Comprehensive Description

provided by Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology
Tiphia decrescens Walker

Tiphia decrescens Walker, 1859:376 [, not as stated; Ceylon; type in British Museum (Natural History)].—Walker in Tennent, 1861:454 [listed].—Motschulsky, 1863:22 [listed].—Bingham, 1896:431 [listed].—Dalla Torre, 1897:135 [listed].—Turner, 1908b:125 [synonymizes T. nervosa Nurse and suggests it may be of T. policarinata Magretti].—Hedicke, 1936:8 [listed].

Tiphia conscia Nurse, 1902:81 [; Deesa; syntype series in British Museum (Natural History)].—Turner, 1908b:124 [synonymized T. conscia under T. policarinata Magretti]. [New synonymy.] [Lectotype designated herein.]

Tiphia (Tiphia) batorea Allen, 1975:34, 35 [; Coimbatore, South India; type in Leiden Museum]. [New synonymy.]

This small species is relatively abundant and occurs chiefly in the Dry Zone in altitudes ranging near sea level to some 2000 ft. It occurs also in India as far north as Deesa.

I have examined the types of T. decrescens and T. batorea and find them to be conspecific. The syntype series of T. conscia Nurse consists of six females from Deesa, one collected in October 1898 and five in June 1901. These specimens have the wings weakly tinged with yellow, the tegula, tibiae, and tarsi usually reddish, and the hind margin of the propodeum testaceous. Most Ceylonese females have the wings infumated, lack the reddish tegula, tibiae, and tarsi and testaceous margin of the propodeum, but there are a few specimens having the coloration of Nurse's type series, and I have no hesitation in making this synonymy. I have selected one of the June 1901 specimens as lectotype because the 1898 specimen is aberrant in having three rather than five carinae composing the propodeal areola. Turner suggested that T. decrescens was the opposite sex of T. policarinata Magretti, 1892; I exclude the latter from the synonymy because I have not seen the type from Burma. Turner also synonymized T. nervosa Nurse under T. decrescens. M.C. Day informed me (in litt.) that there were two syntypes of T. nervosa in the British Museum (Natural History) but could locate only one in 1981. I have examined this syntype and find that it is not T. decrescens or any other species occurring in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, I have removed T. nervosa from the synonymy of T. decrescens pending study of the second syntype.

The sex association is based on the collection of both sexes together, though not in copula, on three different dates in Gampaha Botanic Garden, on two different dates in Kandy, and on one date in Padaviya.

Females are readily distinguished by the normal tegula, lack of a groove on the inner surface of the hind tibia, the inflated, broadened mid and hind tibiae, and the quinquecarinate propodeal areola. Males are recognized by the normal tegula, the tuft of dense, suberect setae on the sixth abdominal sternum, predominantly dark legs except reddish fore and mid femora and tibiae, and the lengthy marginal cell.

FEMALE.—Length 6.8–8.0 mm. Black, mandible red except base and apex; tegula brown, and sometimes tarsi in part. Vestiture white. Wings lightly infumated, stigma dark, veins amber.

Head 1.5 times as wide as interocular distance at anterior ocellus; median clypeal lobe (Figure 50) with margin gently emarginate, angles rounded, 1.1 times as wide as antennal fossa; lower front without median ridge, punctures mostly contiguous; upper front usually with 2 or 3 impunctate interspaces wider than an ocellus, majority of punctures separated by at most half the width of a puncture.

