Insects - Southern Africa (identified for the 1st time on iNat or difficult to identify)'s Journal

20 February, 2024

Locris sanguinipes (Walker, 1851)

Locris sanguinipes is a generally black and pubescent cercopid with red legs; the costal and apical margins of the forewings may also occasionally be red.

Original description:
Black: head and chest shagreened, dull: head above depressed: face convex, very prominent; keel and cross ridges slight: mouth red, with a black tip: abdomen pitchy, red at the base and at the tip: legs red; thighs partly pitchy: fore-wings dark brown; cross-veins very few, occupying only the tips of the wings: hind-wings grayish, brown at the base. Length of the body 2 lines; of the wings 6 lines.
Walker, F., 1851b. List of the specimens of homopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. British Museum, London. Part III: (4)

Observation on inat:

Illustration in:
Distant, W.L. 1911. Insecta Transvaaliensia: A Contribution to a Knowledge of the Entomology of South Africa. Table 20, figure 16.

Posted on 20 February, 2024 21:08 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Parastizopus armaticeps armaticeps (Péringuey 1892)

P. armaticeps is a medium-sized flightless shiny black beetle measuring 15 mm. It belongs to a genus characterized by the plain elytral base (without border), relatively large and oblong body, the presence of elytral rows. Median part of mentum wide, moderately convex, without longitudinal carina; prosternal process projecting posteriad.
P. armaticeps: Anterior margin of head with moderately deep clypeal emargination, base of labrum not visible; surface of the abdominal ventrites covered with punctures. Elytral humeri moderately obtuse, slightly produced anteriad. Fore and mid tibiae in both sexes with sharp or obtuse edge at apex.

Original description in:
Péringuey, L. 1892. Fourth contribution to the South African coleopterous fauna. Description of new Coleoptera in the South African Museum. Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society, 6
Black, moderately shining, hairless; head punctulated with a deep transverse impression, epistome arcuated, incised in the centre with two sharp short spines on each side of the dent; prothorax with the sides rounded and the anterior half broader than the posterior, finely punctured, depressed; elytra less broad than the prothorax, nearly parallel, rounded behind, depressed and finely striated; anterior tibiae broadly dilated at the apex, and with an obtuse tooth inwardly, the intermediate and posterior acutely rugose, dilated at the apex with a sharp tooth outside and a blunt one inside, the posterior ones are also sub-falcate.

The species is distributed throughout the Kalahari dune system and inhabits semi-stable and stable dune faces. In the southern Kalahari it is closely associated with its food plant Calobota linearifolia, the fallen leaves and twigs of which are staple diet for adults and larvae.
Subsociality involving biparental care has been extensively studied in this species in the Kalahari. Parental investment in a very small number of offspring is a response to rapid sand desiccation and food scarcity. The beetles dig aggregated burrows in the sand after rains in the vicinity of Gannabushes. Only slight modification of these burrows can take place once the sand is dry, owing to its friability and the likelihood of burrows collapsing. During drought, therefore, beetles are dependent on already existing burrows. Long-term pair bonds are formed, the beetles digging breeding burrows into which females bring food after foraging at night. The adoption of a nocturnal lifestyle allows P. armaticeps to escape high daytime surface sand temperatures. Both parents care for the young and excavate a breeding burrow together. They play similar roles in burrow excavation and protection until the eggs hatch, after which male and female roles diverge markedly. Females collect detritus on the surface at night, depositing this at the burrow entrance, which they also clear of sand in the early evening. Males remain inside the burrow and dig to deepen and extend it, maintaining its moisture level as the sand desiccates. They also pull the food dropped by the female down to the burrow base to form a food store for the offspring. Both sexes guard the burrow and attack same-sex intruders, especially in the early phases of reproduction. The parents remain inside with the pupal cocoons until the teneral adults eclose.
Breeding success depends primarily on male size because larger males dig deeper burrows which remain moist longer to favor larval development, and females select the largest male partners by pushing under them to judge their weight. Parastizopus beetles are also unique among tenebrionids in terms of an extraordinary courtship behavior. After heavy rainfalls, the beetles emerge from aggregation burrows, which they inhabit during drought, and court in small mixed-sex groups on the ground surface. Females select their partners among the males present based on male body mass, which indicates the digging ability of a male. The courting groups are initiated by males, which exhibit a characteristic calling behavior: Males do a headstand and expose their aedeagus emitting a pheromone that attracts females.

iNat observation:

Posted on 20 February, 2024 18:47 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Rhinaulax sericans Stål, 1856

The genus Rhinaulax is easily identified among all other African Cercopidae by the very long antennae, segment 3 about three times longer than segment 2.
Rhinaulax sericans should differ from the more common R. analis in the general dark coloration, the pubescence, and the the relatively longer head.

