Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A new weevil: Evemphyron sinense

Credit: Dr Zhiliang Wang; CC-BY 4.0
Weevils are one of the most diverse insect groups. Over 60,000 species are currently known to science. They can be recognized by elbowed antennae and many of them have a prolonged snout. At the tip of this snout is their mouth. Depending on the species, weevils range in size from about 3 mm to over 10 mm in length. They are usually dark-colored—brownish to black. Some have scales or shiny hairs covering part of their bodies.

Nearly all known weevils are vegetarians both as larva and adults. Hardly any plant is not affected by at least one species of weevil. Females of the leaf-roller weevils also cut a hardwood leaf and roll it, laying one egg inside each one. Our new species belongs to such a group but here the females cut shoots to lay their eggs. This rather confusing detail led to the description of a new genus with a name based on the classical Greek expression for confusion (emphyros). The species name refers to the country of origin, China.

For the experts: A new genus Evemphyron Alonso-Zarazaga, Lv & Wang, gen. n., belonging to Attelabidae Rhynchitinae, is described. Its single species, Evemphyron sinense Alonso-Zarazaga, Lv & Wang, sp. n., was reared from larvae found inside seed pods of the legume Callerya dielsiana (Fabaceae, Millettieae) in Sichuan Province (China). The species is figured and placed in the Deporaini because of the presence of minute labial palpi, the strongly crescentic apex of the postmentum, and the apodemes of male IX sternite and female VIII sternite curved sinistro-anterially near their cephalic end. It shows 3-segmented labial palpi and male sex patches on the procoxae, characters that suggest a basal position in the tribe.

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