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A new cavernicolous assassin bug of the genus Bagauda Bergroth (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae) from the Western Ghats, India

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Accepted by D. Redei: 3 May 2016; published: 23 Jun. 2016
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ZOOTAXA
ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition)
ISSN
1175-5334
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Copyright © 2016 Magnolia Press
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http://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4127.2.8
http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:AC0F665C-8390-472E-8020-BEB330BA2D37
A new cavernicolous assassin bug of the genus Bagauda Bergroth (Heteroptera:
Reduviidae: Emesinae) from the Western Ghats, India
SIDDHARTH KULKARNI
1
& HEMANT V. GHATE
2
1
Hemi Terrace Bldg., Behind Ellora Palace, Balajinagar, Pune-411043, India. E-mail: sskspider@gmail.com
2
PG Research Centre, Department of Zoology, Modern College of Arts Science and Commerce, Shivajinagar, Pune 411005, India.
E-mail: hemantghate@gmail.com
Abstract
A new cavernicolous, thread-legged assassin bug, Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov. (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Reduviidae:
Emesinae), collected from a cave near Satara, in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, India, is described. Its interaction with
the web of an uloborid spider Zosis geniculata (Olivier, 1789) (Araneae: Uloboridae) is discussed.
Key words: Heteroptera, Emesinae, new taxon, Bagauda, Uloboridae spider
Introduction
During a survey of three adjacent caves in Satara district, Maharashtra State, India, in October 2015, one of us
(SSK) came across a slender bug with extremely long legs, in association with a spider web. An additional visit
within a week revealed more adults and nymphs associated with the spider web, some nymphs and adults were also
moving on bare rocks. The cave, from which the bug and the spider were collected, is in lateritic rocky outcrop and
it opens eastwards (altitude 1000 m ASL) (Figure 1). It is naturally formed, quite likely to have been enlarged and
inhabited by people in the past, now abandoned. Presently, the cave is inhabited by bats, Blanford’s rat Madromys
blanfordi (Thomas, 1881) (Muridae), spiders [Spariolenus sp. (Sparassidae), Loxosceles sp. (Sicariidae), Zosis
geniculata (Olivier, 1789) (Uloboridae)], two species of emesine bugs (Myiophanes greeni Distant, 1903 and a
Bagauda species described as new below), and is attended daily by cattle for shade and salts that have leached over
the years, also adding dung to the proximal part of the cave system. There are three caves with a common opening,
the middle one of which is now converted into a temple by local people. The other two caves are deep inside and
accessible up to 40 m only, beyond which the cave height and the width is reduced so that one can only crawl. This
cave is one of the several such caves in nearby areas that are inaccessible due to dense forest and presence of wild
animals.
One of the emesine bugs was identified as a species of the genus Bagauda Bergroth, 1903 belonging to the
tribe Leistarchini (Wygodzinsky 1966, Rédei & Tsai 2010). Nomenclatural problems in connection with the
generic name were highlighted by Rédei (2007, 2008); Bagauda is potentially a junior synonym of Pleias Kirkaldy,
1901. As the type species of Pleias, P. r it s e m a e Kirkaldy, 1901 differs from all other Bagauda in some characters
(Rédei 2007), and the name Bagauda is widely used in the literature, we consider the name Bagauda as valid. We
also consulted Dispons (1965) and Villiers (1970), references that provide brief but useful notes and keys on the
Oriental species of Bagauda.
Twelve species of Bagauda are known from India and adjacent countries and eight from tropical Africa
(Wygodzinsky 1966, Rédei & Tsai 2010); thus the genus is Oriental and African in distribution. Only four species
are so far known from India: B. avidus Bergroth, 1903 (western India), B. cavernicola Paiva, 1919 (Assam), B.
similis Wygodzinsky, 1966 (West Bengal and Tamil Nadu) and B. splendens Distant, 1906 (south India and
Madhya Pradesh). All these Indian species as well as the other Oriental species of the genus are quite different in
coloration from the one we have described here, as is evident from the available descriptions and illustrations of
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these four species. According to Wygodzinsky (1966), the coloration is quite stable for all species of this genus.
