Ceratitis (Ceratalaspis) taitaensis De Meyer & Copeland, 2016

Meyer, Marc De, Mwatawala, Maulid, Copeland, Robert S. & Virgilio, Massimiliano, 2016, Description of new Ceratitis species (Diptera: Tephritidae) from Africa, or how morphological and DNA data are complementary in discovering unknown species and matching sexes, European Journal of Taxonomy 233, pp. 1-23 : 10-13

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.5852/ejt.2016.233

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scientific name

Ceratitis (Ceratalaspis) taitaensis De Meyer & Copeland

sp. nov.

Ceratitis (Ceratalaspis) taitaensis De Meyer & Copeland View in CoL sp. nov.


Fig. 3 View Fig


The name is considered as an adjective derived from the geographical name ‘Taita’ referring to the Taita Hills, located in southeastern Kenya. The Taita Hills are the northernmost block of the Eastern Arc Mountain chain.

Material examined


KENYA: Ƌ, Vuria , reared from fruits of Lepidotrichilia volkensii , 16 May 2012, R.S. Copeland ( NMK) (CHIESA coll. Nr 228).

Paratypes (deposited in NMK, ICIPE, RMCA, BMNH, and NMNH)

KENYA: same locality as holotype: 3 ƋƋ, 2 ♀♀, 6 Jun. 2012, CHIESA coll. Nr 170; 2 ƋƋ, 6 Jun. 2012, CHIESA coll. Nr 171; 10 ƋƋ, 10 ♀♀, 16 May 2012, CHIESA coll. Nr 228 (2 ƋƋ, 2 ♀♀ barcoded

RMCA, see Supplementary file); 1 Ƌ, 1 ♀, 10 Jul. 2012, CHIESA coll. Nr 261; 33 ƋƋ, 37 ♀♀, 22 Aug. 2012, CHIESA coll. Nr 269, all R.S. Copeland, reared from Lepidotrichilia volkensii (Gürke) Leroy.



BODY LENGTH. 5.61 (5.04–6.08) mm; wing length: 6.20 (5.68–6.88) mm.

HEAD ( Fig. 3a View Fig ). Antenna yellow. First flagellomere in lateral view twice as long as wide; obtuse apically. Arista short to medium pubescent, ventral proximal rays at most twice width of arista at base. One frontal seta, thinner than, and subequal in length to, anterior orbital seta; two orbital setae, anterior seta longer than posterior one; ocellar seta about 3–4 times as long as ocellar triangle; postocellar seta black, shorter than lateral vertical seta. Frons convex, not protruding in lateral view; yellow to orange, with greyish microtrichosity on posterior half. Gena broader than in other Ceratitis species (maximum diameter of eye versus height of gena 2.5–3.0), genal seta and genal setulae yellow, latter sometimes blackish.

THORAX ( Fig. 3 View Fig b–c). Postpronotal lobe yellowish-white to white; with black middle spot around base of postpronotal seta. Scutum ground colour shining yellow-brown to dark brown, with silvery microtrichosity covering most of dorsum, except circular area posterior to mesal end of transverse suture and in trapezoid area extending posteriorly from dorsocentral setae to anterior margin of scutellum, and narrowly along lateral margins; sublaterally the microtrichosity extends posteriorly to the intralar seta; narrow area along anterior margin, extending posteriorly along midline and posterior of postpronotal lobe, with less dense microtrichosity. Anepisternum yellowish-white, lower margin darker; with pale pilosity, one anepisternal seta. Scutellum yellowish-white, with three yellow-brown spots restricted to apical margin and ventral side; area between spots darker yellowish coloured. Subscutellum entirely brown to black.

LEGS. Slender; yellow to yellowish-orange, tarsi sometimes slightly paler than rest of leg; with dispersed pale pilosity. Forefemur with dark brown ventral spine-like setae. Hindfemur at distal 0.25 with dark brown setae dorsally.

WING ( Fig. 3e View Fig ). Markings brownish to yellowish-brown. Of typical bands, only anterior apical band distinct, including pterostigma and area posterior of pterostigma to vein R4+5; furthermore with brownish spot covering area surrounding cross-vein R-M (i.e., apical margin of cell br) and basal third of cell r4+5, continued in apical half of cell dm and anterior third of cell m, also broadly fused with anterior apical band; additional small marks in middle of cell cu 1 and basal part of cell m. Cross-vein R-M at or just beyond midlength of cell dm. Brown streaks and spots present in basal cells but poorly developed.

ABDOMEN ( Fig. 3d View Fig ). Ground colour yellow to orange-brown. Tergites 2 and 4 on posterior half to twothirds with greyish microtrichosity.


As male except for the following characters: gena less broad (maximum eye diameter to gena height ratio less than 2.5). Wing with well developed bands as in other Ceratitis species ( Fig. 3f View Fig ): discal band interrupted in cell dm; anterior apical band and discal band separated or only narrowly touching; subapical band narrowly touching anterior part of discal band; posterior apical band isolated. Oviscape orange, with dispersed dark brown to black pilosity. Tergal-oviscapal ratio (= length of abdominal tergites 1–5 versus length of oviscape): 1.5–2. Aculeus ( Fig. 3 View Fig g–h) flattened, 7–8 times longer than broad, apex bifurcated, and with pair of subapical protuberances.



Host plants

Reared from fruits of Lepidotrichilia volkensii (Gürke) Leroy (Meliaceae) .


Ceratitis whartoni was described by De Meyer & Copeland (2009) from forested areas in the Central Highlands of Kenya (Gatamayu Forest, Nyanduma Forest, Mt. Kenya Forest), all reared from fruits of Lepidotrichilia volkensii (Meliaceae) . It was an enigmatic species because of the dimorphic wing pattern, with that of the male largely differing from the standard wing banding found in most other Ceratitis species. A series of specimens reared from the same host plant collected in Taita Hills (approximately 400 km southeast of the nearest site of C. whartoni ) are morphologically almost identical, with only slight differences in wing pattern and female aculeus (male wing with dark marking in cell dm occupying more than half of cell in C. whartoni , less than half in C. taitaensis sp. nov.; female wing with discal band complete in C. whartoni , partially interrupted in cell dm in C. taitaensis sp. nov.; aculeus with bifurcated apex more slender in C. taitaensis sp. nov. (less than one-third of entire width) and invagination less deep than in C. whartoni ). However, the analysis of the available DNA barcodes of C. whartoni ( Table 1 View Table 1 ; Supplementary file) revealed remarkable genetic differentiation from C. taitaensis sp. nov. (p-distance = 8.5%). It was, therefore, decided to recognize this as a separate species. The Taita Hills are a chain of forested mountain tops surrounded by the flat and dry Tsavo Plains. They form the northernmost mountainous massif of the Eastern Arc Mountains, a chain of ancient crystalline mountains ( Burgess et al. 2007) and are considered a major biodiversity hotspot ( Meyers et al. 2000). We place this species in the subgenus Ceratalaspis for the same reasons as outlined in De Meyer & Copeland (2009) regarding the placement of C. whartoni .


National Museums of Kenya


Royal Museum for Central Africa


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History













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