Publication details

Revision of the subgenus Meloehelea (genus Atrichopogon; Diptera: Ceratopogonidae)



Year of publication 2005
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Proceedings of the 5th Asia-Pacific Congress of Entomology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Zoology
Keywords Meloehelea; Atrichopogon; Ceratopogonidae
Description The subgenus Meloehelea Wirth of the genus Atrichopogon Kieffer belongs to the group of biting midges which suck haemolymph from Meloidae and related beetles. This subgenus covers by now 10 species distributed in Palaearctic (6) and Nearctic (5) regions. These species are usually distinguished on the basis of morphological characters such as TR (tarsal ratio), number of mandible teeth, proboscis section length etc. (see Wirth 1980, Szadziewski et al. 1995). Within a large biomonitoring studies in North-Western Bohemia (Bílina Area) and in Southern Moravia (National Park Podyjí) in the Czech Republic (1997-1999 and 2001-2003) focussed among others on most of the Diptera families, we obtained a material of three European biting midges species of the subgenus Meloehelea (genus Atrichopogon) winnertzi, lucorum, oedemerarum. Based on morphometric analysis several additional individuals were identified as A. (M.) epicautae following the Wirth's key (1980). Subsequently, we performed a DNA analysis comparing all Czech species of Meloehelea using sequences of 16S rDNA. Our material from the Central Europe was morphologically compared with the type material of A. (M.) epicautae and additional specimens of A (M.) lucorum from Smithsonian Institution (Washington) and the Canadian National Collection. Combined analysis of morphological and DNA data revealed some interesting facts: (1) There is no surviving type male of A. epicautae. Male specimens collected and described by Wirth (1980) are not Meloehelea at all have bare wings, infuscated eyes and their hypopygia not even look similarly. (2) The paratype females of A. epicautae allow identifying of their distinctive characters: absence of macrotrichia under Ba, R2/R1 ratio (up to 2.90) and the ratio of the length of the 3rd palpal segment and its width in the distal third - PR-N ratio (4.11-5.29). (3) Canadian specimens of A. epicautae, have uniformly many macrotrichia under Ba, and PR-N = 3.3-3.89, which is on the border with those of lucorum and paratypes of epicautae. (4) Specimens from the Czech Republic indetified as A. epicautae show very close relationship to this species following the Wirth's key. It have no macrotrichia under Ba and R2/R1 ratio is 2.96. However, the 296bp of 16S rRNA gene sequence of this specimen was completely identical with those of a male of A. lucorum from the Czech Republic putting a question about validity of morphological specification of A. epicautae. (5) In the case of A. lucorum, there was no typical specimen available of this species from the U.S.A. A majority of material from the Smithsonian Inst. came from England, Scotland and Estonia. All of them were typical lucorum numerous macrotrichia under Ba, TR = 2.34-2.6, and PR-N = 4.84-5.84. The only specimen collected in the U.S.A. (Arizona) identified as lucorum had no macrotrichia under Ba; however, on the basis of measurements it was very close to A. lucorum. Similarly, the status of the Canadian A. lucorum is not clear. It has a PR= 4 inferring a relationship to A. winnertzi. But, if we take PR-N (5.64-5.68), Canadian specimens of A. lucorum fit in the classical lucorum group. This Canadian species has also mandible teeth very similar to those of A. winnertzi. But has no (or only few) macrotrichia under Ba on the wing, what is another difference of A. winnertzi. We documented no consistent pattern in both the presence of macrotrichia and morphometric characters frequently used for species identification in the subgenus Meloehelea.
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