This fact, plus the knowledge that most of the species of this genus appear to be restricted to a single or a few
caves, also indicates that the species collected in Satara is an undescribed species. We therefore describe this
Bagauda as a new species, provide digital colour images for various important characters and compare it with the
other well-known species. This is the first species of Bagauda described with so many digital colour images,
including those of the live insects.
The present paper is an output of our ongoing survey of the various bugs found around Pune, and Maharashtra.
Earlier results of the survey include the papers by Ghate (2013, 2015), Ghate & Jadhav (2015), Kocorek & Ghate
(2012), and Kulkarni & Ghate (2016).
Methods
Live emesine bugs (two males, one female, one nymph) were collected from a cave located at Chalkewadi road
near Sajjangad fort, Satara, Maharashtra, India. Bugs were studied under a Leica stereozoom (MZ6) microscope
and also photographed with attached Canon Powershot S50 camera. Several images were stacked using Combine
ZM software and the images were processed with Adobe Photoshop CS5. Measurements were done with Erma
stage and ocular micrometer and an accurate scale. The pygophore was dissected after treating the last 3 abdominal
segments with hot 10% KOH, the phallic complex was dissected and the parameres and phallus were separated and
mounted in polyvinyl lactophenol (PVLP) with lignin pink dye, and photographed using Axiocam ER65S attached
to Zeiss microscope.
Description
Bagauda Bergroth 1903
Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov.
Taxonomic placement. Family Reduviidae, subfamily Emesinae and tribe Leistarchini, as per the latest
classification of the genus.
Type material. Holotype: male, Chalkewadi road near Sajjangad fort, Satara, Maharashtra, India, 20.x.2015,
leg. S. Kulkarni; deposited at the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Western Regional Station, Pune. Paratypes: 1
male and 1 female from the same locality, 25.x.2015, collected by the same collector; deposited in the personal
collection of H.V. Ghate at Modern College (Shivajinagar, Pune).
Description. Macropterous male and female. Total length (apex of head to tip of abdomen): male (n=2) 13.0–
13.3 mm, female (n=1) 12.8 mm.
Other measurements in mm: (character: female paratype / male holotype): total length: 12.8 / 13.0; length of
head: 1.2 / 1.25; length of pronotum (measured in lateral view): 3.8 / 3.6; humeral width 2.8 / 2.7; length of
abdomen (from base to apex): 8.3 / 8.4; length of fore wing: 8.2 / 8.3; length of hind wing: 7.0 / 7.0; lengths of
antennal segments I: 10.8 /10.5, II: 8.0 /8.2, III: 3.0 / 3.0, IV: 2.1 / 2.1; length of fore coxa: 2.40 / 2.25, femur: 4.0 /
4.1, tibia: 2.4 / 2.25, tarsus: 1.2 / 1.3; length of mid femur: 11.6 / 11.0, tibia: 15.0 / 15.5, tarsus: 0.5 / 0.5; length of
hind femur: 14.4 / 13.0, tibia: 21.0 / 20.0, tarsus: 0.5 / 0.5; lengths of labial segments: 1st visible segment: 0.4 / 0.4
, 2nd visible segment: 0.5 / 0.5, 3rd visible segment 0.5 / 0.5.
Coloration. Body and appendages generally pale brown to dark brown; whitish areas present on posterior half
of anterior lobe of prothorax, at base of fore coxae, on distal third of fore femur (except its apex), on basal third of
fore tibia, and on femur-tibia junctions of mid and hind legs (in one specimen, whitish areas becoming pale
yellowish brown, except femur-tibia junctions). Head pale at base of antenniferous tubercle, on transverse sulcus
(= interocular furrow), at base or ‘neck’ and below eyes laterally. Antennae dark brown. Labium with first two
visible segments brownish and third segment pale. Meso- and metathorax brownish. Hemelytra smoky, semi-
transparent; corium with large whitish area apically; membrane with whitish veins discaly and dark veins along
margin, and with pale oval spot near base; hind wings transparent. Fore tibia light brown on distal part; tarsal
segments II and III lighter than segment I. Abdomen with several areas pale brown (Figs. 2–10).