Translated description from Stål 1866:
Black, pubescent, punctate; metasthetium [the ventral side of the metathorax = metasternum] posteriorly, hind coxae almost entirely and tegmina testaceous; the intraocular part of the head is twice as wide as it is long. On the front, an oblong, wide impression, extended from the base beyond the middle, furrowed in the middle, lined.

Observations in inat:

Posted on 20 February, 2024 13:55 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Platyscapa soraria Wiebes 1980

This fig wasp is the pollinator of Ficus ingens. Identification of fig wasps from photographs often requires association with - and identification of - the host plant.

Original description (with illustrations) in: Wiebes, J.T.; Abdurahiman, U.C. 1980, Additional notes on Platyscapa Motschulsky (Hymenoptera Chalcidoidea, Agaonidae). Proceedings. Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam (C) 83:206

Description of female: Blackish. Head shorter than wide, antenna with 11 segments. Fore wing 1.3 mm long; submarginal, marginal, stigmal and postmarginal vein ratio of about 22:6:5:4; legth of hind tarsus twice that of tibia. Length (head, mesosoma and metasoma) 1.4 mm; ovipositor length 0.8 mm.
Illustrations of male:

Type locality: Zambia
Distribution ( Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, but probably also present in the entire range of the host fig, Ficus ingens (
GBIF also has collection records from Mauritius and Panama (presumably introduced).

More information on the interactions between fig wasps and figs:
iNaturalist observations:

Posted on 20 February, 2024 08:17 by alandmanson alandmanson | 1 comment | Leave a comment

Locris rhodesiana Distant 1908

This species has a very distinct coloration of the tegmina being red basally and cream-ocraceous apically with dark spots.

Original description in:
Distant, W.L., 1908. Rhynchotal notes. XLV. Annals and Magazine of Natural History. London. (Ser. 8). 2.

Head, pronotum, and scutellum black; a lateral spot on head in front of eyes and lateral and posterior margins of pronotum sanguineous; abdomen above sanguineous, shaded with black, especially near base and apex; body beneath and legs blackish, apices of the femora, and the whole of the tibiae sanguineous; tegmina with the basal third sanguineous, remaining area creamy-white, darkening to pale ochraceous between the veins on apical area, a large black oblique spot commencing on costal margin of apical area, and the apical marginal area irregularly spotted with piceous; wings hyaline, about basal third and the apical margin piceous, extreme base sanguineous; face globose; pronotum coarsely punctate but not rugose, tegmina with the veins very prominent, and the surface between them foveately depressed except on basal third.
Long., excl. tegm., 6 mm.; exp. tegm. 18 mm.

Type locality: 'N.W. Rhodesia; W. of Medona'
This species has also GBIF collection records from South Africa (Himeville, Drakensberg and Rustenburg, North West Province).

iNat observation:

Posted on 20 February, 2024 05:56 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

19 February, 2024

Paragus (Serratoparagus) azureus scrupeus Stuckenberg 1954

Subgenus Serratoparagus:
The Paragus serratus-group was defined by Stuckenberg (1954), and was erected as the subgenus Paragus (Serratoparagus) by Vujic et al. (2008).
Diagnosis: Scutellum with conspicuous teeth (minimum about double length of diameter) on posterior margin. Eye with vertical alternate vittae (bands) of pile reflecting light differently; in dorsolateral view with two dark and three more distinct, white, dorso-ventral stripes.

Paragus (Serratoparagus) azureus scrupeus:
This subspecies differs from the typical form in having well developed sculpturation on the abdomen.

Females have a spot of pollen on each side of the anterior ocellus.
Thorax dull black in the male, with cyanescent and violaceous reflections in the female. Mesonotal stripes conspicuous and white, complete in the male, almost complete in the female.
Scutellum with 12 subequal teeth, moderately long and each tipped with dark brown.
Wings with pale stigma, clear yellow, and veins light brown; subcosta and apical part of first longitudinal vein yellowish-brown.
Abdomen broad; sides flattened and triangular in crosssection, differing in this respect from P. capricorni and pusillus which have distinctly rounded sides. Third and fourth segments distinctly carinate. Sculpturation strongly developed on all segments. Abdomen brown, translucent, a little darker and reddish in places. Sides of second segment narrowly fusco-piceous, this dark colour continuing onto
apical corners of first segment. Vittae white and distinct.

Original description in:
Stuckenberg, B.R. 1954. The Paragus serratus complex, with descriptions of new species (Diptera: Syrphidae). Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 105.

