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Ecol ogica Mon tenegrina , 29, 20 20, 41-46



https://zoobank.org/ urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:7E15BE01 -FD92 -4BCD -8BA1 -C9B8ECEFEDBB


A new species of Liposcelis (Insecta: Psocoptera: Liposcelididae)
from Belarus


DILIAN GEORGIEV 1, ARTSIOM OSTROVSKY 2 & CHARLES LIENHARD 3
1Department of Ecology and Environmental Conservation, University of Plovdiv, Tzar Assen Str. 24, BG -4000 Plovdiv,
Bulgaria, email: diliangeorgiev@abv.bg 2Departmen t of Public Health and Health Services, Gomel State Medical University, Lange Str. 5, 246000 Gomel,
Belarus, email: arti301989@mail.ru 3Natural History Museum, Route de Malagnou 1, CH -1208 Geneva, Switzerland, email: charleslienhard@bluewin.ch


Received 22 Febru ary 2020 │ Accepted by V. Pešić : 23 March 2020 │ Published online 25 March 2020.


Abstract
In 2019 a strikingly colored species of Liposcelis (Insecta: Psocoptera: Liposcelididae), unknown from the Palaearctic
region, was collected by A. Ostro vsky in an ant's nest near Gomel city (Belarus). It is here described as Liposcelis
aleksandrowiczi n. sp., a bisexual sister species to the parthenogenetic (thelytokous) New World Liposcelis ornata
Mockford, 1978. The new species can be distinguished from L. ornata by slight differences in body coloration, and by
some details of pronotal chaetotaxy and head pilosity .

Key words: Liposcelis , new species , taxonomy, Belarus .



Introduction

The psocid fauna of animal nests, in particular ants' nests, is rather poorly investigated (Lienhard, 1998).
Therefore collections from ants' nests are always interesting and faunistical surprises are not excluded. In the
western Palaearctic two species of the apterous genus Liposcelis Motschulsky are r egularly found in ants'
nests: L. formicaria (Hagen) and L. myrmecophila Broadhead (Lienhard, 1990). These species were not
present in the ants' nests investigated by A. Ostrovsky in the region of Gomel (Belarus) (Ostrovsky &
Georgiev, 2020), but numerous females and males of a strikingly colored Liposcelis species were collected in
a nest of Formica pratensis Retzius, 1783 which could not be identified with the keys generally used for the
identification of euro -mediterranean psocids (Lienhard, 1998). The s pecimens were tentatively assigned by
their collector to the New World species L. ornata Mockford, 1978. However, the presence of males in the
Belarus sample was surprising, because L. ornata was known as obligatorily parthenogenetic (thelytokous),
lacking males entirely (Mockford, 1978). A detailed examination of slide mounted females revealed also
some differences in coloration and chaetotaxy suggesting that the Belarus population has to be considered as
belonging to a new species, which is here described and illustrated.


Ecologica Montenegrina 29: 41-46 (20 20) This journal is available online at: www.biotaxa.org /em http://dx.doi.org/10.37828/em.2020.29. 6

A NEW SPECIES OF LIP OSCELIS FROM BELARUS
42

Material and methods

The Liposcelis specimens were collected on 13 October 2019 by A. Ostrovsky by sieving of various particles
form a nest of the ant species Formica pratensis Retz. (Fig. 1). The alcohol -preserved specimens,
provisiona lly assigned to Liposcelis ornata Mockford, 1978 by their collector, were later sent to C. Lienhard
and D. Georgiev for microscopical examination and final identification. The holotype and some paratypes
are deposited in the Natural History Museum of Genev a, Switzerland (MHNG), some paratypes also in the
collections of A. Ostrovsky and D. Georgiev (see details of material examined, below).
The morphological terminology, in particular concerning chaetotaxy, is used according to Lienhard
(1990, 1998).

Figure 1. Habitat of Liposcelis aleksandrowiczi n. sp. at the type locality (nest of Formica pratensis Retz.).