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FIGURES 1–2. Habitat and habitus of Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov. 1, Habitat showing entrance to the cave; 2, a living
individual.
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FIGURES 3–4. Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov. 3, Lateral view of whole body; 4, lateral view of head and prothorax.
Structure. Head elongate ovoid, dorsally distinctly convex, partly setose, finely granular, ventrally flattish,
slightly longer than its width, with deep transverse sulcus between eyes. A fine, longitudinal, median sulcus present
in front of transverse sulcus, meeting transverse sulcus. Anteocular area narrowed considerably, slightly declivous;
post-ocular area slightly narrowed, gently constricted near middle and tumescent above. Clypeus prominently
raised; mandibular plates shorter than clypeus. Antenniferous tubercles large, situated on top of head, slightly
divergent (Fig. 11). Eyes moderately large, semi-globular, coarsely granular. Antennae with antennomeres very
thin. Labium extending up to fore coxae, moderately stout; first visible segment not extending up to anterior border
of eye; second visible segment reaching almost up to base of head.
Pronotum long; anterior lobe more or less smooth, covered with a few fine setae, convex in anterior half,
flattened in posterior half, distinct from posterior lobe by constriction, slightly longer than posterior lobe, and with
lateral margins almost parallel-sided, anterior margin concave and anterior angles tubercular and projecting
outward; posterior lobe bell-shaped, finely punctured and rugulose, sloping forward, broader than anterior lobe,
humeral angles bluntly triangular and posterior margin concave (Fig. 12). Prosternum slightly concave. Scutellum
sub-triangular, with lateral borders gently sinuate (Fig. 13).
Hemelytra fully covering abdomen, surpassing apex of abdomen, its venation more or less typical (Fig. 14);
hind wings small, very thin, delicate.
Fore legs with coxa much longer than its width, projecting in front of head; trochanter short; femur longer than
coxa, almost as long as tibia and tarsus combined, ventrally with 2 rows of spine-like setae; anteroventral (inner)
row slightly curved at base, starting far from base of femur; posteroventral (outer) row starting at base of femur;
basal setae somewhat stronger and longer than remaining setae; tibia shorter but more than half as long as femur,
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ventrally with slightly thick setae bent and pointed towards apex, and dorsally with very fine setae; tarsus with fine
curved claw at tip (Figs. 5–7).
Mid and hind legs very thin, very long; mid femur extending beyond abdominal apex by 3.5 mm; hind femur
surpassing abdominal apex by almost 8 mm.
Male genitalia: Pygophore about 1.5 mm long, ventrally convex, dorsally flat (Figs. 15, 16). Parameres visible
outside, curved apically as in other species of Bagauda, slightly swollen around middle, with beak-like apex, setose
(Fig. 17). Phallus weakly sclerotized; endosoma with very fine spines and spinules of complex arrangement (Figs.
18–21).
Female genitalia: genital segments in dorsal and ventral views, respectively, are shown in Figs. 22 and 23.
Etymology. The species is named after the late Ernst Mayr, a most respected theorist of systematic zoology
and a foremost evolutionary biologist of the 20th Century.
Distribution. Presently known only from the type locality-Satara, Maharashtra State, India.
FIGURES 5–7. Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov., fore leg. 5, Femur, tibia and tarsus showing color and relative proportions; 6,
tarsus showing dark, longest basal segment; 7, tibia showing a ventral row of adpressed dark spines.
Discussion
Comparison with related species. A comparison with other adequately described and illustrated species of
Bagauda is presented below.
