Friday, October 9, 2015

A new bush cricket: Horatosphaga aethiopica

Bush crickets belong to the cricket family Tettigoniidae whose members are also often called katydids or long-horned grasshoppers. Tettigoniids can be distinguished from grasshoppers by the length of their antennae, which may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers' antennae are always relatively short and thickened.

Between March and September 1939, an expedition to the territory of the Omo river in Ethiopia brought the participants to the northern part of the Turkana lake, where they collected a series of Horatosphaga specimens including the species that was only now after 76 years described as a new one. The name of the new species refers to its country of origin, Ethiopia.

For the experts: Results of the study of specimens collected in tropical Africa and preserved in different European collections and museums are reported and extensively illustrated. The following three new species are described: Horatosphaga aethiopica sp. n., Dapanera occulta sp. n. and Cestromoecha laeglae sp. n. In addition, new diagnostic characters or distributional data for Ruspolia differens (Serville, 1838), Thyridorhoptrum senegalense Krauss, 1877, Horatosphaga leggei (Kirby, 1909), Horatosphaga linearis (Rehn, 1910), Preussia lobatipes Karsch, 1890 and Dapanera eidmanni Ebner, 1943 are reported. Finally, Symmetropleura plana (Walker, 1869) is proposed to be transferred to the genus Symmetrokarschia Massa, 2015, Conocephalus carbonarius (Redtenbacher, 1891) to the genus Thyridorhoptrum Rehn & Hebard, 1915; the genus Gonatoxia Karsch, 1889 is proposed to be synonymized with Dapanera Karsch, 1889.

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