Illustration of a male in:
Dawah, Hassan A., Abdullah, Mohammed A., Ahmad, Syed Kamran, Al-Dhafer, Hathal & Turner, James, 2020, An overview of the Syrphidae (Diptera) of Saudi Arabia, Zootaxa 4855 (1)

Distribution Afrotropical, in Southern Africa known from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, type locality: Aden

iNat observation:

Posted on 19 February, 2024 11:24 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Locris junodi Distant 1897

A Locris species of rather unique coloration.

Original description in:
Distant, W. L. 1897. On a collection of Homoptera made in southern Africa. Annals and Magazine of Natural History. London. (Ser. 6). 19 (119). doi:10.1080/00222939708680516

Head, pronotum, scutellum, basal third and apical margin of tegmina, face and legs sanguineous; tegmina (excluding base and apical margin) pale creamy ochraceous, mottled with pale fuscous, the apical third distinctly darker ochraeeous, containing a dark fuscous spot. Eyes, ocelli, two spots on anterior area of pronotum, sternum, abdomen beneath, and bases of femora piceous.
Long., incl. tegm, 8 millim.

Type locality: Maputo, Mozambique

Illustration in:
Distant, W.L. 1911. Insecta Transvaaliensia: A Contribution to a Knowledge of the Entomology of South Africa. Table 22, figure 14.

iNat observations:

Posted on 19 February, 2024 09:28 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

18 February, 2024

Hemitriecphora strongii (Hope, 1837)

Hemitriecphora is a genus of striking spittlebugs which are usually black with well-defined yellow spots or streaks on the forewings. 15 species are distributed mostly across tropical Africa, with 2 species extending into southeastern Africa.

Hemitriecphora strongii is a fairly distinctive species, and the typical form is unlikely to be confused with anything else; the pronotum and the basal half of the forewings are largely yellow, the apical half black with a large yellow spot. However, the species may occasionally have much reduced yellow coloration.

Original description (translated from Latin):
Yellow, head and scutellum black, elytra to the sides, posteriorly variegated in black and orange. Head black. Thorax anteriorly rounded, posteriorly emarginate. Scutellum black. Elytra anteriorly orange, posteriorly black, decorated with two oval yellow spots. The feet are black, the spices of hind tibiae with spines

Observations on iNaturalist:

Posted on 18 February, 2024 17:26 by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster | 1 comment | Leave a comment

Ancylorhynchus cruciger (Loew 1858)

A striking Robber Fly with cross-mark on the thorax and dark-tipped wing. Antennae entirely orange. Mesonotum rufous-orange, with dark medial longitudinal stripe and dark somewhat triangular patches centrally anterior of transverse suture forming a cross-pattern. Scutellum orange with dark red-brown anteromedial part. Legs orange and brownish black. Wings yellowish microtrichose, distal and posterior parts brown (from about r–m and posterior of Cup). Abdomen predominantly blackish with small orange patches dorsally. T1 uniformly blackish, T2–4 blackish with orange posterior margins and large silver pruinose areas posterolaterally; T5–7 dark red-brown to black, uniformly silver-grey pruinose; T8–9 orange-brown.

Original description (reproduced) in:
Loew, H. 1860: Die Dipteren-Fauna Südafrikas.

Redescription with illustration of wing in:
Londt, J. G. H. 2011, A review of Afrotropical Ancylorhynchus Berthold, 1827 (Diptera: Asilidae: Stenopogoninae), African Invertebrates 52 (2)
Key in full paper:

Widely distributed in Southern, Central and East Africa.

iNat observation:

Posted on 18 February, 2024 16:35 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Cyrtotyche satanas Pascoe 1866

A large blackish-brownish species with purplish hue, antennae, palps and tarsi black. Elytra densely covered with large black tubercles; in the middle of the pronotum a transverse row of elongate truncated obtuse shiny tubercles above and on each side behind the outermost one is a pointed tubercle.

Original description in:
Pascoe, F. P. 1866. Notices of new or little-known Genera and Species of Coleoptera. Reprinted from The Journal of Entomology.
Dark purplish brown, shining; head minutely punctated; prothorax rather broader than the elytra, very convex and arched above, and much contracted at the base, four glossy oblong tubercles in a transverse line in the centre, with two on each side behind, the uppermost very large and prominent, the lowermost bifid, the intervals rather dull, irregular and impunctate; scutellum very small, triangular; elytra impunctate, short and globose-, scarcely as broad as the prothorax at the base, irregularly covered with large conical tubercles, the intervals pitted here and there, especially near the suture; body beneath black, shining; legs dark purple, shining; tarsi black.

Type locality: Natal

Key to Cyrtotyche species in:
Kulzer, H. 1950. 3. Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Tenebrioniden. Entom. Arbeiten aus dem Museum Gg. Frey, Bd. 1.

iNat observation:

Posted on 18 February, 2024 14:16 by traianbertau traianbertau | 0 comments | Leave a comment