Bagauda avidus Bergroth, 1903. Type locality: Bombay. The original description (Bergroth 1903) is brief and
inadequate, the redescription by Distant (1903) probably pertains to a different species (Wygodzinsky 1966). This
species differs conspicuously from B. ernstmayri sp. nov. by the lack of contrasting markings on its pronotum and
fore leg (Bergroth 1903, Wygodzinsky 1966).
Bagauda splendens Distant, 1906. Type locality: Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); subsequent record: Madhya
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Pradesh, India (Chandra et al. 2015). This species differs from B. ernstmayri sp. nov in the fore femur being black
except at base, the fore tibia being completely black, and the anterior lobe of pronotum being completely yellow,
with exception of anterior margin (Wygodzinsky 1966).
Bagauda cavernicola Paiva, 1919. Type locality: Garo Hills in Assam. This species is apparently rather similar
to B. ernstmayri sp. nov. but the posterior lobe of the pronotum is provided with extensive pale markings (Paiva
1919).
FIGURES 8–14. Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov. 8, Thoracic sterna; 9, abdominal sternites in female; 10, pygophore in ventral
view; 11, head in dorsal view; 12, head, pronotum and scutellum; 13, prothorax in ventrolateral view, 14, hemelytra.
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FIGURES 15–18. Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov., male genitalia. 15, pygophore in dorsal view; 16, pygophore in lateral view;
17, paramere; 18, phallus in lateral view.
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FIGURES 19–22. Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov., phallus and female terminalia. 19, Phallus in dorsal view; 20, same in
lateral view; 21, same in ventral view; 22, female genital segments in dorsal view; 23, same in ventral view.
Bagauda similis Wygodzinsky, 1966. Type locality: Bengal and Coimbatore, South India. Images of the
holotype (male, NHM, London) were seen. The colour of the pronotum of the male of this species is somewhat
similar to that of Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov. but with a much narrower white area on posterior lobe, while the
female is entirely different in coloration. No similar sexual dimorphism occurs in Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov.
Besides, B. similis has different coloration of fore legs, with the femur possessing a small, incomplete pale annulus
distally (Wygodzinsky 1966).
Thus, all the four species of Bagauda so far reported from in India are quite distinct, and Bagauda ernstmayri
sp. nov. is easily differentiated from them.
Villiers (1970) described two additional cave-inhabiting species of Bagauda from Sri Lanka, B. aelleni
Villiers, 1970 and B. strinatii Villiers, 1970. The original descriptions and accompanying illustrations leave no
doubt that none of these species are morphologically similar to B. ernstmayri sp. nov.
Other cave dwelling species of Bagauda reported from the other parts of the Oriental Region include B.
lucifugus McAtee & Malloch, 1926 (Batu Cave, Malay Peninsula), B. furcosus Ribes, 1987 (Borneo), and B. zetteli
Rédei, 2005 (Borneo). The detailed descriptions and/or illustrations provided by Wygodzinsky (1966), Ribes
(1987) and Rédei (2005) allow an easy differentiation of these species from B. ernstmayri sp. nov. Bagauda zigzag
Rédei & Tsai, 2010 (Taiwan) is a species not associated with caves, but occurring in tree holes and crevices. It has
an entirely different coloration, especially on the dorsal part of the pronotum; but in the fore legs also coxa are
different in colour; shape of the pronotum, pygophore and overall phallic complex is also different (Rédei & Tsai
2010).
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FIGURES 24–25. Bagauda ernstmayri sp. nov. in its natural environment. 24, Live animal on cave wall and 25, on spider
web with spider.
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Habitat and bionomics. There is another emesine bug, Myiophanes greeni Distant, 1903, living in the same
caves (Kulkarni & Ghate 2016). Coexistence of other Bagauda and Myiophanes species has also been reported by
earlier authors (Paiva 1919, Kemp & China 1924, Wygodzinsky 1966, Villiers 1970).
