Signiphora bennetti Woolley & Dal Molin, 2017

Woolley, J. B. & Dal Molin, A., 2017, Taxonomic revision of the flavopalliata species group of Signiphora (Hymenoptera: Signiphoridae), Zootaxa 4315 (1), pp. 1-150 : 19-23

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.4315.1.1

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Signiphora bennetti Woolley & Dal Molin

sp. nov.

Signiphora bennetti Woolley & Dal Molin , n. sp. Figures 33–48 View FIGURES 33 – 36 View FIGURES 37 – 42 View FIGURES 43 – 48

Diagnosis. Mandibular ducts enlarged apically, body brown except posterior 1/2 mesoscutum, scutellum and metanotum yellow to tan, scutellum with 4 setae, Mt1 weakly bilobed or bilobed with medial portion rounded, Mt8 with anterodorsal margin with a rounded medial incision, fore wing without discal seta, fore wing marginal vein without seta M1 and with 1 small ventral seta usually inserted between setae M2 and M3. In addition, the dorsal spines on the mesotibia are slightly shorter than those in other species (the longest spines are about ¼× length of the mesotibia, as compared to 1/3× or longer in most other species in the flavopalliata group). The male scape is slightly expanded (L/W about 3.6) compared to most species in this group (scape L/W at least 4.0). This is also the only species known in the flavopalliata group that both lacks a discal seta in the fore wing and has a ventral seta on the marginal vein. The species is most similar to S. maculata but can be distinguished from it by the features given above.

Description. Female. Length from pronotum to epiproct apex, 0.48–0.75 mm (n=13). Vertex and frons pale tan or brown, occiput light brown at occipital margin, antenna pale brown, clava occasionally darkening very slightly and gradually to apex. Pronotum and anterior 1/2 of mesoscutum tan to brown, posterior 1/2 of mesoscutum through metanotum yellow to pale tan, propodeum except anterior 1/8 of medial sclerite light brown in posterior half to entirely light brown, metasoma uniformly light brown to apex, Mt8 and epiproct slightly darker. Fore wing infuscated from wing base to distal end of stigmal vein with normal hyaline areas at wing base.

Head. Mandible with two teeth, mandibular ducts enlarged apically. Pedicel length:scape length 0.51–0.71; three anelli, second anellus 2.0–3.3× length of the first, third anellus 2.0–3.3× length of the first; clava length:scape length 1.38–1.77. Vertex and frons finely and transversely striate with approximately 40–100 circular punctations extending down face to gena, these punctations not apparent in some specimens (see discussion).

Mesosoma. Pronotum and mesoscutum weakly and transversely imbricate; medial sclerite propodeum weakly imbricate; scutellum with 4 setae and 1 or 2 campaniform sensilla; medial propodeal sclerite rounded, process on medial sclerite rounded or pointed apically. Fore wing without discal seta, fore wing length:width 3.4–3.9, fore wing LMS:fore wing width 1.4–2.0, marginal vein length:stigmal vein length 2.1–3.1, marginal vein with five dorsal and one ventral setae, seta M1 absent, seta M3 length:marginal vein length 0.47–0.66, apical end of costal cell at seta M2 or proximal to it. Hind wing with subparallel margins, length:width 7.0–10.6; hind wing width:fore wing width 0.32–0.48; hind wing LMS:hind wing width 3.00–4.56. Mesofemur with one long and one short spine on posteroapical margin, mesotibial spur with 3–5 teeth, mesotibial spur length:basitarsus length 0.63–0.89, basitarsus length:mesotibia length 0.40–0.54.

Metasoma. Mt1 weakly bilobed to bilobed with medial portion rounded, Mt1 length:Mt2 length 0.5–1.0; ovipositor with anterior margin lying under Mt3–Mt4; ovipositor length:metasoma length 0.43–1.0; ovipositor sheath length:ovipositor length 0.14–0.24; Ms3–Ms6 with anterior projections of medium length; Ms 6 in posterior 1/4 of metasoma and with 6 setae; Mt8 with anterodorsal margin with broadly rounded medial incision, Mt8 with anterior margins lateral to medial incision slightly convex, with lateral margins anterior to medial portion.

Male. Length, anterior margin of pronotum to epiproct apex, 0.51–0.55 mm (n=4). Coloration and sculpture as described for females, clava length:scape length 1.23–1.61; scape slightly expanded (L/W about 3.6); genitalia normal for flavopalliata group, with digitus bearing one very short apical denticle and one seta at its midpoint; digitus length approximately 3× its width; Ms8 transverse with a short, triangular process at midpoint of anterior margin.

