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Research Article

A new species of Coccophagus from Egypt (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Aphelinidae)

Hedaya H. Karam and Hanan M. Ramadan
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This study deals with a new species of hymenopterous parasitoid of the soft scale insects. Specimens of an Aphelinid parasitoid were collected from the soft scale insect Pulvinaria taenuivalvata (Newstead) (Coccidae) on sugarcane leaves at Alexandria. In Egypt, only five species of this genus were recorded, it is expected that more species could be find, as the Egyptian insect fauna still need more studies. By examining the prepared slides and comparing the taxonomical characters of the species, they were not agreeing with any of the described species. Therefore, it is suggested to be a new species and named Coccophagus nigricoxae sp. nov., which is described and illustrated in this study.

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Hedaya H. Karam and Hanan M. Ramadan, 2013. A new species of Coccophagus from Egypt (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Aphelinidae). Journal of Entomology, 10: 115-119.

DOI: 10.3923/je.2013.115.119

Received: November 19, 2012; Accepted: January 22, 2013; Published: April 27, 2013


The genus Coccophagus westwood is one of the best known genera of the family Aphelinidae. It is cosmopolitan and its species are endoparasitoides of the soft scale insects (Coccidae) but a few species are known to parasitize mealybugs (Pseudococcidae) (Clausen, 1978). Compere (1931) revised the world species of Coccophagus that included 76 species. Annecke and Insley (1970) described 57 species of Coccophagus that are known from Africa and Madagascar, fourteen of them were new species and nine were recorded from Pulvinaria.

According to Annecke and Insley (1974), over 200 species of Coccophagus have been described worldwide. In Egypt, Priesner and Hosny (1940) recorded C. lunulatus and C. scutillaris. Four species were recorded by Abd-Rabou (1999, 2001) namely, scutellaris, bivittatus, lycimnia and ishiii. Later on, Abd-Rabou (2003) recorded C. qenai as a new species. El-Serwey (2002) studied the parasitism of Pulvinaria taenuivalvata (Newstead) (the host of the concerned Coccophagus under investigation). He recorded six hymenopterous parasitoids, C. semicircularis was one of them, it was the most abundant species. Since the names lunulatus and semicircularis are synonyms of C. scutellaris (Compere, 1931) thus there are only 5 register species in Egypt they are those of Abd-Rabou. It is worthy to mention that there are 29 species of family Coccidae are registered in Egypt (Mohammad and Ghabbour, 2008). Therefore, it is possible that more parasitoid species of theses soft scale remain to be discovered.

This investigation represents description of a new species, Coccophagus nigrocoxae sp. nov., with comparison with its closely related species.


The specimens (6 females and 6 males) used in this study were reared from the soft scale Pulvinaria taenuivalvata (Newstead) infesting sugarcane leaves in March 2001 at Alexandria. For preparing slides, head, legs and wings of the specimens were removed then they were mounted directly on slides using Hoyer’s fluid. The slides were dried in an oven at 45°C then examined by using stereoscopic microscope. Measurements of the diagnostic characteristics were made by using micrometer eyepiece. The used keys for identification were those of Alam (1956), Noyes and Valentine (1989) and Hayat (1998) for the genus and Compere (1931) and Annecke and Insley (1974) for the species.

In addition, extensive revision was made to the description and illustration of the new species which published by several authors in different regions of the world i.e, Annecke and Insley (1974), Hayat (1974, 1993); Ishihara (1977); Husain and Agarwal (1982); Abd-Rabou (2003); Myartseva (2004; 2006); Myartseva and Rutz-Cancino (2005); Sugonyaev (1998; 2012); Hayat et al. (2009); Woolley (1997). Comparisons of these descriptions with the prepared slides are sufficient to recognize that the species under study is a new species. Holotype and paratype were deposited in the collection of Department of Applied Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University.


Description of Coccophagus nigricoxae sp. nov.
Female: Length 1.4 mm, general colour black. Posterior two-third of scutellum white or pale yellow. Legs pale yellow except all coxae and hind femora which are black (Fig. 1a-c). Antennae pale yellow with brown rhinaria.