Both of these emesines were found on the rocky wall (Fig. 24) of the cave or moving on the periphery of the
webs of the spider Zosis geniculata (Fig. 25, seen in ventral view on web with some unidentified material, possibly
an exuvium). The image of the habitat, showing entrance to the cave, is shown earlier (Fig. 1). None of these
emesine bugs were seen to feed on adults, juveniles or eggs of spiders. The long legs allow these bugs to move
easily and, coupled with very narrow body, possibly allow these bugs to distribute body weight on the web, and
help effortless movement on spider silk, as it was suggested by Wygodzinsky (1966). Spiders were not attracted to
their slow movement and were not seen to attack bugs. The bugs were not resorting to flight when disturbed or
picked up. Similar observations on another emesine, Phasmatocoris labyrinthicus Pape, 2013, have been reported
from Arizona, USA (Pape 2013).
It is interesting that many emesines are associated with caves and spider webs (Wygodzinsky 1966), and many
possess a pattern of pale white coloration. The loss of pigments might be an adaptation to or an evolutionary
consequence of the cavernicolous life habits.
Acknowledgements
We are grateful to Mick Webb, Natural History Museum (NHM), London, for kindly providing the images of some
type specimens, to Bill Dolling (UK) for improving the first draft of this manuscript, and to Alain Drumont (Institut
Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique) for providing a useful reference. We thank Aditya Karambelkar for
help during a second visit to caves and to Dr. Neelesh Dahanukar, Indian Institute of Science and Education
Research (IISER), Pune for photography of genitalia. A lot of encouragement and help necessary for this kind of
taxonomical work on heteropterans came from experts like Bill Dolling, C. Viraktamath (India) and Dávid Rédei
(China), and the authors are grateful for their continued support. Additional thanks to Dávid Rédei and an
anonymous reviewer for considerably improving the manuscript. Thanks to Shyamkant Talmale (Zoological
Survey of India, Jabalpur) for identification of Blanford’s rat. Special thanks to Sameer Padhye and Shriraj
Jakhalekar for preparing photo-plates used here. Biodiversity Heritage Library people also need to be
acknowledged here for providing much needed literature. Finally we are very grateful to the authorities of Modern
College for the facilities and encouragement.
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... All the other leistarchine genera possess distinctive characters which need not be discussed in detail. After Bagauda ernstmayri Kulkarni & Ghate, 2016, described from Maharashtra (Kulkarni & Ghate 2016a), this will be the second, very unusual or distinctive new species, from Maharashtra State, added to the genus Bagauda. This genus already includes five species in India four of which were reviewed with key by Chandra et al. (2017) but they had missed the fifth species, namely Bagauda ernstmayri referred above, which has very distinctive coloration than all previously known four species. ...
... The present work, our other published work (Kulkarni & Ghate 2016a,b, Pansare et al. 2018, Sarode et al. 2018a and the other, as yet unpublished work on Emesinae, shows that the diversity, distribution and knowledge of Indian Emesinae is very incomplete. Extensive surveys are essential to know full diversity of this group of bugs. ...
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The thread-legged assassin bug species Ploiaria anak Distant, 1909 (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae) from India is redescribed based on recently collected material from Pune District, India. Notes on the biology of the species and a key to species of the genus from India are provided. A lectotype is designated for P. anak. Both P. nuda and P. nude appear in the original description of the Ploiaria species described by Ravichandran & Livingstone (1989); nuda is selected as the correct original spelling. As this name is a junior homonym of P. nuda Miller, 1950, it is replaced by the new name P. raviaspinosa nom. nov.
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Background: While surveying bugs and spiders in the caves of Satara District, Maharashtra, one of us (SK) collected a thread-legged bug associated with a spider web. New information: A Sri Lankan Emesinae bug, Myiophanes greeni Distant (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Emesinae) is reported for the first time from India. The species is redescribed with several illustrations including male genitalia.
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Megymenum distanti, a new species of the dinidorid subfamily Megymeninae, is described from India and is compared with M. affine and M. brevicorne. It is the sixth species of this genus known from India. Remarks on the habitat, where the type material was collected, photographs of the host plant and a brief description of all instars are provided. This species is of a different color as an adult and as nymphs, a situation which is unusual.
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