Discussion. The minute, scattered punctations on the frons and vertex are quite apparent on the type specimens and other Neotropical material, but less apparent on specimens collected in the USA.

Type material. HOLOTYPE ♀: in Canada balsam (UFES 144.462), BRAZIL, SAO PAULO, Araras, coll. F.D. Bennett, XI-1981, ex female Melanaspis smilacis (Comstock) on sugar cane. Deposited at UFES. PARATYPES: 4 ♀, 1 ♂ in balsam with data as holotype except ex: 3rd stage nymph or male pupa, same host [BMNH(E) 991096, BMNH(E) 991097, BMNH(E) 991099, BMNH(E) 991100, BMNH(E) 991101]; 3 ♀, 2 ♂ in balsam: BRAZIL, SAO PAULO, Sta. Rosa de Viterbo, coll. F.D. Bennett, XI-XII-1981, endoparasite of mature Melanaspis smilacis on sugar cane [BMNH(E) 991091–991095], 1 specimen (sex not clear), card mounted: BRAZIL, xii.1981, F.D. Bennett, ex: Melanaspis smilacis [BMNH(E) 1038864]; 14 specimens (sex not clear) on 4 card mounts: BRAZIL, Amalia, xii.1982, F.D. Bennett, ex: Melanaspis smilacis on sugarcane [UFES 144.463 (2 specimens on one card); BMNH(E) 1038866–1038868]. Paratypes deposited in UFES, MZUSP, TAMU, USNM, CNC, and BMNH, with permission of BMNH(E).

Other material examined. ARGENTINA: Buenos Aires: 1 ♂, 3 ♀, ( MLPA) . BAHAMAS: 4 ♀, UCRC ENT 299622 View Materials ( UCR) ; CNCHYMEN 122353 – 122355 (CNC). BRAZIL: Santa Catarina : 2 ♂, BMNH (E) 990316– 990317 ( BMNH) . COSTA RICA: 1 ♀, CNCHYMEN 122502 ( CNC) . CUBA: 1 mixed series, 2 ♀, USNM ENT 763131 –763133 (USNM). ECUADOR: 1 ♀, TAMU –ENTO X0609367 (TAMU). ECUADOR: Galápagos: 2 ♀, TAMU-ENTO X0424932, X0609366 ( TAMU) . MEXICO: Michoacán: 1 ♀, TAMU-ENTO X0424861 ( TAMU) . PUERTO RICO: 2 ♀, USNM ENT 763129 –763130 (USNM). TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: 12 sex unknown, 12 ♀, CNCHYMEN 122356 – 122359, 122516, 122538, 122656 – 122666 ( CNC) ; BMNH(E) 990253, 990254, 990255, 990256, 990257, 990315, 990322 (BMNH). USA: Florida: 1 ♂, CNCHYMEN 122463 ( CNC) . USA: Massachusetts: 1 ♀, USNM ENT 763140 View Materials ( USNM) . USA: New Jersey: 2 mixed series, 1 sex unknown. USNM ENT 763138, 763141–763142 ( USNM) . USA: New York: 1 ♀, USNM ENT 763139 View Materials ( USNM) . USA: Pennsylvania: 2 ♂, 1 ♀, USNM ENT 763135 –763137 (USNM). USA: District of Columbia: 1 ♂, USNM ENT 763134 View Materials ( USNM) .

Biology. Dr. Fred Bennett kindly furnished an unpublished CIBC report ( Bennett 1981) that contains details on the biology of this species on Melanaspis smilacis (Diaspididae) on sugar cane in Brazil. The following is paraphrased from the report. The larvae of this species develop as gregarious or solitary endoparasitoids. Oviposition probably occurs in all host stages except crawlers. Single individuals are reared from smaller scales but 7 or 8 individuals are reared from mature females. Most development takes place internally but larvae frequently (but not always) emerge from the host body at some point and feed externally until development is completed. Pupation occurs within the scale cover. Numerous M. smilacis were dissected, but no evidence of hyperparasitic development was noted. Signiphora bennetti was the most common parasitoid found in M. smilacis on sugar cane at Araras and Sta. Rosa de Viterbo, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, with rates of parasitization exceeding 50% at the latter locality. Records from the Nearctic material include the following Diaspididae : Hemiberlesia oxycoccus (Woglum) ; Melanaspis obscura (Comstock) ; and Pseudaulacaspis pentagona Targioni Tozzetti Comstockaspis perniciosa (Comstock) and Aspidiella sacchari (Comstock) .

Etymology. The species is named for Dr. Fred Bennett, renowned collector and biological control specialist who collected the type series and provided extensive information on its biology.


University of California, Riverside


University of California


Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History


Ministry of Natural Resources


Texas A&M University













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