Results

Liposcelis aleksandrowiczi n. sp.
https ://zoobank.org/ urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:63499BF1 -EB92 -4E27 -B35E -676CDE4B2D4D

Etymology: The species is named in honor of Prof. Dr. Hab. Oleg Aleksandrowicz, Institute of
Biology and Earth Sciences, Pomeranian University in Słupsk, Poland.
Material examined: Holotype 1♀, slide -mounted (MHNG): BELARUS, Gomel area, Gomel
district, roadside of the railway embankment East of the horticultural partnership “Lisichki”, in the nest of
Formica pratensis Retz., in sparse growth dom inated by Populus tremula , Betula pendula and Quercus
robur , 52°22'41"N, 31°04'22"E, 128m a.s.l., 13.10.2019, leg. A. Ostrovsky. Paratypes , same data as
holotype: 31♀, 7♂, one of them allotype mounted on same slide as holotype (MHNG), 5♀, 2♂ (coll. A.
Ostr ovsky), 3♀, 1♂ (coll. D. Georgiev).

GEORGIEV ET AL.
Ecol ogica Mon tenegrina , 29, 20 20, 41 -46 43



Figure 2. Light microscope photographs of a female Liposcelis aleksandrowiczi n. sp.: A – habitus, dorsal view (10x),
B – sculpture and pilosity on middle surface area of the vertex (100x), C – sculpture on abdomina l tergite 5 (40x).


Description: Female. Coloration . Body whitish to light yellowish -brown with a complex reddish -brown
color pattern (Fig. 2A): postclypeus medium brown, vertex with Y -shaped brown marking with stem along
the middle line; lateral lobe of pronotum brown, synthorax brown laterally, pale in the middle; abdomen with
an irregular transverse brown pigmentation on posterior half of tg3 (tergite 3) and on tg4, extending laterally
into anterior half of tg5; tg6 with brown patches laterally; tg7 and tg8 often almost completely brown,
usually somewhat paler in the middle; tg9 and tg10 with a small brown patch laterally, pale in the middle.
Morphology. Belonging to section I, group A (see Lienhard 1990, 1998): Abdominal tg3 and tg4
lacking posterior delimitation by intersegmental membrane; lateral lobe of pronotum, in addition to the long
humeral seta (SI), with a row of 2 -3 apically truncated pronotal setae (PNS) situated towards anterior margin.
PNS relatively short, at most 1/2 length of SI (Fig. 3 CD). Compound eye with 8 ommatidia (Fig. 3A). Vertex
not densely pilose (hairs in average only about half as long as distance between their alveoli, Figs 2B, 3B),
its surface sculpture with more or less spindle -shaped transverse areoles bearing small tuber cles, the latter
smaller than the alveoli of the hairs (Fig. 2B). 5 -6 long apically truncated setae in anterior half of prosternum
and 8 -10 such setae along anterior margin of mesosternum. Abdominal marginal setae M8, Md9, Mv9,
Md10, Mv10 and discal setae D of tg10 well differentiated; Md10, Mv10 and Mv9 of about same length, but
Md9 somewhat shorter; epiproctal setae Se straight, apically truncated, not longer than abdominal marginal
setae. Abdominal tergites not densely pilose, with distinct tubercles but lacking well defined areoles (Fig.
2C).

A NEW SPECIES OF LIP OSCELIS FROM BELARUS
44

Figure 3. A-D: Liposcelis aleksandrowiczi n. sp. (female): A – left compound eye (dorsal view, head slightly squashed
by slide -mounting, left in figure = anteriorly on head), B – pilosity in middle of vertex, C a nd D – variation of pronotal
chaetotaxy (PNS pronotal setae, SI humeral seta). E -F: Liposcelis ornata Mockford (female, det. E. L. Mockford,
MHNG): E – pronotal chaetotaxy, F – pilosity in middle of vertex. Scale bars 0.03 mm, same for A and C -E,
respectiv ely for B and F.

GEORGIEV ET AL.
Ecol ogica Mon tenegrina , 29, 20 20, 41 -46 45

Male. Much smaller than female, but body pigmentation, general pilosity, surface sculpture and
chaetotaxy essentially as in female. Compound eye with 5 ommatidia. 4 prosternal setae, 7 mesosternal setae.
Phallosome typical for the genus (Lienhard, 1990, 1998).
Measurements: Body length (slide -mounted): female holotype 1.3 mm; male allotype 0.9 mm.
Diagnosis (based on females): Very similar to Liposcelis ornata Mockford in body color and general
morphology (see Mockford, 1978). Differin g from L. ornata by the presence of a brown patch laterally on
tg6 (tg6 unpigmented in L. ornata ) and by the often almost completely brown tg7 and tg8 (only laterally
brown in L. ornata ). Large brown transversal band in anterior half of abdomen covering po sterior half of tg3
and most of tg4 in the new species, covering most of tg3 and tg4 in L. ornata . The latter having always 3
long PNS (each of them at least 2/3 length of SI, Fig. 3E), while the 2 -3 PNS in the new species are much
shorter (at most 1/2 len gth of SI, Fig. 3CD). Pilosity on vertex less dense in the new species than in L.
ornata , in which the hairs are 1 -2x as long as the distance between their alveoli, Fig. 3F).