Pronotal disk with weak anterior ridge sometimes lacking in middle, most of punctures on anterior half separated by half the width of a puncture or more, apical area impunctate, half the width of disk in middle and about a quarter at side; lateral pronotal surface with oblique median groove, aciculate above groove and finely wrinkled below, a few scattered punctures above and anteriorly; anterior escarpment of scutum complete only across middle, not attaining notauli; center of disk contiguously punctate, elsewhere with scattered punctures; tegula opaque, length 1.2 times width; subalar patch as wide as tegula, densely micropunctate and with scattered larger punctures, anterior half of mesopleural disk with punctures separated by half or more the width of a puncture, posteriorly with rather dense small punctures and a few interspersed larger ones; mid and hind tibiae inflated (Figure 48), 2.2 times as long as wide; inner surface of hind tibia not ridged (Figure 46), sensorium small, subcircular, slightly impressed; inner surface of hind metatarsus without median groove (Figure 44); propodeal areola quinquecarinate (Figure 51, “ar”), median carina usually complete to apex, intermediate carinae usually extending two-thirds toward apex, basal width 1.4–1.5 times apical width and 0.6–0.7 times length, area laterad of areola finely transversely aciculate, submarginal carina (Figure 51, “sc”) sinuous and terminating in lateral ridge about four-fifths toward apex; posterior propodeal surface finely and closely punctate, median ridge absent; lateral propodeal surface with close oblique rugulae posteriorly and above, closely obliquely lineolate below anteriorly.

Preapical impression of first abdominal tergum lightly impressed, usually 1 puncture in width across middle, but occasionally 2; pygidium closely punctate on anterior half except for a narrow median smooth space posteriorly, apical half smooth, delicately shagreened.

MALE.—Length 4.3–5.8 mm. Black, the following light red: mandible exept base and apex, flagellum beneath, posterior impunctate margin of pronotum, tegula, apex of femora, all of tibiae and tarsi, but hind tibia and tarsus sometimes brownish, or legs rarely entirely dark. Vestiture white but reddish or yellowish on posterior abdominal segments. Wings clear, stigma dark brown, veins testaceous near base, amber or light brown toward apex.

Head 1.5–1.6 times as wide as interocular distance at anterior ocellus; mandible with or without a small preapical denticle on inner margin; clypeal lobe (Figure 63) large, flat, apex truncate or slightly emarginate, lateral angles rounded, 1.3 times as wide as antennal fossa; lower front with median ridge very weak or usually absent, punctures small and subconfluent; upper front with punctures larger, mostly separated by half the width of a puncture, occasionally with 2 impunctate interspaces wider than an ocellus.

Pronotal disk with strong anterior ridge, short rugulae behind it weak or lacking, discal punctures small and mostly separated by half the diameter of a puncture, impunctate posterior area about a third of the disk medianly and a sixth laterally; side of pronotum with an oblique median groove, obliquely lineolate above except for some rugulae anteriorly and obliquely rugulose below; scutum on posterior half with subcontiguous punctures in middle, elsewhere the punctures separated by half or more the width of a puncture; tegula transparent, 1.0–1.2 times as long as width; mesopleural disk with many punctures separated by half the diameter of a puncture or more, sometimes with interspersed smaller punctures; inner surface of hind tibia with a median ridge; marginal cell extending farther toward apex than second submarginal; propodeal areola tricarinate, median carina usually extending to apex, basal width 1.3–1.5 times apical width and 0.7–0.8 times length, area laterad of areola minutely roughened, submarginal carina sinuous, terminating in lateral ridge about four-fifths from base; posterior propodeal surface with numerous close strong punctures; lateral propodeal surface with strong oblique rugulae posteriorly and above, obliquely lineolate elsewhere.

First abdominal segment 1.1–1.2 times as long as wide; first tergum with preapical impression shallow, 1 or 2 punctures wide across middle; posterolateral process of fifth sternum well developed, arcuate, oblique; sixth sternum (Figure 57) with median tuft of dense suberect hair.

SPECIMENS EXAMINED.—NORTHERN PROVINCE. Mannar District: 1, 0.5 mi NE Kokmotte Bungalow, Wilpattu Natl. Park, 21–25 May, Krombein et al. (USNM).

