19.18'S 19°07.04'E, 660 m, 16–17.xi.2008 GoogleMaps , Londt, rocky riverine bush; 1♂ Akkerendam Nat. Res. , 31°26'54"S 19°46'27"E, 1050 m, 5–6.ix.2002 GoogleMaps , Londt, Karoo bushes W slope of small hill; 2♂ Bulhoek, Klaver – Clanwilliam [32°01'S 18°47'E], x.1950 GoogleMaps , Mus. Exp. ( SAMC) ; 1♀ Bulshoek, Clanwilliam [32°01'S 18°47'E], 12­56 [xii.1956], SAM [South African Museum] ( SAMC) GoogleMaps ; 1♀ Hillside behind Motel , 6 km SW Clanwilliam, 32°11'S 18°53'E, 200m, 1.xi.1991 GoogleMaps , Londt; 4♀ Urquhart Park Caravan Park, Graaff­Reinet , 32°15'S 24°33'E, 4–6.xii.1988 GoogleMaps , Londt, riverine veget. sandy ground; 4♂ Karoo National Park , 32°19'S 22°30'E, 13.xi.1993 GoogleMaps , Koch ( ZMHB); 7♂ 3♀ Jamaka Farm , 32°20'S 19°01'E, 2–7.xii.2007 GoogleMaps , Koch ( ZMHB); 1♀ Clanwilliam District, Algeria Forestry [32°22'S 19°04'E], 4–10.iii.1969 GoogleMaps , Potgieter & Strydom; 1♂ 1♀ Valley nr Observatory , 15 km E Sutherland, 32°23'S 20°48'E, 1600 m, 26.xi.1990 GoogleMaps , Whittington & Londt; 3♂ 2♀ Olifants River, between Citrusdal & Clanwilliam [c. 32°24'S 18°57'E], x–xi.1931 GoogleMaps , Mus. Staff ( SAMC); 2♂ 2♀ Ouberg Pass, SE Touws River [32°25'S 20°21'E], xii.1962 GoogleMaps , SAM ( SAMC); 1♂ Citrusdal [32°35'S 19°01'E], xi.1948 GoogleMaps , Mus. Exp. ( SAMC); 1? Piketberg [32°54'S 18°46'E], i.1940 GoogleMaps , Mus. Staff ( SAMC); 5♂ 5♀ Gonnemanskraal , N Jacobsbaai, 32°57'14"S 17°53'07"E, 0–10 m, 9–10.xi.2002 GoogleMaps , Londt, dune veget. & rocks; 1♀ same data but 21–26.xii.2002 GoogleMaps , Londt, dune sand & vegetation; 1♂ 1♀ Koup Siding [33°07'S 21°16'E], xi.1939 GoogleMaps , Mus. Staff ( SAMC); 2♂ Constable [33°15'S 20°19'E], ii.1958 ( SAMC) GoogleMaps ; 2♂ Near Floriskraal dam, 19 km SE Laingsburg, 33°17'S 20°57'E, 700 m, 25.xi.1990 GoogleMaps , Whittington & Londt; 1♂ Witteberge c. 7 km E Constable, 33°17'54"S 20°19'24"E, 870 m, 12.xi.1998 GoogleMaps , Londt, sandy soil/succulents; 1♂ 1♀ Verkeerde Vlei [33°20'S 19°20'E], xii.1962 GoogleMaps , SAM ( SAMC); 1?[♀] Witzenberg Valley [33°20'S 19°30'E], 3000 ft [c. 914 m], 19.i.1921 GoogleMaps , Turner ( BMNH); 1? [♀] Ceres District, Witzenberg Valley , 3500 ft [c. 1067m], 21–23 xii.1920 , Turner ( BMNH) ; 1♀ Touws River [33°20'S 20°02'E], xii.66 [1966], Mills; 1♂ 9♀ Hondewater , 18mi. E Touws River [33°20'S 20°02'E], xii.1962 GoogleMaps , SAM ( SAMC); 1♂ 1♀ Seweweekspoort [33°22'S 21°25'E], 4–6.xii.1968 GoogleMaps , Potgieter & Jones; 1♂ 2? Malmesbury [33°27'S 18°44'E], 15.ii.1961 GoogleMaps , SAM Exped. ( SAMC); 1♀ Hex River [33°29'S 19°35'E], xi.1884 ( ZSMC) GoogleMaps ; 1♀ Bloutoring Station, 30m E Touws River [33°30'S 20°14'E], xii.1962 GoogleMaps , SAM ( SAMC); 1♀ Worcester [33°36'S 19°34'E], i.1934 GoogleMaps , Turner ( BMNH); 1♂ 1♀ Paarl Mt. [33°44'S 18°56'E], ii.1932 GoogleMaps , Mackie ( BMNH); 1♀ Montagu [33°44'S 20°07'E], xi.1919 GoogleMaps , Lightfoot ( SAMC); 4♂ 2♀ Robertson District, Dassiesberg [33°48'S 19°53'E], i.1936 GoogleMaps , Mus. Staff ( SAMC) ; 1♂ Algoa Bay [Port Elizabeth, 33°58'S 25°35'E], Brauns ( ZSMC) GoogleMaps ; 1♂ 1♀ 1? Cape Town [33°56'S 18°23'E], 1913, Peringuey ( SAMC) GoogleMaps ; 1♂ Cape Town ( ZSMC) ; 1♂ 1♀ Lion’s Head Nature Res, Kloofnek area , 33°56'29"S 18°23'10"E, 220 m, 14.xii.2004 GoogleMaps , Londt, fynbos stony path; 1♂ Stellenbosch [33°56'S 18°51'E], iv.1964 GoogleMaps ,

