Laelaspisella canestrinii (Berlese),

Joharchi, Omid & Halliday, Bruce, 2013, A new species and new records of Gymnolaelaps Berlese from Iran (Acari: Laelapidae), with a review of the species occurring in the Western Palaearctic Region, Zootaxa 3646 (1), pp. 39-50: 46-48

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Laelaspisella canestrinii (Berlese)


Laelaspisella canestrinii (Berlese)  sensu Costa, new combination

Gymnolaelaps canestrinii  .—Costa, 1962: 491.

Specimens examined. Two females, two males, Iran, Rodbar ghasran region (Shemiranat province), 2010, Z. Cheraghali coll., from soil and litter.

Notes. The identity of this species is very confused. In Laelaps canestrinii Berlese, 1892  , the female has a very wide genito-ventral shield carrying four pairs of setae in addition to st 5, and has a straight posterior margin. There are no setae between the genito-ventral and anal shields. The sternal shield has only two pairs of setae, the metasternal plates and setae are absent, the anal shield is wider than long, and the movable digit of the chelicera has three teeth. In the male the anal shield is fused to the genital shield, with the fusion marked by a distinct line. Berlese (1903) referred to this species as Laelaps (Eulaelaps) canestrinii  . Berlese (1904) then added some morphological information and illustrations for a species that he called Laelaps (Hypoaspis) canestrinii  . In these illustrations the genito-ventral shield of the female carries only one pair of setae and has a rounded posterior margin. The anal shield is narrow, and there is a pair of setae between the genito-ventral shield and the anal shield. In the male, the anal shield is clearly separate from the genito-ventral shield. These descriptions appear to refer to two different species. In view of this confusion, it is difficult to determine the identity of specimens cited under this name by other authors, such as Pseudoparasitus (Gymnolaelaps) canestrinii Berlese, 1903 sensu Karg (1993)  , and Gymnolaelaps canestrinii Berlese, 1902 sensu Schweizer (1961)  . Costa (1962) re-described and illustrated a species he called Gymnolaelaps canestrinii (Berlese, 1903)  , but did not mention Laelaps canestrinii Berlese, 1892  . Hunter (1967) referred to this problem but did not resolve it. A solution to the identification of these species can only come from a detailed study of all of Berlese's specimens.

Our specimens agree very well with the description and illustrations of Gymnolaelaps canestrinii  in Costa (1962). In the female, the anal shield is wider than long; the sternal shield has three pairs of long setae and a pair of strong diagonal ornamentation lines leading back from st 1; the first pair of sternal lyrifissures is in an unusual position antero-medial to setae st 1; the metasternal setae st 4 are absent; the genitoventral shield carries only setae st 5, but three pairs of ventral setae are only minutely separated from indentations in the edges of the shield; and the dorsal shield setae are all short except for seven pairs of longer caudal setae. In the male, the anal shield is clearly separate from the genitoventral shield, and the postero-ventral seta on femur II is greatly enlarged to form a long thick spine. We now place this species in the genus Laelaspisella  on the basis of the hypertrichous dorsal shield and the absence of metasternal setae.

Laelaspisella kabitae (Bhattacharyya)  , new combination

Gymnolaelaps kabitae Bhattacharyya, 1968: 537  .

Pseudoparasitus (Gymnolaelaps) kabitae  .—Karg, 1989 a: 334. Pseudoparasitus (Gymnolaelaps) hospes  .—Nemati et al., 2000: 381.

Specimens examined. Two females, Alborz, Karaj, 36 °03' N, 51 ° 24 ' E, alt. 1665 m, 7 June 2011, O. Joharchi coll., in nest of Pheidole pallidula  .

Notes. Laelaspisella kabitae  was described from specimens collected in soil under rotting plant material in West Bengal (Bhattacharyya, 1968). Nemati et al. (2000) reported the African species Pseudoparasitus (Gymnolaelaps) hospes  from Iran on the basis of specimens collected from the nest of Pheidole pallidula  . We have not had the opportunity to examine any specimens to confirm this identification, but on the basis of the illustrations in Nemati (1999) and unpublished photomicrographs and illustrations of these specimens, we believe this was a misidentification of Laelaspisella kabitae  , which is now recorded in Iran for the first time. We take the opportunity to supplement the original description of Bhattacharyya (1968), on the basis of the new specimens.

The dorsal shield of L. kabitae  has about 65 pairs of setae, all of which are very short, except Z 5. The dorsal shield wraps around onto the ventral idiosoma to form a wide strip, except for the caudal end of the idiosoma. The metasternal setae st 4 and associated poroids are absent. The genito-ventral shield is very wide, carries only one pair of setae, has a rounded posterior margin, and its surface is weakly ornamented in a faint polygonal pattern. The peritrematal shield has a short wide post-stigmatic extension. The exopodal shield forms a rounded lobe around the posterior margin of coxa IV. The post-anal seta is longer and thicker than the para-anal setae. The first pair of sternal lyrifissures stp 1 are close together, between the first pair of sternal setae, and the third pair of sternal poroids is on the postero-lateral corners of the sternal shield.

The epistome is triangular, with irregular minute denticulation. The fixed digit of the chelicera has two small triangular proximal teeth, three small medial teeth, and two small distal teeth. The hypostomal groove is very wide and has six rows of denticles each bearing 6–10 very small teeth, except the first row which has three large teeth, and a smooth anterior transverse line. The palp tarsal claw has three pointed tines of unequal length, and the palp trochanter setae are unmodified. The internal malae do not have long fimbriate lateral arms.

Genu IV has ten setae (2 2 / 1 3 / 1 1), including two pointed and thickened spine-like setae on its ventral surface. The ambulacrum on tarsus I is inserted on an apical stalk.

In contrast, Gymnolaelaps hospes  has metasternal setae st 4 present, the dorsal shield has 40 pairs of setae, with Z 5 short, a very long narrow post-stigmatic extension, and an epigynal shield that is elongate but not widened.