Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Four new species of Longhorn Beetles from South Island, New Zealand.

Longhorn Beetles (Cerambycidae) are a widespread and diverse group, noted for their elongated antennae, which are often longer than their bodies (though some species lack these). Their larvae are wood-boring grubs, which can be destructive to timber, and many species are considered pests, both in the forestry industry and in human dwellings as woodworm. Some of the largest species of Beetle are Longhorns, including the 16 cm Titan Beetle (Titanus giganteus) of South America.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 16 April 2013, Qiao Wang of the Institute of Natural Resources at Massey University and Wen Lu of the College of Agriculture at Guangxi University describe four new species of Longhorn Beetles from South Island, New Zealand. All are placed in the genus Brounopsis, which is endemic to the island.

The first new species described is named Brounopsis concolora, in reference to its uniform reddish brown colour. The species is named from six female specimens, collected at an altitude of 4100 m on Mount Arthur and a seventh specimen, also female, from about 4500 m on Gordon's Pyramid, both within the Kahurangi National Park on the northwest of South Island. The Beetles range from 13.5 mm - 18.5 mm in length. The larvae of the Beetle live on Mountain Cottonwood shrubs (Cassinia vauvilliersii), the adults emerging in January to March.

Brounopsis concolora, female specimen in dorsal view. Scale bar is 10 mm. Wang & Lu (2013).

The second new species described is named Brounopsis nigrifacta, a reference to the black colour of the head, wing case and front part of the thorax. The species is named from four male and nine female specimens from the Southland and Otago Regions of southern South Island. The females are notably larger than the males, reaching 12.9 mm - 16.9 mm. as opposed to 11.3 - 14.7 mm for the males. The larvae also lived on Mountain Cottonwood shrubs, with the adults emerging in November-January.

Brounopsis nigrifacta, male (2) and female (3) specimens in dorsal view. Scale bars are 10 mm. Wang & Lu (2013).

The third new species described is named Brounopsis deitzi, after Lewis Dietz of the North Carolina State University, who collected the first specimen of this Beetle. The species is named from one male and two female specimens collected the Southland Region and Mount Cook National Park. These are black, and reddish brown Longhorn Beetles, partially covered with fine hairs. The females are larger than the male, at 13.5 mm and 17.5 mm, as opposed to 12.8 mm. The larvae also lived on Mountain Cottonwood shrubs, with the adults emerging in November-January.

Brounopsis dietzi, male (6) and female (7) specimens in dorsal view. Scale bars are 10 mm. Wang & Lu (2013).

The final new species is named Brounopsis gourlayi, in honour of ES Gourlay of the Cawthron Institute, who collected the first specimen. The species is described from nine male and fourteen female specimens collected from across South Island. These are black and blackish brown Longhorn Beetles, the females are larger than the males, reaching 13.5 mm - 19.5 mm, as opposed to 12.0 mm - 13.2 mm. The larvae were found living on Silver Cottonwood (Cassinia leptophylla) the adults emerging in October to January and in May.

Brounopsis gourlayi, male (8) and female (9) specimens in dorsal view. Scale bars are 10 mm. Wang & Lu (2013).

See also...

 A new species of cave-dwelling Ground Beetle from Jiangxi Province, southeast China.









 A new species of Ground Beetle from Mexico.











 Two new species of Jewel Beetle from Central America.










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