Head: Semicircular in frontal view. Antennae (Fig. 2) inserted at the line connecting lower margin of eyes, radical short, scape cylindrical about 2.5 times as long as wide, pedicel slightly shorter than F1 (16:18) F1 and F2 subequal, longer than wide (6:4.5 and 4:3.5, respectively) F3 quadrate. Club pointed at apex, its segments wider than long C1 (5:3), C2 (3.4:2), C3 (1.3:1). Funicle and club segments setose with short setae and rhinaria arranged as shown in Fig. 2. Eyes setose with minute setae about as long as ommatidia diameter.

Thorax: Mesoscutum (Fig. 3) width: length (5: 3), densely setose with dark setae. Each parapsis and axilla with 4 and 2 setae, respectively. Scutellum about as long as scutum, its width: length (5: 3.3), densely setose with brown setae and with one pair of long black bristles and shorter subapical pair. Mesoscutum, parapsis, axillae and scutellum with network reticulation. Distance between propodael spiracles less than length of middle tibia and endophragma triangular in shape (Fig. 4).

Wings: Hyaline ciliated (Fig. 5), fore wings twice as long as wide with short marginal fringe, marginal vein longer than submarginal vein. These veins with 20 and 11 setae, respectively. Costal cell with one row of 12 setae, postmarginal vein very short, stigmal vein short with an apical knob. Hind wings (Fig. 6) narrower than fore wings its length about four times as long as wide, ciliated and surrounded with short fringe. The hind wing base without setae, submarginal vein with only one seta.

Legs: Fore coxa with three stout black bristles on apical part of coxae and one on the subapical part of femur, middle tibial spur shorter than basitarsus, the latter as long as the following 3 segments combined, unequal paired spurs at apix of hind tibia.

Image for - A new species of Coccophagus from Egypt (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Aphelinidae)
Fig. 1-9: Coccophagus nigricoxae sp. nov., A: Fore leg, B: Middle leg, C: Hind leg, Co: Coxae, F: Femur, t: Trochanter, ti: Tibia and tr: Tarsus, 2: Antennae, r: Radical, S: Scape, P: Pedicel, F: Funcular segments and Cl: Club, 3: Mesothorax, Ax: Axillae, Mes: Mesoscutum, Pr: Parapsis and Sc: Scutum, 4: Propodaeum, En: Endophragma, Met: Metanotum and Prs: Propodael spiracle, 5: Forewing, mv: marginal vein, pmv: Post marginal marginal vein, smv: Sub marginal vein and St: Stigma vein, 6: Hind wing, 7: Female, gaster, 8: Ovipositor and 9: Mandible

Gaster: It (Fig. 7) is longer than thorax (55: 35), fifth and sixth tergites with a row of setae extending across the dorsum, rows interrupted on preceding three tergites and absent on the first.

Ovipositor: It (Fig. 8) is short, not exerted at apex, slightly more than half the length of gaster and longer than middle tibia (5:3), ovipositor sheath shorter than midtibial spur. Cerci button shape with 2 long and one short hairs.

Table 1: Antennae measurements
Image for - A new species of Coccophagus from Egypt (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Aphelinidae)

Table 2: Comparison between C. nigrocoxa and C. ishiii
Image for - A new species of Coccophagus from Egypt (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Aphelinidae)

Male: Similar to female except the smaller size, the colour of scutellum which is entirely black and the proportion of funicular segments which are longer than female and each with two rows of rhinaria. Fore tarsi completely brown, midle and hind tarsi with brown two apical segment.

Measurements (mm): Body length 1.4, scutum 0.23 long by 0.36 wide, scutellum 0.23 long by 0.30 wide, Mid tibia 0.27. Fore wing 0.87 long by 0.43, marginal vein 0.29, submarginal vein 0.22. Hind wing 0.7 long by 0.17. Gaster 0.89 long by 0.68 wide, ovipositor o.44 and ovipositor sheath 0.08. The measurements of antennae are shown in Table 1.

Comment: This species is closely related to C. ishiii (Compere, 1931), they can be separated by the diagnostic characters (Table 2).

Etymology: This new species is named according to the black color of the coxae, science the varied color patterns of legs furnish the most conspicuous taxonomical characters used for separating the species (Compere, 1931).


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