NORTH CENTRAL PROVINCE. Anuradhapura District: 2, 5, Padaviya Irrigation Bung., 180 ft, 3 in Malaise trap, 27 Feb–9 Mar, 18 May, Davis et al., Krombein et al. (USNM); 1, Maradan Maduwa, Wilpattu Natl. Park, 23 mi W Anuradhapura, 2 Feb, Brinck et al. (Lund). Polonnaruwa District: 1, 1, Polonnaruwa, 3 Mar, 17 Jul, Keiser, Krombein et al. (USNM, Basel).

EASTERN PROVINCE. Trincomalee District: 1, Tampalakaman, Naval Head Works Sanctuary, 29 Jan, Krombein et al. (USNM). Batticaloa District: 1, 15 mi SSW Batticaloa, 8 Mar, in dry meadow, Brinck et al. (Lund). Amparai District: 1, Inginiyagala, Samudra Gardens, 250 ft, in Malaise trap, 22–23 Nov, Hevel et al. (USNM).

CENTRAL PROVINCE. Kandy District: 1, 5 mi NW Mahiyangana, in Malaise trap at Irrigation Bung., 30 Mar–9 Apr, Spangler et al. (USNM); 5, 16, Kandy (includes Udawattakele Sanctuary, 2100 ft, Kandy Reservoir Jungle, Roseneath, Deiyannewela, Peradeniya Expt. Sta., Peak View Motel, 1800 ft), 15–24 Jan, 25 Feb, 29 Mar, 16–31 Aug, 30 Sep, Davis et al., Karunaratne et al., Keiser, Krombein et al., Spangler et al. (USNM, Basel, Ottawa). Matale District: 1, Nalanda, 4 Mar, Krombein et al. (USNM).

NORTH WESTERN PROVINCE. Kurunegala District: 2, Kurunegala, Badagamuwa Jungle, 1 in Malaise trap, 24–27 Jan, Krombein et al. (USNM).

WESTERN PROVINCE. Colombo District: 18, 50, Gampaha Botanical Garden, 14 Jan, 24 May, 27 Sep, 8 Nov, Krombein et al., Messersmith et al. (USNM); 1, Kotte, 5 Jul, Henry (Colombo); 2, 3, Nugegoda, Papiliyana, 1 May, 24 Nov, Karunaratne (USNM); 6, 26, Colombo (includes Museum Gardens, Colpetty), 28–31 Jan, 4, 16 Apr, 22, 23 June, 11–21 Nov, Halstead, Henry, Karunaratne, Krombein et al., Perera, Wickwar, Wijesinhe (USNM, Colombo, London, Lawrence, San Francisco); 1, Negombo, 10–11 Feb, Stubbs et al. (London); 1, Udugalla, 12 mi from Colombo, 15 Feb, Perera (Lawrence); 1, Battaramulla, 22 May, Henry (Colombo); 1, Handapangoda Timber Reserve, 18 Jan, Krombein et al. (USNM).

SABARAGAMUWA PROVINCE. Ratnapura District: 1, Uggalkaltota, Malaise trap, 23–26 Jun, Krombein et al. (USNM); 1, Gilimale, Induruwa Jungle, Malaise trap, 10 Oct, Krombein et al. (USNM); 2, Karagal Oya, 3 mi ENE Belihul Oya, 1900 ft, 2 Mar, Brinck et al. (Lund); 1, Ratnapura, Pompakele, 25 Mar, Krombein et al. (USNM).

UVA PROVINCE. Badulla District: 1, Bintenne, Nov, Henry (Colombo).

SOUTHERN PROVINCE. Galle District: 1, Hikkaduwa, 11 mi NW Galle, 25 Jan, Brinck et al. (Lund). Matara District: 1, Enselwatte, above 2500 ft, 19–20 Oct, Hevel et al. (USNM).

MISCELLANEOUS. 2, 2, Ceylon, #11746, Nietner (Berlin); 1, Ceylon, 4 Oct, Yerbury (Geneva).
bibliographic citation
Krombein, Karl V. 1982. "Biosystematic Studies of Ceylonese Wasps, IX: A Monograph of the Tiphiidae (Hymenoptera: Vespoidea)." Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. 1-121. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.00810282.374