Dorsomitus, Michel & Mansell, 2018

Michel, Bruno & Mansell, Mervyn W., 2018, A new genus and species of owlfly from eastern and southern Africa (Neuroptera: Ascalaphidae), European Journal of Taxonomy 413, pp. 1-12 : 8

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Dorsomitus sp. ♀

Material examined

MALAWI: 1 ♀, 4–5 Dec. 1983, P.U. EXPED. leg. ( SANC NEUR00393) .

SOUTH AFRICA: 1 ♀, Louis Trichardt (“ Trichardtsdal ”), -24.10, 30.24, alt. 637 m, 9 Jan. 1982, R.G. Oberprieler leg. ( SANC NEUR00079 ) ; 1 ♀, Ben Lavin Nature Reserve , -23.13, 29.93, alt. 892 m, 19 Jan. 1998, M.D. Picker leg. ( SANC NEUR12438 ) .

SWAZILAND: 2 ♀♀, Lugaganene Manzini, -26.39, 31.21, 6 Feb. 1996, C. Saunders leg. ( SANC NEUR12439 ).

ZIMBABWE: 1 ♀, Lawrenceville , -19.03, 32.73, alt. 1500 m, 6 Dec. 1994, N.J.S. Duke leg. ( SANC NEUR01985 ).


This description is based on a female collected in Zimbabwe ( Fig. 3A–C View Fig.3 ), which seems to be better preserved than other specimens observed. It is suspected to represent the female of Dorsomitus tjederi gen. et sp. nov., but additional material is needed to confirm this assignation.

COLORATION. Grey. Head, thorax and legs with same markings as male of Dorsomitus tjederi gen. et sp. nov. From abdominal segment 3, tergites with transverse dark lines: anterior line black, interrupted dorsally; second line brown entire; third line black, interrupted dorsally; fourth line light brown, entire, not very visible; fifth line black, interrupted dorsally; sixth line black, entire ( Fig. 3B View Fig.3 ). Third abdominal sternite shorter than in male of D. tjederi gen. et sp. nov., with two latero-angular black shiny markings ( Fig. 3C View Fig.3 ). Disc with characteristic brown markings and posterior margin bordered with black.Abdominal tergites with very sparse hairs.

Some other specimens have a dark brown coloration and abdominal tergite 3 with two lateral yellow markings ( Fig. 3D–F View Fig.3 ). However, most of the color and shape differences observed could be due to postmortem discoloration and distortion – ascalphids often discolor significantly after preservation. The patterns in living specimens are magnificent, but soon fade, so apart from specific marks, other patterns could be misleading. Consequently, additional material is needed to associate males and females with certainty.


The two species of Dorsomitus gen. nov. are well characterized by the shape of the first abdominal tergite and the pubescence on the second and third abdominal tergites of males. However, the present state of knowledge makes it impossible to associate the examined females to either Dorsomitus neavei gen. nov. or D. tjederi gen. et sp. nov. with certainty. The description provided above is based on the examination of six females whose specific status remains unclear, although it is likely that they belong to one or both of the species of Dorsomitus gen. nov. described herein.


South Africa, Pretoria, South African National Collection of Insects