Loubser; 1♀ Stellenbosch , iii.1964, Loubser ; 1♀ Stellenbosch , x.1964, Loubser ; 1♀ Stellenbosch , i.1950, Schoeman ; 1♂ Swellendam District , Tradouw Pass [33°57'S 20°42'E], xi.1925, Mus. Exped. ( SAMC) GoogleMaps ; 1♂ 15 km S Villiersdorp [33°59'S 19°17'E], 28.xii.1983, Brothers GoogleMaps ; 4♂ 1♀ 1? Bontebok National Park , 34°04'S 20°28'E], 2–3.i.1993, Koch ( ZMHB) GoogleMaps ; 1♀ Kommetjie , hill overlooking town, 34°08'S 18°19'E, 13.xii.1988, Londt, macchia sandy ground & rocks GoogleMaps ; 2♀ Mossel Bay [34°11'S 22°08'E], 1.xii.1938, Turner ( BMNH) GoogleMaps ; 1♂ ‘ Capland , Bergius’, 2228 [?] ( ZMHB, with red ‘ Typus’ label) .

Type specimens: While I have not handled Loew’s type specimens of signatus , I have studied a series of photographs of both a male type labelled ‘294’, ‘R’, ‘65’ and a female type labelled ‘295’, ‘24’, ‘Cap. B. / Spei.’, ‘Victo- / rin.’ (NHRS), which clearly show important details of both specimens, especially their wings and genitalia. I am, therefore, confident that these specimens truly represents acrobaptus .

Distribution, phenology and biology: Restricted to, but widely distributed within the south-western parts of South Africa ( Fig. 88 View Fig ), being recorded from the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces.Adults fly from September through to April (Table 1). Label data and personal experience indicate that the flies rest on low vegetation and on the ground (sandy and rocky).


Iziko Museums of Cape Town


Zoologische Staatssammlung














Synolcus acrobaptus ( Wiedemann, 1828 )

Londt, Jason G. H. 2012

Synolcus acrobaptus: Kertész 1909: 282

LONDT, J. G. H. 1980: 25
OLDROYD, H. 1974: 165
HULL, F. M. 1962: 526
ENGEL, E. O. 1927: 145
KERTESZ, C. 1909: 282

Synolcus signatus

LONDT, J. G. H. 1980: 30
OLDROYD, H. 1974: 165
HULL, F. M. 1962: 526
ENGEL, E. O. 1927: 145
KERTESZ, C. 1909: 282
LOEW, H. 1858: 362

Asilus incisuralis

MACQUART, P. J. M. 1838: 140

Asilus acrobaptus: Wiedemann 1828: 449

WIEDEMANN, C. R. W. 1828: 449
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