Discussion

Being unable to identify a series of nicely colored Liposcelis specimens collected in an ant's nest near Gomel
(Belarus) with the taxonomic literature concerning the western Palaearctic region (Lienhard, 1998) we tried
to identify these specimens with the key to North American Liposcelididae published by Mockford (1993) .
They seemed to belong to the New World species Liposcelis ornata Mockford, but some differences in body
coloration incited us to consult the detailed original description of this species (Mockford, 1978). And by
chance we were also able to compare our sp ecimens with three USA females of L. ornata identified by
Edward L. Mockford which were intitially given to André Badonnel and later deposited in the MHNG
together with Badonnel's private Psocoptera collection. The morphological differences concerning some
characters of head pilosity and pronotal chaetotaxy between the Belarus population and the data mentioned
in the original description could be confirmed by the examination of these original specimens carefully slide -
mounted by A. Badonnel (see Diagnosis, above). These morphological differences, together with the
differences in body coloration (see Mockford, 1978: Fig. 10; 1993: Fig. 93) and the fact that the Belarus
population reproduces sexually, while L. ornata is known to be obligatorily parthenogenetic (Mockford,
1978), strongly suggested that our population has to be assigned to a new species.
In the genus Liposcelis , this is not the first case of very closely related species or colonies showing
parthenogenetic or sexual reproduction respectively. The widely distributed bisexual species L. mendax
Pearman has a parthenogenetic sister -species, L. obscura Broadhead, much rarer than L. mendax (Lienhard
& Smithers, 2002; Lienhard, 2008; Mockford, 2012); both living mostly in domestic situations and often as
pests of stored products (Lienhard, 1998; Arif et al ., 2015; Opit et al ., 2018). These species can be
distinguished by some biometrical characters and some details of thoracic chaetotaxy (Lienhard, 1998).
Contrary to this case, in the cosmopolitan L. bos trychophila Badonnel, the two reproductive forms
have not been considered as two distinct species. The parthenogenetic form is a worldwide pest in stored
products while the sexually reproducing form is very rare; only three sexual strains are known at pres ent, one
from Hawaii (Mockford & Krushelnycky, 2008), one from Arizona (Yang et al ., 2015) and one from
Senegal (unpublished, numerous males and females in MHNG, det. C. Lienhard). The few morphological
differences observed between the sexual strains and s everal parthenogenetic strains (Yang et al ., 2015) were
much more subtile than the differences between L. ornata and L. alexandrowiczi n. sp. observed in the
present study. And extensive molecular investigations in the case of L. bostrychophila did not sug gest that
the parthenogenetic and bisexual forms should be considered as different species. Thus, molecular
investigation of the parthenogenetic - bisexual species pairs ornata - alexandrowiczi and obscura - mendax
would be of great interest.
L. alexandr owiczi is only known from an ant's nest in Belarus, while L. ornata has been taken by
beating a great variety of trees and shrubs (Mockford, 1978, 1993) in the USA (Florida, New Orleans,
Louisiana, southeastern Texas) (Mockford, 1978, 1993; Frank et al ., 2 004) and in Mexico (States Campeche,
Nayarit, San Luis Potosi and Tabasco) (Mockford, 1978, 1993; Garcia Aldrete, 1986; Garcia Aldrete &
Casasola Gonzalez, 1999). In Colombia L. ornata was recorded by Badonnel (1986) in soil litter consisting
of dead leave s and mosses. The species is qualified as a widespread tropical American species by Mockford
& Garcia Aldrete (1996) and is considered as a native New World species by Mockford (2012). It will be
interesting to see if further faunistic investigations in th e Palaearctic region will confirm the ecological

A NEW SPECIES OF LIP OSCELIS FROM BELARUS
46

specialization of L. alexandrowiczi or show that it is also present on trees and shrubs as its New World sister -
species. Another question must remain unanswered at present: has the Palaearctic form arrived f rom the New
World, switching from parthenogenetic reproduction to sexual one, or does it represent a relictual sexual
strain surviving in the Palaearctic after emigration of a phylogenetically younger parthenogenetic strain into
the New World?


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